Posted in music on April 18, 2008

Second Coming

Some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. And that's not just the big boxes like the 89 Tower Records outlets that closed at the end of 2006; nearly half were independent shops. In Manhattan and Brooklyn at least 80 stores have shut down in the last five years.

But the survivors aren't giving up just yet. Saturday is Record Store Day, presented by a consortium of independent stores and trade groups, with hundreds of retailers in the United States and some overseas cranking up the volume a bit to draw back customers and to celebrate the culture of buying, selling and debating CDs and vinyl. [NY Times]

The NY Times also made a record store map which you can also look at below....

REcord Stores

REcord Stores

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Comments (48)

I used to go to the Second Coming in Cambridge MA all the time. The place was great; the used crap was dirt cheap, they always had an insane supply of 7" records and other vinyl, and bootlegs. Too bad the owner was the biggest dick on the East Coast

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 10:34 AM

i would have liked to see the Brooklyn map too. I can think of 4 alone in the park slope / cobble hill area (though maybe that's more like 3 years, when I think about it)

Posted by bryan | April 18, 2008 10:49 AM

Is it necessary to put Best Buy and Borders on here?

Really?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 10:55 AM

1st favorite record store in NYC: Bleeker Bob’s at its old location on McDougal St. They always had the latest vinyl – import singles for $3. I’d just go in there and buy a pile of new 7-inches. Granted, Bob was (and probably still is) a jerk – but he was entertaining to watch behind the counter. I remember one afternoon, to demonstrate his “pull”, he picked up the phone and conducted a very loud phone call with Joe Strummer, while the Clash were in a New York recording studio working on “Sandinista”.

Others from the past : 99 Records on McDougal St. They also had their own small label and put out discs by ESG and Bush Tetras. Ed, the owner, was a nice guy. I remember buying the Smith’s “Hand In Glove” single there when it first came out.

Sounds on St. Marks – in it’s glory days in the 80’s, that was the place for new, best priced vinyl. Ably run by Binky Phillips and his partner Joe (big time Mets fan). That was the place to exchange your old vinyl for new. Mark Ibold briefly worked as bag-checker there.

Freebeing Records – on 2nd Ave., just around the corner from Sounds. Tough guy used to run the joint and he was never happier than on the day when he was the first shop in New York to get The Smiths debut lp on import (beating out his rival Sounds) – and we were there to buy it. For about $9 I believe.

Kim’s on Bleeker St. – the little record shop that could was in the back of the large video store. I kind of ignored it at first, but was eventually drawn in and befriended by the friendly clerk Chris. Chris would turn me onto GBV and all the great American indy rock that was happening in the early 90’s. Chris and his partners would eventually leave that backroom to open New York City’s best record store – Other Music.

And I haven’t even mentioned the great disco vinyl stores of the 1980’s – from VinylMania to Downtown Records to Rock and Soul! Ah, them’s were the days.

Posted by drewo | April 18, 2008 10:56 AM

I say we complie a list of the biggest asshole record clerks in NYC

I'll start

1. the guy from Rockit Scientist
2. the guy from Eat

feel free to add to the list!

Posted by www | April 18, 2008 11:06 AM

i remember going to kim's in the early 90s on bleecker...it was THE major indie store back then. i remember running into thurston moore there just when psychic hearts came out...he gave my friend and i signed copies of the cd...

another time i remember see marilyn manson there just after they played the john stewart show.

carmine street had sonic groove, vinyl mania...rocket scientist came later and then closed...

i cant believe subterranean is still open...but im happy about that.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:12 AM

How is Bleeker Bob's still around? I haven't been there in years, but for the 15 years prior that I always at least stopped in there a couple of times of year but I never purchased anything there I don't ever recall seeing anyone actually buy anything since everything was all expensive imports and singles and such with nothing but a smattering of cds. Did they seriously update in the past 4-5 years since I was there last? I thought for sure they'd be a casualty of the internet age where not only can you find the music itself for cheap or free, but also get the actual vinyl copies on ebay.

Posted by anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:18 AM

Is Vinyl Market on E. 10th still open? I walked past there not too long ago and I thought I saw it was open, but it looks like one of those red dots on the map might be it.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:20 AM

Sorry to break it to you....subterranean closed a few months ago

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:23 AM

I miss Pier Platters every day. Also, I haven't bought anything from a record shop in NYC in 5 years. I have however, spent a small fortune trekking out to Princeton Record Exchange and Amoeba (in SF) just to buy vinyl.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:23 AM

Only losers pay for music.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:25 AM

a map of all record stores in "nyc"..bv don't get my hopes up like that.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:27 AM

>>> a map of all record stores in "nyc"..bv don't get my hopes up like that.

oops. title updated to reality

Posted by brooklynvegan | April 18, 2008 11:30 AM

bleecker bob's is a crap, overpriced record store. i went in a while back - the selection and prices were atrocious.

the biggest assholes by far own soundfix in williamsburg - two aging douchebags who give you next to nothing for good used cds and have an attitude to boot.

earwax in the 'burg is definitely overpriced, and selection is poor.

i like etherea (brian is an awesome guy, and knows his electronica); other music (dan is always super helpful); kim's; academy records (gramercy and williamsburg are both good); and generation records, with (mostly) really cool staff. for very mainstream music, discorama in union square has low enough prices and nice, patient staff.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:31 AM

Other Closures: Breakbeat Science and Satellite.

And isn't Mondo Kim's closing too?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:33 AM

OMG. Freebeing. Shit, I haven't thought about that place in decades.... I bought some damn good records there as a kid....

Yeah, the old downstairs location of Kim's, that was the heyday of the indierawk era in NYC. I bought my copy of GbV's "Propellor" there. Just like Matt Sweeney, I thought it might have been some free jazz/skronk/wild rock. Blew my mind....

And the 7" selection was heaven.

Venus Records had some good years. They used to give me the best prices on used and promo CDs. Then I'd promptly take credit and go downstairs and buy rare shit.... Sounds wasn't so bad either.

Looking at that list and thinking of all the places that are long gone, and the ones that remain, Gimme Gimme is still alive and kicking! Damn, I think that place opened up, like, 1991? Not bad for a place that's still vinyl-only.

Posted by Mid Fingg | April 18, 2008 11:33 AM

Oh yeah--Pier Platters, it was a great place to go, but DAMN, that guy used to put up totally outrageous prices on the "rare" stuff, y'know, like Sub Pop singles that were only 3 months old! Always gave me a laugh!!

Posted by Mid Fingg | April 18, 2008 11:35 AM

Rebel Rebel on Bleecker Street (just east of Seventh Avenue South) deserves huge props. The place is not always cheap, but Dave the owner is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. He will special order pretty much anything you want, and is brilliant at tracking down limited edition or weird stuff. If your interest is dance music, DJing or British imports, he is the man to see.

Posted by Brandt Gassman | April 18, 2008 11:41 AM


Only losers pay for music.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:25 AM

Yep thanks to assholes like you - we we stop getting as much new music.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:50 AM

generation records had a really good used cd section downstairs years ago even though all the idiots who worked there were dicks

Posted by HIPSTER POSEUR | April 18, 2008 11:56 AM

Soundfix sucks. I brought in 50 used cds to trade in last summer and the guy James basically told me my taste in music was garbage. I'm glad that place got shut down by board of health

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:58 AM

generation used to have sean working there...he was in some oi band called the truents...he was super friendly but yeah, everyone else at generation were/are dicks.

was venus on macdougal?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 12:06 PM

Rocks In Your Head in Soho was cool. The clerk (and What's Your Rupture chief) Kevin was always very friendly and helpful. The other guys, too. They had a little run in Williamsburg last year, but now I guess they're just gone.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 12:09 PM

buy music assholes

-metallica

Posted by james hetfield | April 18, 2008 12:16 PM

i've found the generation staff to be super nice, except maybe for that bald bearded "i'm so hardcore" douche. The red haired guy upstairs, the cute punky girls downstairs - i have no complaints.

soundfix - i saw a guy bring over some decent brit rock cds to trade, and a younger employee gave him a little bit of credit. then one of the owners looks over and says to the employee, "i don't want these - you wanna give him credit, you just bought them yourself!" and it was only like a buck a disc in credit anyway. man, that's when i put down the cds i was gonna buy and walked right out. fuck that place.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 12:16 PM

Rocks in Your Head in Wmsbrg is gone? Damn.

The Academy in Wmsbrg is great, Earwax is overpriced and no fun at all. I must've never seen the mean people in Soundfix because I always find good stuff there (I go there to buy, not sell). They're pretty grumpy at Eat. Glad Rebel Rebel is still here.

The Rockit Scientist guy always seems cool to me. When I first arrived in NYC in 1999, I bought a Velvets boot there and he didn't charge me for it because it was scratched. I took it home and it played fine, so I went back the next day to pay, and he still wouldn't charge me for it.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 12:19 PM

The Rockitt Scientist guy has a real bad attitude problem. He always seems rather annoyed at you for walking into the shop.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 12:34 PM

Yep thanks to assholes like you - we we stop getting as much new music.

why?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 1:14 PM

Venus was on St. Mark's, directly across the street from Sounds.

Jon at Rockit, he's kinda acts like he's bitter, or mildly annoyed. But I've known him for a long time, and he's not so bad. He's honest, super knowledgable, and let's face it, Rockit's got a killer CD section. (That is, if you're not finding it all for free on the 'net.) Plus the people that work with him there are really nice.

I've never thought the Soundfix folks were very warm and friendly. Definitely a bit of 'tude there as well. But then again, take a look at the majority of people shopping there. Yuch!!

Earwax used to be the only game in town in BBurg, but once all the other stores starting mushrooming there, I totally felt a shift in the friendliness there. Okay, yeah, sometimes people bring in shitty CDs for trade/cash and they aren't good CDs. But I have seen them give lousy credit/trade in return more than once for a fine load of CDs. I guess the key phrase here is "Seller beware."

Academy in the 'Burg--yeah, they always seem to have something nice to buy, for decent prices.

Posted by Mid Fingg | April 18, 2008 1:44 PM

Passout Records is the only record store in Williamsburg that doesn't suck. Although it depends on how you define suck.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 1:58 PM

where's Passout?

I love Permanent Records in Greenpoint, up on Franklin St. Earwax is such an uptight place I can't even drop in, it's just too tense.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 2:27 PM

"I brought in 50 used cds to trade in last summer and the guy James basically told me my taste in music was garbage."

Best place to trade used Cds is lala - then you can get something you want

Did Sound Tracks in Park Slope ever re-open? I know they closed down a couple years ago, vowing to reopen elsewhere...

Posted by Eric | April 18, 2008 2:43 PM

"Jon at Rockit, he's kinda acts like he's bitter, or mildly annoyed. But I've known him for a long time, and he's not so bad."

um, as a customer I shouldn't have to know someone for a long time in order to find him 'not so bad'.

Your mild defense of him pretty much speaks for what a dick he is to the average person walking in off the street into his store for the first, second, third or fourth time.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 2:54 PM

Only losers pay for music.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 11:25 AM

Yep thanks to assholes like you - we we stop getting as much new music.

hey 11:50-- there's more new music and new bands making music and accessible via the internet and networking sites, than ever before in the history of modern music. what the fuck are you talking about???? i'm not saying all the new music is good, but there's a fuck load of it, to be sure...

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 3:01 PM

other closures over the last few years: soapbox records, don's (cobble hill), and that place that was on 9th street and 7th avenue in park slope. great store and great people.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 4:35 PM

generation records has always been solid but yes, the people who have worked there are a bunch of fucks.

rebel rebel is great with a friendly staff.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2008 5:49 PM

Bummer about Future Legend - that was a decent Hell's Kitchen record store. Does anyone shop in Sounds on St. Marks?

Posted by Eric | April 18, 2008 10:17 PM

yeah, Sean at Generation, who was also a bar tender at Scrap Bar, was a really nice guy. whatever happened to that guy?

Posted by SB | April 19, 2008 5:09 AM

As far as Brooklyn goes, the "go to" spot back in the 1980s was Titus Oaks. A perfect 1980s record store that even my high school physics teacher went to. Deeper down on Avenue U is Zig Zag Records which was/is a metal record store. And I think they are still around.

Posted by Jack | April 19, 2008 7:22 AM

i grew up in manhattan beach and my grandparents lived on bedford near u. i was like 12 years old going to zig zag buying unrest cds in their used bins and my grandma hated the zig zag guy...the fat guy with the mullet. oh man...that was a big part of my youth.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2008 2:38 PM

i love sound fix because of the free live shows-- I just browse the cd's. The staff have always been really nice to me.

The dep't of health will hopefully not shut it down forever. Whether or not you like the owners and staff, there are some great live shows in a cozy setting, and for free. I can't think of many others like that in the city, and I have a great time w/friends every time I go.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2008 10:10 PM

Rocks in your Head was one the greatest downtown record stores in the 80's. The only place in NYC that carried Hat full of Hollow when it came out. I still have the price tag on my copy. $6.50. Not kidding.

They ran a small label for a bit.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2008 10:35 PM

Another vote for Rebel Rebel...it is my favorite record shop. They've helped me find a lot of great new music and are always friendly and helpful.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2008 11:14 PM

Does anyone remember Golden Disc on Bleecker St? They had tons of picture discs and Two Tone singles. Also, there was the tiniest little record store downstairs on Cornelia St. near 6th ave. I can't remember the name.

Posted by Fred | April 20, 2008 3:04 AM

Uh, anyone who thinks Generation Records employees are dicks can go to Bleecker Bobs for all I care.

Posted by Record store dick | April 20, 2008 9:07 PM

just moved to the city. can anyone recommend a few solid record stores? thanks in advance

Posted by Anonymous | August 25, 2008 9:54 PM

only losers pay for music?
go fuck yourself, pal. seriously.
i hope you die a slow, horrid death, you filthy piece of shit.

Posted by Anonymous | January 30, 2009 2:22 PM

Only loser's pay for music? Well its because fo you all these stores are closing. You're really screwing the artists. Its because of you that they can't make a living at what they do. What do you do? lawyer or real estate agent?

Posted by Anonymous | February 20, 2009 12:07 PM

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