The new Record Store Goer: a profile.

Record Stores did survive the emergence, development and dominance of the digital format. At least some did. And mind you, most of them do not just ‘thrive’ to survive but are actually very successful and profitable. Some of them are even iconic. What do they have in common?

Small and cozy. Offer curated titles. Owned by music connoisseurs. Sell both used and new records.

However. There is an exception to every rule, and the exception to this rule is Amoeba records. Been there myself — to the San Francisco branch — and the place was huge. Amoeba is everything but cozy: the stores are basically hangars, the lightning is so bright and sterile that, if it weren’t for the endless aisles of beautiful and rare albums, you would believe you were at the dentist’s waiting for your wisdoms to be extracted. Still a cool independent chain, and here’s some advice: before visiting leave all credit cards at home, or prepare yourself for bankruptcy.Let me tell you something about the place I live in, Buenos Aires (Argentina). Locally, the music business has experienced not one but two crises. To the rise of the digital format we have to add the worst economic crash in the history of my country, which ultimately led to a financial collapse in late 2001. Our currency, the Argentinian Peso, that only yesterday was worth the same as the American Dollar, lost then half its value. All of a sudden everything costs double. Almost everything other than food and clothing became a luxury. Record stores stopped importing albums from overseas, and foreign artists cancelled their shows or stopped touring here altogether, because no promoter could afford their cachès. It was indeed very depressing.

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