Dear Yvonne Prinz,
Yesterday’s letter was to the administrator of a private online torrent community I frequently use to download music (illegally). Today’s letter is for you, the co-founder of the world’s finest remaining record store, Amoeba Music. Yes, a place where people go to buy music.
If I’m buying a physical piece of music, it’s going to be a vinyl record. Records are a wonderfully tangible piece of art aside from the music between the grooves. The music industry seems to have picked up on this and most artists produce vinyl of their releases. I’ve spoken to a record store owner in Dallas who says his store Good Records would have certainly gone under without the resurgence of vinyl. Where do you think Amoeba succeeded as the digital revolution devoured most every other record store?
For someone who consumes as much music as myself, it would be a massively expensive hobby if buying records was the only option. Only albums I deem truly great get purchased at this point.
I could spend every penny to my name each time I walk into Amoeba. I’m proud to say I’ve been to all three Amoeba stores. That’s pretty darn good for a fellow from Texas…
I’m excited for the Spoon show this afternoon at the LA store and I’ll make sure to get a copy of their new record.
PS: I have to assume your record collection is out of control.
I’m curious about your letter to the Torrent community. I have issues with stealing music. Obviously.
Thanks for supporting Amoeba. Without people like you we would surely go under.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been a struggle and there have been a lot of think-tank-like meetings of the partners to try and find ourselves creative ideas to help keep the stores alive. Some have worked, some have not.
The biggest and best thing about Amoeba is that it’s run by genuine music people, people who have always been passionate about music, and the passion is evident in the way the stores are run. Free shows and community outreach are an essential part of the Amoeba world. Each store has a unique personality based on where it’s located.
I also think we’re hanging in there just because we’re too damn stubborn to give up. We are comfortable with what we do and though we have a website you can shop on, we are mostly a store to visit in person.
We are trying to think in the long-term. We hope to be here for a while even if it means sacrifices in our personal lives. We’re old and we’re tough and we love what we do. No magic solutions or retail tricks, just a lot gritting our teeth and carrying on.
Oh, and yes, it’s nice that vinyl is enjoying a renaissance . Every little bit helps.
Enjoy the Spoon show!
Rock on, Yvonne