A Peek Into The Music Record Shop In St. Louis
Old and new are converging in the record industry like never before, and the owners at Music Record Shop in St. Louis’ Midtown neighborhood see a perfect example of that each Friday, when new shipments arrive. The venue has also been named the official record store of LouFest 2017, which will host a pop-up store and artist signing tent (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the artist signing schedule). Music Record Shop’s staff frequently post videos of the ‘unboxing’ of new and used CDs and vinyl records, and, as co-owner Christine Carter says, “People are literally running into the store to buy things. It sounds crazy, but they are.”
Better yet, Carter noticed the inevitable sense of community that seems to pop up around music. She noticed customers not only coming in and out to buy records, but to talk about music, too. “We watched their behavior and thought, ‘We probably need to open a bar.’ But the thought of that was pretty daunting.’” That sense of community underlies The Music Record Shop’s latest venture, a newly launched 1,500-foot private-event space and green room called The 303 in the .ZACK, a multi-use arts development that houses their business.
The 303 concept benefits from Carter’s background in furniture sales as well as her culinary degree. She laughs as she describes the unusual roundabout journey her career has taken since she was dragged willingly into the music business by her husband. But things came together at 303, with its stylish décor and amenities, including a poker table, sit-down seating for 14, multiple TVs and a high-fidelity sound system from Music for Pleasure—the perfect place for artist meet and greets.
A fourth facet of the couple’s business is music promotion and production, which is in high demand with the resurgence of vinyl. “What we’re really trying to build here is an entertainment venue,” says Carter. ‘It’s beyond the retail store, beyond the online business. It’s giving people that place to have a full experience.”
Industry projections show no end to the vinyl boom. Even music giant Sony is getting back in the game; it will start producing vinyl again next year. “Neither of us expected this boom,” she says. “It has outpaced digital-download sales.” In the years since Carter and her husband Mark launched their business as an online-only imported-vinyl record store in 2009, vinyl has exploded. Last year marked a 25-year high in sales.
Carter also expects more major bands to tour through St. Louis again, especially after the success of the Metallica and Guns N’ Roses concerts this summer. She’s also pumped about the local music scene, including LouFest Sept. 9 and 10. Music Record Shop—the festival’s official record store—will run a pop-up stand selling records, posters and other merchandise.
With so much happening, Carter says staying energized is easy in spite of the long hours the entrepreneurial couple logs. “When I see repeat buyers, and people leaving positive comments on social media, and the growth of the business, that’s what makes me want to get up in the morning, to come back and do it all over again.”
Current LouFest Signing Tent Schedule:
Sunday, September 10
1:15 p.m.: Future Thieves
2:00 p.m.: Jack Grelle
5:00 p.m.: Robert Randolph
6:00 p.m.: Houndmouth