Of all the ultra-mega music superstores, Tower Records always appeared to be the best. While the prices were positively mall-tastic, its selection was often as good as many mom & pop stores. Tower also had a lot of zines and books that most record stores wouldn't bother to carry. So, if you didn't have an awesome indie record store in your town but had a Tower, then you didn't really have it that bad. And while record store aficionados may have been a little bummed about Tower's passing last year, they surely weren't as "bummed" as all the indie labels and distributors that had product returned to them after Tower shuttered for good.
But now it seems that a rebirth may be in the works. In an auction last March, Caiman, Inc acquired the Tower logo, Tower.com, and all of the company's intellectual property for $4.2 million. The London-based company currently employs about 200 people, has offices in Montreal and Sacramento, and a warehouse in Miami. In a Billboard article, Caiman CEO Didier Pilon said that the company plans to relaunch Tower.com, as well as open physical superstores in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco within nine months. Pilon won't be without knowledgeable help, as he has hired former Tower purchasing executive George Scarlet as director of entertainment purchasing, along with Kevin Hawkins, a former buyer for Tower, to work on the project.
Even though Caiman usually uses one-stops and some independent distributors to stock music on its own Caiman.com site, it hopes to change over to buying direct from indie and major distributors and, in certain instances, direct from indie labels themselves for this new venture. Pilon went on in the piece to say that Tower.com, which is still operational and gets 40,000 unique hits a day, will relaunch with new technology, offering 275,000 CD and DVD titles, over a million books, and vinyl. Pilon hopes that all this will help Tower.com not only stand out from the pack, but become "the entertainment destination." If this endeavor is a success, it could provide indie labels and distro with some of the revenue they lost after Tower's initial demise.