For the record

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

 

0912 ForTheRecord 06
0912 ForTheRecord 05
Intimidated by the state of the record-store industry, Rachel Rhymes decided to create a cafe vibe--selling beer and wine as well as music--when she opened Record Room in the fall of 2010.
// Photos by Sierra Breshears

When Napster and iTunes made streaming and downloading an option in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the customer base of record stores all but dried up. To compound the situation, big-box stores like Best Buy began selling CDs for cheap, sometimes at a loss, to attract customers to their stores for bigger-ticket items.

As a result, music stores closed in record numbers, and those that remained open struggled to break even, often downsizing or diversifying their product offerings to adapt.

Portland institution Music Millennium closed its second location on NW 23rd Avenue in 2007 and resorted to selling nonmusic merchandise such as posters, T-shirts and novelties like potato guns and flavored crickets.

“We fight every month just to pay our bills,” says owner Terry Currier.

While the store earns enough to pay its employees and utilities, it has not made a profit since 2002 and often falls behind on payments to music-distribution companies.

About five years ago, the resurgence of the vinyl record slowed the music store nosedive, at least somewhat.

Vinyl sales have increased nationally every year since 2007 — 36% from 2010 to 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And while vinyl sales accounted for only 1.2% of the total album sales last year, 67% of vinyl sales took place in independent music shops.

“It’s a very small portion of overall business, but it has a very significant impact on the independent businesses because they are such significant supporters,” says Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

In an attempt to remedy his situation, Music Millennium’s Currier plans to make some major changes in the coming months, including closing the classical shop adjoining the main store, knocking down the dividing wall and expanding his vinyl section into the additional space.

“I want to get to the point where cash flow is better and I don’t have to deal with credit departments,” he says.

Though the record renaissance occurred across the country, the surge in new establishments is a phenomenon unique to Portland, say industry experts and those in the business.

Unlike New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cultural centers, Portland offers a fertile music scene, a population that supports neighborhood businesses, cheap rents and a relatively inexpensive cost of living.

“We’re one of the few cities that has that combination,” Isaacson says.

 



 

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

Brain Storm

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA

Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


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