National Record Store Day observed in Tampa

04/21/08 Mitch E. Perry
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With more and more music available to listen and purchase directly through the Internet, one casualty in recent years has been the neighborhood record store.

According to the Almighty Institute of Music Research, some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003. So a consortium of independent stores and trade groups organized and declared last Saturday Record Store Day across the country.

In the Tampa Bay area, several such stores still exist such as Daddy Kool’s in St. Petersburg, Mojo Books and Music on Fowler Avenue in Tampa, and Vinyl Fever in South Tampa.

Jessie Poole, manager at Vinyl Fever, says the music store industry has always had to embrace change to some extent – and if you don’t believe him, try finding many places where you can buy eight-track or cassette tapes. But he believes there’ll always be record stores around.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, retail outlets accounted for 42 percent of album sales last year. That’s down from 68 percent in 2001.

Sonny Mullins from St.Petersburg says he buys music off the Internet, but he comes to Vinyl Fever about once a month.

Nikki From St. Petersburg said early Saturday afternoon she had already visited Daddy Kool Records on Central Avenue, and said she couldn’t bear to live in a world where stores like that don’t exist.

With many young people living in a world where the accessibility to all types of music is just a keystroke away, Nikki says there’s a lot some of those music fans are missing.

At Vinyl Fever, a live DJ crew called “Business Casual” and a local singer-songwriter Lance Rowland were scheduled to entertain on Saturday. It’s those live events that the store has always done to distinguish itself from other stores and the online experience.

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