Sad news out of Tempe today: Hoodlums Music and Movies is going into "hibernation" on Wednesday, August 15.
It's a curious term, hibernation, but according to the latest newsletter issued by owners Steve Wiley, Kristian Luce, and "the hoodlums at Hoodlums," it's the best way to describe the plan.
"We're closing our Tempe Square location due to an unsuccessful lease negotiation, and we haven't decided which direction we are going to go," the note reads. "We are weighing options and opportunities. If Hoodlums re-emerges, we hope to have a refreshed outlook on whichever new direction we've decided to take. It will be a hibernation, not a hiatus."
There is that if, though.
"I say 'if' because one of the options may be not to re-emerge," the letter continues. "There's a lot to consider and as you may have heard, the music industry is a fast-mutating beast. We've succeeded as an independent record store during our industry's most volatile 14 years, but it's been a battle, to say the least. There's something to be said for moving in a new direction while the bills are still paid and we have the option."
This isn't the first time the Hoods crew have taken a break. In 2007, a fire at ASU's Memorial Union wrecked their former digs, prompting a hiatus until the store reopened in 2008 at Tempe Square on McClintock and Guadalupe. With prime placement next to indie bookstore Changing Hands, Mac's Broiler and Tap, and Trader Joe's, the store hosted annual Hoodstock festivals, featuring local bands in support of Broadmor Elementary.
While even New Times questioned the idea of opening a record store in the digital music age, Wiley explained his reasoning in an essay we published commemorating Hoodlum's 13th anniversary.
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"Although Kristian and I have never been on a crusade to stop illegal downloading, I don't do it. So if I want to own a piece of music, I pay for it by buying the CD or the LP/MP3 combo. I'm a collector. If I like an album, I want to have it in my collection, and to me "owning" a file is like owning air. The music in my iTunes, iPhone, and iPod is an important part of my collection, but that part is about convenience. I still get the files with a CD, so to me it's a win-win. When Hoodlums was on hiatus after the M.U. Fire, I went to the other indie stores to shop, because I need a record store. Kristian did, too. That's why we reopened, because we're not the only ones that feel like this."
The statement goes on to thank customers for 14 years of business, and notes that the store will be open normal hours until August 15, and will be offering "smokin' specials as to get our inventory lean and mean."