Friday, November 13, 2009

Sembawang RIP

Reported a few weeks back that Sembawang Music Centre has closed shop. I remember travelling all the way to Sembawang Shopping Centre in the late 1980s to check out the shop. That was the original before they (over) expanded all over the island. Sembawang had picked up the reputation of selling CDs at a good price because they parallel imported their stuff, even cheaper than the local labels which were charging $30 per CD. Sembawang was instrumental in bringing CD prices down in Singapore. They pre-dated Gramaphone.

The CD I bought - Screaming Trees Anthology: SST Years 1985-1989.

Those were the days when CDs came in long boxes.

Globalisation (Tower Records) has done in Sing Records, Song Ching, Disc Dynamics (Thomson Plaza), and other mom-and-pop shops. Sembawang, Gramaphone innovated and expanded to seize the market share. The survival of the fittest. But globalisation itself was done in. Tower closed down and HMV downsized.

When Sembawang SC revamped last year, Sembawang didn't even make a comeback to their place of origins. It was a sign.

Last men standing: Gramaphone (which has grown and shrunk and now stabilized), That CD Shop. There's still CD Rama, but is Music Junction still around? There is still a shell of Valentine Music Centre somewhere in Selegie Centre. And the Attic at Novena.

Three cheers for Roxy then. And Memphasis Music in the same building at Excelsior SC. (formerly Thomson Plaza and a branch at Ikea Alexandra) Da Da at Funan started selling VCDs and DVDs and sold the business some years ago.

We have not seen the last of the fallout.


psychmetalfreak said...

In US and Europe the sale of CDs continues to plummet, the closing down of record shops persists but the sale of vinyl incredibly has gone up by leaps and bounds (relatively). After years of downloads, people still need something tangible and asthetically and ideologically sound to hold onto. Well the day when we are totally wired in like the Matrix then maybe we wont need any physical carrier of sound/audio/music anymore but till that day, guys lets go out and support good music. But sad to say, as sale of music goes down the shops either resort to selling the lowest common denominator stuff and it just push people away from them (me an e.g, shops dont even bring in the recently remastered/reissued Nick Cave deluxe CDs). So its a downward spiral. Music, at least in Singapore has been relegated to mere fashion accessory or identikit for people. We feel it everywhere but it is actually nowhere important to people anymore at the same time. Sad but let us resist this negative side of globalisation and get our hands dirty in some form of activism in whichever form you want but the bottomline is let us put meaning once again in music, literature, comics, theatre, cinema, etc.

B0N0V0X said...

There is a Music Junction at Causeway Point. Not sure how many outlets remain though.

rum-tum-tum said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane... Disc Dynamics (i even worked there during my Uni holidays), Sembawang Music and Da Da were also my haunts - esp for vinyl records.