May 24, 2015 by 45spin
WHAT I LEARNED IN MY FIRST NINE MONTHS IN THE RECORD STORE
Well, it’s been awhile since my last post. This running a record store has been a bigger time commitment than I first thought. Somewhere between making sure everything works, setting up new vendors, sorting & alphabatizing what seems like a million records and oh yeah my real job which is selling something every once in a while so I just might be able to afford to do it all over again tomorrow.
Delbert McClinton has a great song I’ve played more than a few times called “Everytime I Roll The Dice’ which is basically what I did when I opened Mill City Sound. You see when I started all of this all I knew is that I really liked records and maybe, just maybe someone else might like them as much as I do. That in essence was my entire business plan, “Find People Who Like Records As Much As I Do” I admit there was not a lot of thinking involved in this business plan but just a lot of faith & love in vinyl.
Well nine months later much to my amazement I’ve discovered that there are a whole lot of vinyl lovers out there. And I will admit right now that I originally thought the store would be full of old Baby Boomers like me and we would be discussing aches, pains and little blue pills while listening to Dylan singing “Watching the River Flow” and wondering what in the hell river was he really singing about anyways?
Boy was I was wrong! Yeah we got some boomers but most of our customers weren’t around for the first wave of the British Invasion but they can name you their favorite “Stones or Beatles songs in a heartbeat and hell if it is Led Zeppelin they can pretty much recite the lyrics backwards which is quite a feat when it is “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”.
In fact most of our customers tend to like a lot of different musical genres and don’t really give a f**k about the “Hip Factor” you know that bullshit record collector elitist attitude that some music is better than others and that “You Are Only As Hip As What You Listen To” Well folks, as someone who has had the privilege to work with some very fine musicians, I’m here to tell you that they all got their George Jones, Timbuk 3 and Ohio Express records that they still play today.
Couple of very interesting facts that have changed my thinking about how people discover music these days. Traditional radio plays a very small if any role in influencing new artists to listeners who are under 45. And if you are lucky enough to live in an area where you have a local Public Radio station that adds local music to the programming well that’s about as good as it gets for radio these days. Streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and others are rapidly becoming the way we select the new music & artists that we listen to. The ability to be exposed to the world of music without the confines of tight radio programming has expanded our musical journeys and what we end up listening to more different artists and styles of music than we ever could of in the past. That by the way is our customer, someone who streams music and has determined that they like a album enough that they will buy it.
So in other words I really screwed up on the demographics, psychographics and all that marketing shit that I forgot way back when I was in school. But hey we were really lucky enough to have some very patient customers who told us what they wanted and all we had to do was stock it and then they would buy it from us. What an amazing concept ” Listen To The Customer and Give Them What They Want To Hear”
What we didn’t screw up on is making Mill City Sound a great neighborhood record store that feels good to hang around. Hopefully everyone who comes in the store gets a smile and a hello, and hey if you want to talk music all the better. We are all looking for that next musical friend that we can share our love of music with.
That’s why we work at record store