She may be “Jenny From the Block,” but you won’t find Jennifer Lopez’s CDs in your corner record shop — at least, not if you frequent the Ritmo Latino chain of stores. David Massry, Ritmo Latino’s president, announced this weekend that he would no longer stock any of J.Lo’s albums due to her alleged refusal to make promotional appearances at his locations. Massry went on to accuse Lopez of “discriminat[ing] against the Latin community,” somehow managing to forget the salient facts that 1) her new album is sung entirely in Spanish and being marketed primarily to the Latin community, and 2) she is herself a proud member of the Latin community.
I’d dismiss Massry as a lone crank, were his actions not part of a frightening new trend in the record biz. Remember last fall, when Trans World Entertainment — a conglomerate that owns Sam Goody, Strawberries, F.Y.E., and other mall-friendly retailers — pulled Scissor Sisters’ spectacular Ta-Dah from its shelves because lead singer Jake Shears criticized their sky-high prices? Or a few months back, when Tower Records chose to shutter each and every one of its locations rather than submit to the indignity of selling a single copy of K-Fed’s Playing With Fire? (Okay, that last one didn’t happen.)
This spiraling cycle of retail-iation (see what I did there?) must stopimmediately, for everyone’s good. After all, it’s not as ifbrick-and-mortar record stores can afford to lose any more businessthan they already have! Maybe this is all part of an elaboratereverse-psychology plot to lure irate customers in. Or perhaps thelong, slow tanking of the CD market has finally driven these merchantsmad. Either way, the duty is yours, PopWatchers: March to your localRitmo Latino outlet and demand to purchase a copy of J. Lo’s new album(or at least, y’know, politely suggest that they reconsider banning it).