Online is one answer. That's where Berkowitz expects there to be an explosion of reissue material in the coming years as the technology improves. The compressed format of an MP3 doesn't match the sonic depth of a compact disc. But, Berkowitz says, "I think we're at the dawn of massive amounts of music being available digitally and sounding great."

Another answer is through what Pawelski oversees at Rhino, a niche label called Rhino Handmade. This label issues small numbers of albums sought by die-hard fans and collectors, usually between 2,500 and 7,500 copies. The albums are offered only online, and when they're sold, that's it. Retail stores, she says, are decreasing the variety of their offerings, so this is the only way to get the music to fans. "There's certainly a market for really great music, and the direct-to-consumer model was the way we solved that problem," Pawelski adds.

Fans can also request discs on the Rhino website, such as the reissue of Melanie's Photograph: Double Exposure, a project Pawelski steered. Among the other reissues Rhino has released are albums by T-Bone Burnett, now a star producer; the Rascals; Bettye LaVette, a soul singer who has resurrected her career late in life; and 1980s alternative bands like Rank and File, Guadalcanal Diary, and House of Freaks. There are also several new reissued collections of material from the Doors. "Some of this stuff is perennial, like the Doors," she says. "The Doors continue to sell and sell and sell. Every year, kids are 'discovering' the Doors."

Berkowitz says he tries to market to longtime fans, but that he also looks for opportunities to go beyond that. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. He remains perplexed at how hard it has been to sell reissues of Jefferson Airplane, a major '60s band from San Francisco that had a ton of hits.