It's the end of an era for Rotorua music lovers as the city's last music store prepares to close.
The closing down signs at Marbecks on Tutanekai St are a sad but inevitable sign of the times, according to owner Frans Schaeffers.
"It's all because of the internet," he said. "What can you do? We tried to fight for as long as we could but we can no longer keep our heads above water."<inline type="poll" id="5384" align="outside"/>
Mr Schaeffers said people downloading music from the internet - whether illegally or legally - had hit all music retailers hard. He had particularly noticed the decline in customers over the last four years.
"Since iTunes opened up in New Zealand it's really gone downhill."
He and wife Sandra have run their store for 26 years, from three main street locations and as franchisees of Tandy's, Sounds, The CD and DVD Store and finally Marbecks. Since 2008, they have been the only CD shop in Rotorua.
"We've probably had 24 good years, the last two have been not so good," he said.
In recent years, discounted CDs have been sold by big retailers, such as The Warehouse, but Mr Schaeffers said that wasn't a significant factor. He said they had made a "tentative decision" last year to close this year and in November were forced to lose their last staff member. With the lease up for renewal at the end of July the time had now come, he said.
Marbecks may close on July 31 or it may carry on a little longer - it depends how well the closing-down sale goes. With no shortage of empty shops around there's no new tenant waiting to get in.
Mr Schaeffers hopes to continue running an import service from home for music buffs and the regular customers, whom he and his wife will miss.
"We want to thank all the loyal customers we have had over the years, especially Lois, Vincent, Merle, Reece and Shaun."
He said nationwide the Marbecks chain had gone from 45 to six (soon-to-be five) stores in the past four years.
Comments on The Daily Post Facebook page reflected the shift from browsing shelves to browsing websites for music.
"It's a novelty seeing someone buy a CD these days. It just doesn't happen as much as it used to," said one while another admitted: "Al downloaded to my ph, then i put onto c.ds." Another commenter simply posted a link to an illegal download site. But it's not just the cost, with another person commenting "I buy from iTunes 4 my ipod & iphone. At least u get the certain songs u r after. Whereas with cds, u have to buy a whole cd & only like about 2 songs on it. If friends have cds i like, i'll put them on my computer, then put on a usb stick or my iphone.
"A stick can fit more songs than cds, & most stereos take them now, as do tvs. Cds r too expensive, plus they scratch." However, for some an actual CD still has its own special appeal.
"I love purchasing on iTunes, but if we really want a record by our favourite bands, we'll purchase the CD itself. The cover art and packaging has a lot to do with that, too."