For the past 14 or so years, I’ve received email newsletters from Other Music in New York City, which I’ve long-regarded as the best record store in the country. It’s one of the few email subscriptions I’ve never even come close to considering ending, having introduced me to hundreds of now-beloved bands from Vampire Weekend to Efterklang to Monika to Little Simz to countless others. To this day, it stands as one of the best ways I know of to find good music that I’d otherwise likely never know about.
This morning, that same newsletter arrived to inform me, along with all other recipients, that the store was closing after 20 years of serving music-lovers of New York City and the world.
I could on and on about how cities and life have changed—for better and worse—because of the internet; instead, I’d like to simply share both my sadness and my fondness for what I truly regard as a seminal and important institution in the independent music scene, especially in NYC. Other kept a staff that was not only wildly knowledgable about the music world but also feverishly devoted to finding and sharing new independent music with the store’s clientele, which is what made so many of us such fans of the store itself.
The store served as a leader in scene too, holding intimate in-store performances, organizing showcases around the city and at festivals, and more recently starting their own record label, which will continue on.
It seems there are multiple reasons that add up to owners + co-founders Chris Vanderloo and Josh Madell (below) making this decision, but it basically boils down to increasing rent combined with far less record-buying. As they stated in a press release this morning:
“The shop has sold millions of records, won awards and accolades, and hopefully touched more than a few lives. Times change. This business has changed, this city has changed, but records will keep spinning, and they ask only one thing — that you keep supporting great music, wherever and however you can.”
Let’s honor their wishes, shall we?
You can view all 16 years worth of email updates from Other Music in their web archive and the New York Times has a great article on the shop that ran today.
Photo, Hilary Swift for The New York Times.