For the record

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Article Index
For the record
Page 2
Page 3

 

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

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Steve Balzac

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

082014BalzacBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


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