Sponsored by Oregon Business

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.




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
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

The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


Photos: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon awards dinner

The Latest
Thursday, October 01, 2015
100best202thumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.


Roll On

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The myth of a freight-dependent economy.


The Love Boat

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vigor’s values don’t stop at truth. Walk into a company office, conference room or on any shipyard site and you’ll most likely see a poster inscribed with the words “Truth. Responsibility. Evolution. Love.” Otherwise known as TREL, Vigor’s culture code and the prominence it is accorded can be a bit surprising to the unsuspecting shipyard visitor.


100 Best Nonprofits announced

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1015-nonprofits01Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02