Author Topic: R.I.P. Backroads Music  (Read 15429 times)

drone on

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R.I.P. Backroads Music
« on: July 30, 2008, 10:37:28 PM »
Really sad to see Backroads Music closing down after all these years.  I've been ordering from Lloyd for 15 years and in my book he is the undisputed king of ambient retailers, so much great music discovered via his help over the years.  Guess I'll be shelling out the cash now to the Hypnos store more often. :-)

Bill Binkelman

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2008, 08:28:01 AM »
Yeah...it's weird. Backroads was there at the beginning for me...mid 80s, when I (with Barbara, my first wife's help) discovered Musical Starstreams. Lloyd advertised on the show. I remember the first CD I ordered from him...Mark Sloniker's Paths of Heart. The first ambient release I got from him was A Produce's Land of a Thousand Trances.

Changing times...what with CDbaby.com, amazon.com, iTunes, and the overall change to more downloading period, I suppose it was only a matter of time. Lloyd's prices always were on the high side, IMO, although with the ginormous inventory he carried, I suppose it was a necessary thing. Sad to see him go but he's staying connected to the music. I have an official statement from him if I can find it on my computer. If I find it, I will post it and let anyone who is interested know what he is doing next.

...time marches on...and waits for no one...  :'(

mgriffin

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2008, 09:10:03 AM »
I know Lloyd had experienced business difficulties with Backroads over the years, going back to before my own introduction to Backroads in the mid-90s.  Backroads/Lloyd was one of the very first outlets to help sell Hypnos CDs.  I thought when Lloyd found a buyer for Backroads a couple years back, the business problems might be behind him, so it's unfortunate that things have gone this way.
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einstein36

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2008, 10:55:53 AM »
is there an article or something I missed because the only thing I remember was a couple of years ago he did sell it off to another distrubator??? There was nothing said on the website this morning...

does this mean the whole website, etc are going to be shut down for good??

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1000snakes

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2008, 11:07:36 AM »
I am sorry to read about Backroads Music closing down. Lloyd was an incredible supporter of the various genres of electronic music (also world and folk) as well as being a knowledgeable and friendly guy.
I will fondly remember the many visits that I made to the Backroads warehouse for the sidewalk sales when I lived in Sacramento. Since living in Canada I managed to drop in when visiting California last summer. Lloyd was helpful as always and I drove away with a box full of wonderful music. I certainly wish him the best for what comes next.


ffcal

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2008, 11:24:27 AM »
I was under the impression that Lloyd was continuing at least some of his operations under a different name.  Here is part of his announcement to the Spacemusic list:

as of August 1, 2008, Backroads Music will suspend operations. 

Lloyd Barde Productions will be launched by September 1st, & will continue to sell CDs from extensive stock on hand. 
Same location, with this contact info:
        Address remains:  401A Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera, CA 94925
       Phone remains: 415-924-4848 (same as before).  The 800# will be discontinued August 1st.
        Email as of August 1st (New; please change!): lloyd@well.com starts 8/1/08
             (backroad@well.com will be forwarded for a period of time after the change)
       Web site:  <http://www.backroadsmusic.com> will be gone August 1st.
           A new web site for LLOYD BARDE PRODUCTIONS will be up by September 1st!


Forrest

jim brenholts

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2008, 03:12:47 PM »
wow! i regret that i have not spoken with lloyd in about 6 months or so. he is a true friend and a great supporter of most of the music that we here at hypnos hold dear. i owe a lot of gratitude to lloyd. he has helped me in so many ways over the years.
he did sell to a distributor a couple years ago - name escapes me right now but it was a big one. i will call him next week to see what's up.
all the best and God bless
jim
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hdibrell

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2008, 09:22:43 PM »
[quote author=Bill Binkelman link=topic=921.msg7310#msg7310 date=1217518081Yeah...it's weird. Backroads was there at the beginning for me...mid 80s, when I (with Barbara, my first wife's help) discovered Musical Starstreams. Lloyd advertised on the show.  :'(
[/quote] Yeah, that's when I started dealing with him. After listening to Musical Starstreams, and wondering, "where can I get some of this music"?    Harry
Never regret money spent on old books, old dogs or old friends.

Bill Binkelman

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2008, 08:19:26 AM »
Here's is Lloyd's more or less "official" statement about what has transpired. I basically asked him what the heck happened and he responded, thusly (and yes, I got his permission to pass along this info):

Glad you asked!  Here is what I prepared so as to not give the same speech over and over.
This is exciting and timely for me..and I look forard to what's next!

Lloyd

Is Backroads Closing?

I started Backroads Music in 1981.  It was sold two years ago. The people that bought it ran out of funds and are unable to continue, so they are suspending operations.  With the way the music biz is currently, this is not a bad thing!  My music business of 27 years will continue as LLOYD BARDE PRODUCTIONS. It is my pleasure to provide many people with such great music!

Will you still be selling music?

Yes, I will continue to sell CDs from the remaining inventory, which is extensive (around 5000 CDs).  Gradually I will also be selling portions of the extensive CD library I have accumulated.  You will still be able to buy CDs in person. (call first: 924.4848). CDs may be purchased in person, via phone or email. At this time, I do not foresee ordering new releases or special items; only what’s here will be sold.

Where will you be located?

At the same location since 1985!  401-A Tamal Plz, Corte Madera Phone # remains:  415-924-4848 (800# will be discontinued). Email address will transition from backroad@well.com to lloyd@well.com

Will there be a web site?

The www.backroadsmusic.com web site will be gone August 1st. By Sept 1st, there will be www.lloydbarde.com

What will you be doing?

Besides selling the CDs on hand, I will be DJing (DJ Heartbeat), writing for magazines, providing artist representation and consulting, producing CDs (like “Heart of Innocence” & “Max.Chillroom”), producing ongoing events in Berkeley at Rudramandir (concert July 25th:  Suzanne Sterling/Dave Stringer w/DJ Heartbeat after…), offering Journey Into Dance events w/Elizabeth Rose Raphael, & other enterprises! I will be launching LLOYD BARDE PRODUCTIONS next month. Stay tuned!


mgriffin

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2008, 08:48:48 AM »
I do wish Backroads had been able to continue but -- and I discussed this with Lloyd several times -- I think something was wrong there, from the perspective of business structure.  Backroads sold a large number of CDs, and their markup was pretty high (meaning they made a large profit on each CD sold) and yet there were nearly constant cash flow problems.  I'm not giving away anything secret -- it was a matter of public record that Backroads filed bankruptcy twice.  I'm not saying "good riddance," just saying that it seemed inevitable to me that Backroads would eventually have to cease. 

I had hoped that the sale of the business would solve the cash flow issues, but it seems that wider changes in the music business this past several years, on top of inherent problems in the business model of Backroads (my own opinion is that operating overhead was too high) were just too much to overcome even with the new ownership.

 
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2008, 10:14:43 AM »
I do wish Backroads had been able to continue but -- and I discussed this with Lloyd several times -- I think something was wrong there, from the perspective of business structure.  Backroads sold a large number of CDs, and their markup was pretty high (meaning they made a large profit on each CD sold) and yet there were nearly constant cash flow problems.  I'm not giving away anything secret -- it was a matter of public record that Backroads filed bankruptcy twice.  I'm not saying "good riddance," just saying that it seemed inevitable to me that Backroads would eventually have to cease. 

I had hoped that the sale of the business would solve the cash flow issues, but it seems that wider changes in the music business this past several years, on top of inherent problems in the business model of Backroads (my own opinion is that operating overhead was too high) were just too much to overcome even with the new ownership.

 

Very well stated, Mike. Backroads could have benefitted from a changed business model when the new owners took over, but regardless, maybe the shift in music buying habits in general was what slammed the door shut for the final time. It is a shame, though. It does kind of signal the passing of an era, at least for us old timers.   :'(

forestmage

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2008, 09:08:27 PM »
I have fond memories of Backroads. When we lived in Marin my office was just a short walk from Lloyd's place. Many an afternoon I'd walk down and sample new music and chat with Lloyd. Genuinely nice guy and I wish him well.

drone on

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2008, 10:37:44 PM »
I've been to Lloyd's office many times over the years--you've never seen so many CD's crammed into such a little office, the poor guy could hardly walk around in there! I've rarely met somebody so passionate about this music, for so long.  Business issues aside, he's truly a music fanatic and super cool guy. 

drkappa

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2008, 01:02:17 PM »
When I found that I couldn't access the Backroads web site today, I came
here to search for the reason why.

Every time I visited the US in recent years, I came back with a big box of
CDs from Lloyd.  His export surcharge were high to buy in pairs to satisfy
postal custom limits, so I would compile a long list of CDs unavailable in
the UK.  Lloyd was always very helpful and knowledgeable.

In recent times, I've missed Lloyd's newsletter.  It introduced me to lots
of eclectic music, not just ambient and electronic.  Lloyd's enthusiasm
for the music shone through.  Today I was playing a couple of my
Backroads purchases, and wanted to see if there were any newer releases...

It's tough out there with inflation higher than wage increases, the credit
crunch, and people are cutting non-essential purchases.

It will be interesting to see what content www.lloydbarde.com will bring.
Malcolm Currie
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mgriffin

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2008, 01:05:24 PM »
Malcolm, with the exchange rate the way it is, you an order your CDs from the USA for less than you'd pay for a couple of pints at the corner pub!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

drkappa

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2008, 02:24:44 PM »
Malcolm, with the exchange rate the way it is, you an order your CDs from the USA for less than you'd pay for a couple of pints at the corner pub!

Since I don't drink alcohol, you know more than I do about the price of
beer in the UK.  :)  It may not be for much longer; the Pound is down 6%
against the Dollar in the last week or so. 
Malcolm Currie
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mgriffin

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2008, 02:30:48 PM »
In that case, consider that one pint of ale at the corner pub approximately equals one 350ml bottle of Yoo-Hoo at the corner store, which approximately equals one Whopper With Cheese Value Meal at the McDonald's down the street.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

LLoyd

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2009, 03:09:13 PM »
Amazing how it's rare to ask the person involved rather than just speculate. I have the answers, esp. re: Mike's ideas about the business model, prices and overhead.  He's way off base, to tell you the factual truth.  Had I seen this sooner, i would have responded sooner.  Yes, Backroads was sold in July 2006, to a new label called New Land Music.  The guy in charge was way over represented in all regards, and though Will Ackerman was one of the principals (an old friend) he was not involved in the operation or decisions.  So while Backroads continued with a very optimistic model (old school: sell CDs, publish the BEST catalogs anywhere, provide unparalleled customer service... / new school:  cool web site, sound samples, digital downloads, label backing and many other innovative plans) and I continued to run all aspects of the operation from my little office (with the ten foot tall library), the money ran out, the poor decisions were clung to stubbornly, and the whole thing went down.  Fortunately I engineered a graceful exit and began to sell off the remaining inventory which I "inherited".  Great deals galore, and these continue and will do so well into the future.  When Backroads "left the planet) (web site gone, 800# gone), there were no doors closed, as I continue in the same office, and am in the gradual process of launching Lloyd Barde productions.  For the loyal and devoted customers (thanks to all!!) I still provide an amazing list of CDs for sale, current, older, rare, both new and previously played, and as stated, will continue to do so over the next couple years at the very least.  Simultaneously I am putting out feelers for music journalism/review writing (which i do extremely well), event production (I host a concert series in berkeley @ Rudramandir), artist representation and consulting,. DJing (aka DJ Heartbeat), and hosting events with my collaborator Elizabeth Rose Raphael, such as "Journey into Dance" etc.
If you would like to receive a list of CDs, simply send an email to me: lloyd@well.com.  And watch for the web site to appear in the next month:  www.lloydbarde.com
As far as the conjecture from Mike and others, it was not a matter of overhead, prices, poor business managing of cash and assets or anything else mentioned.  Backroads offered more bang for the buck than anyone else, from selection, devotion, prices, shipping, customer service and catalogs produced than anyone ever had or ever will.  That is the story!  The changing of the music biz was a big contributor --  I liken the music biz to a chalk mark on the sidewalk now -- as is the financial woes that have affected all media, business and aspects of the current state of things.  Gratefully, there is more great music now than ever, and lots of access.  I am still one of the sources for CDs.  And I consider this all to be a blessing, so I have appreciated the sympathy, tragedy dramas, and "Help, where am I gonna get CDs now??" (I dunno, you haven't ordered from me in 4 yrs...!). Above all, everyone's wishing me well and expressing gratitude for the 27+ years of musical service are greatly appreciated.
I would love to hear from you --  new email: lloyd@well.com
It has always been all about the music, and that is not about to change, now or ever!
Blessings,  Lloyd

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2009, 03:34:19 PM »
Thanks for weighing in, Lloyd.

I don't think anyone here was trying to rumor-monger, just talking about a subject of interest to many here, as you can see from earlier comments. 

Since you mention my comments specifically I feel I should say I wasn't trying to malign you or Backroads.  Without casting doubt on what you say above, I'd say that when a business-owner assertss "I sell CDs at a high profit margin, and I sell lots of them," then you can't help but wonder why the business didn't thrive.  Just speculating based on simple business analysis.
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LLoyd

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Re: R.I.P. Backroads Music
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2009, 03:48:55 PM »
Mike

SOME CDs were sold at a decent margin; many were sold at virtually no margin to speak of after shipping costs (esp. imports, sold out of pure devotion) and relatively moderate overhead (if you ever saw my office you would understand!).  Selling LOTS of CDs is definitely relative. As CD sales declined, and he balance of revenue vs. profits came into focus, that statement varied dramatically from month to month and year to year, as you well know. Taken out of context from a ten-year old conversation about accounts payable is what seemed a little off to me, so I referred to your seemingly "blanket, knowing" response which, IMO, would be taken as "the word" by any readers.  It's all past and things are feeling very positive now, but then again I generally held things in that light all the way along --  just my nature. I have never disappeared or "gone away" and am pretty much available for discussing music, trends, and the inevitable "what happened to you?!?!?"  Having been very open about the ebbs and flows of Backroads Music, and how it grew from my laundry room in Greeley, CO in 1981 to a 6 million/year company with 25 employees by 1991, and then back down to pretty much just me by 2001, makes for quite a story, but the stories about that story I would really prefer to be told by me and that is why the epilogue of today becomes a prologue for tomorrow.  Thanks! --  LLoyd