Regeneration

They’re back. Overcoming the loss of their lease at their previous location in Anacortes, Washington, and then recovering from a fire in their new location (before they officially took possession), The Business record shop has started its new life in Anacortes, in their stunning new digs at 216 Commercial Avenue (just a couple of blocks from where they were). It’s been emotional for Nick Rennis and Evie Opp, but they’re back with an expanded shopfront, an expanding distro business, and now a new subscription program. Browsers and subscribers needed. Their new subscription program is available for both in-store pickup and can be shipped globally.

According to Nick and Evie, you can choose from:
Distro- Cassette Subscription – One tape from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($60)
Distro- CD Subscription – One CD from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($120)
Distro- Vinyl Subscription – One record from their family of labels each month for 12 months. ($200)
Custom Vinyl Subscription – One record selected by their experts for you each month for 12 months (includes a fun questionnaire). ($240)
Premium Distro-/Custom Vinyl Subscription – One record from their family of labels plus one record selected by their experts for you and one 7″ each month for 12 months. ($500)
(Domestic shipping adds $50 to any subscription.)

Music is life. And The Business has been part of that life in Anacortes since 1978. It’s a project. It’s an experiment. It’s a testament.

The Business
216 Commercial Ave.
Anacortes, WA 98221 USA

I Pay Because I Love

I buy music. I buy a lot of music. Frequently labeled as a sucker by those who never pay for any music, I’m still buying music. Most of what I buy comes from small, local record shops. I spend several thousand dollars every year buying new music. Mostly I buy vinyl LPs, but I also buy music in other formats. Most of what I buy is new, but I also frequent ancient small shops that sell collectible older recordings. I buy 45s, 33s, 78s, and I’d buy cylinder recordings if any of the shops I visit sold them. I’m saying this because musicians and shop owners need to know there are people like me in the world, and I’m not alone! People like me feel a direct connection to the music we love, and are willing to pay for it precisely because we think about the artists who make the music we love, and because we feel a special bond with the small retailers who work so hard curating their inventories, finding us the treasures we seek. I think being a recording artist must be the highest artistic calling ever, and the artifacts of their creation are irresistible.

Goof

Music, for me, is life. It’s a spooky cool combination of personal experience, emotional confluence with another’s life and art, poetry, visual art, storytelling, and… communion. A vinyl record is like a sculpture that makes sound happen when you put it on a turntable. Think about it! It’s sound frozen inside a vinyl sculpture. The jackets are like books, often with thousands of details written down about the bands, the songs, the history, pictures, and the endlessly evolving processes of making records. Music released as an object is spiritual and when it’s done right, it transforms everything in your life: my attitudes about my own life, how I want to live my life, and how I want to fit into my world are all shaped by music and recording artists. Music makes me laugh. Music makes my heart ache to the point I cry. Music makes me feel. Music makes me care. I play music and make connections in my mind that I simply cannot make without it. That’s value worth paying for.

Converter

Not all music fans steal music from the internet, regardless of what some record executives say (to justify, I might add, more often than not, their refusal to pay their artists any royalties). I canceled my Spotify account because they don’t treat musicians fairly, either. Instead, I spend my days in my studio surrounded by my precious vinyl records, books about music, CDs, posters, old radios, old stereo gear, everything related to the music “industry.” Everywhere I rest my eyes, I’m looking at an object related to music and its history. And I feel… grateful. Every artist I see perform live, if I get a chance to meet them after their set at their merch tables, I say thank you. And I mean it. I even buy second copies of LPs I already own if that’s all they have for sale on their merch tables, just to leave a little extra money with the band. True story.

The Long Winters

Vinyl records represent the ultimate freedom in music for me because when I purchase one, I can enjoy it on my own, for years and years. If I can get a signed copy of a record, it assumes a position of high honor on my shelves. I can play my records, in any order I choose, and my playing remains personal, where I can take time to experience the truth behind real creatively. I’m proud to buy records. Of course, I have no idea if all the money is getting back to the recording artists, but I want artists to know that I care, and I happily pay for the pleasure I get from their remarkable work.

I don’t feel like a sucker. I hope both recording artists and small record-shop owners feel just a little of my devotion. I pay… because I love.

Egg Hunt

Score! The Cream Box

I was in the field, on the road in Indiana and Ohio collecting field recordings. I had heard about a small record shop in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, called Neat Neat Neat, but had never been there until this trip. I popped in and found this copy of the vinyl Cream Box, the band’s historic 2005 reunion performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Having just watched the documentary, “Beware of Mr. Baker,” I had Cream and the madness of art on my mind. A great film and a great boxed set, though out of print and, sadly, hard to find. If you’re in the Ft. Wayne area, stop by Neat Neat Neat. A well curated shop, and some very nice Third Man vinyl.

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