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November 5, 2010

Ethnic music stores like Kentrikon, Don Pedro’s, and Koko Market struggle to keep up with economy and Internet

From outside, Don Pedro’s Musica Latina on Broadway looks like anything but a music store.

You might guess it’s a country Western emporium. Maybe even a second-hand Sports Authority. Inside its display window, there are soccer balls, wool leopard-print comforters, and dozens of piled up sneaker boxes.

But it's behind all that where its real product lies: some 200,000 CDs from everywhere in Latin America.

For years, Baltimore’s ethnic music stores like this one were spared from the digital music revolution that consumed their American counterparts because cusomters came to them for music they couldn't find at the mall. But recently, the economy has siphoned away the lowly-paid immigrant customers they have long relied on.

Owners of music stores across nationalities - Hispanic, Indian, Arabic and Greek - are not buying music the way they used to. Some have sold off their collections, and others are considering closing up shop.

“My customers are just dropping by now to say goodbye,” said Carlos Morales, the owner of Juquilita, another music store on Eastern Avenue. He’s considering closing up shop permanently when his lease is over in December. “When they’re the most affected people by the recession, what the hell am I supposed to do?”

If these stores stop selling music, as La Guadalupana on Wolfe Street already has, it won’t just be a loss of inventory for the regulars.

“It would be a huge blow for those of us that can’t afford a computer,” said Carolina Portillo, a 35-year-old El Salvadorean customer at Don Pedro’s. “Music is how I stay connected to my country. Don Pedro’s is the only place where I can find music from El Salvador.” 

For the full story, click here.

Photo: At Don Pedro's Musica Latina, manager Sandra Rivera talks with musician Benedicto Fernandez, center, as Alberto Macia looks over a new CD. (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun)


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Posted by Erik Maza at 3:34 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: News
        

Comments

This is the best article I've ever read about after hours nightlife scene in Baltimore.

I'm done.

To be fair Anon - this is just recycled material from a feature story not an actual original blog entry.

MIDNIGHT SUN: Baltimore Sun reporter Erik Maza covers the city's after-hours scene.

This story, and most of the others, might be stuff he'd cover under maybe another blog, but this blog is supposedly about "the city's after-hours scene".

I've been checking all weekend and so far it doesn't look like Erik went out either night.

I miss the old days when Sam would post updates and live-from-the-scene info from his phone, then post actual stories over the weekend.

Maybe I just caught him on a weekend when he's out of town or something, but this "nightlife" "after-hours" "scene" blog seems to be closed on most nights and weekends.

This is now a music blog.

I thought it was a comedy club blog, but I was obviously wrong.

I thought it was a music and nightlife blog. Since that's what it's always been described as.

Fire anonymous.

Erik is the nightlife and live music reporter for the Baltimore Sun - he writes articles for the paper.

He's also the blogger for Midnight Sun, which is described in its title above as a blog about "(Baltimore) city's after-hours scene.

So Erik has 2 separate jobs - music and entertainment reporter for the paper, and after-hours scene blogger for Midnight Sun.

The problem is the blog has changed to almost no after-hours reporting, and almost all his day-job stuff. And, rather than being a dynamic blog-style of reporting, it's just an extension of the regular reporting.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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