For the record

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012

 

BY CHRISTINA COOKE

0912 ForTheRecord 02
0912 ForTheRecord 03
R. Jared White says the new-arrival bin at his vinyl shop, Clinton Street Record & Stereo, turns over about once a week. "My main thing is keeping people excited about music and keeping this format going," he says.
// Photos by Sierra Breshears

Behind the sales counter along the back wall of Clinton Street Record & Stereo, an ’80s synth-funk album spins on the turntable beside R. Jared White. A DJ whose expertise ranges from gangsta rap to goth, White and his business partner opened the Southeast Portland record store two years ago despite the fact that record stores everywhere else were closing.

Since music moved from physical to digital formats in the early 2000s, the record-store industry in the U.S. has been struggling. The number of record stores has declined an average of 22% per year over the past five, according to industry analyst IBISWorld, and it’s expected to continue declining an average of 4% per year until 2017.

White wasn’t worried about his venture, though, because he considers what he sells a completely different product — much more tangible — than a downloaded song.

“You can pretty much touch the music,” he explains, reaching over and scratching the spinning record.

Despite the doom and gloom in the industry as a whole, Portland’s independent record-store scene has burgeoned over the past few years. Of the 25 independent record shops within the city limits, 13 have opened over the past decade, eight in the past six years.

In addition to Clinton Street, establishments such as Exiled Records, Mississippi Records, Record Room, Beacon Sound, Boom Wow! Records and Little Axe Records have set up shop since the industry began to plummet.

“It’s the inverse of what’s happening everywhere else,” says Eric Isaacson, who opened Mississippi Records in 2003. “I don’t understand it, exactly.”

Distinct from the larger, older Portland music shops like Music Millennium, Everyday Music and Jackpot Records, which are established cultural entities with loyal clientele, most of the music shops in the new wave share a number of characteristics. They are tucked into physically small spaces. They sell almost exclusively vinyl, both new and used. Their owners, who can usually be found working the sales floors, are die-hard music lovers who carefully curate their collections and stock deep rather than broad.

Each shop distinguishes itself from others by specializing in a certain type of music — be it punk, psychedelic, electronic, rock or world — though the owners’ personalities also set each apart. Selections range from the $1 to $2 records in the discount bins to the $10 to $20 standard fare to $100-plus collectors’ items. And while the shops make enough money to perpetuate themselves, they don’t make much more.

“They’re all squeaking by,” Isaacson says. “It’s less a money-making thing and more a cultural thing.”

 



 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Hard to hear.Guest 2012-09-03 00:18:36
This is a great article. It's hard being a vinyl purist, and hearing that the people who make you excited to find new stuff are struggling. I've been to Clinton St searching for hard to find albums and not always have I been lucky, but I've always felt extremely welcome. Thanks for the article
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 RE: For the recordGuest 2012-09-16 19:46:17
Excellent coverage of an interesting story; the passion and committment of these struggling enterperneurs-- and their customers--is inspiring, and makes the world (or, at least, Portland!) a more interesting place.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Editor’s Note: It’s a Man’s World

Linda Baker
Thursday, April 30, 2015
lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Earlier this week we posted an article from our May issue:  It’s a Man's Man’s Man’s World. The story covered the gender divide in tech from the perspective of male workers. Twitter didn’t like it.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Frothy Battle

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS