By Audrey Frigon, CHS Fall Intern
In the digital age of music streaming, vinyl records just won’t die. With record sales reaching their highest revenue level since 1988, Capitol Hill and the nearby have sustained a few shops that have survived long enough to cash in on the resurgence. And sometimes, something new comes along.
Selector Records and Apparel opened earlier this month off the beaten track on E Madison.
After eleven years DJing in Hawaii, Seattle native Sherman Crawford moved back home with the goal of opening a record store business. “I always had a dream of having a record store and that opportunity fell into my lap with this building,” he said. This building, located on 23rd and Madison, previously housed Looters Records. Crawford stumbled upon the store and moved in upstairs. When the record store closed, Crawford took over.
A music lover his whole life, Crawford first began collecting records and cassettes when he was eight years old. But the real beginning of his music addiction came in 1992 when he attended a rave and discovered the world of underground techno and dance music. “I was enthralled by the energy of the music and became obsessed,” Crawford said. As his fascination and love of the music grew, so did his record collection.
That music became the inspiration for his store. “When I came back from Hawaii I saw a void. There were no other stores focusing on underground techno music, especially new releases, and I wanted to fill that void,” said Crawford.
Through his store, Crawford wants to build a community of music lovers, not just a business. “I want it to be a shop where people can buy records, a mixer, headphones, a t-shirt- a true music culture shop,” Crawford said. He wants to emphasize the importance of the culture. The feeling of roaming around in a record store, hunting for a great find, discovering new music, and sharing that experience with other people. “I grew up in that community and it was essential in fostering my love of music,” he said.
“After the digital boom of the early and mid-2000s people have gotten bored with digital music,” Crawford says. He explains that records are tactile and spark an emotional connection to the music. “You can pick them up, see the artwork, and get an understanding of the intention and feeling behind the music.”
For his inventory, Crawford didn’t want endless rows of records. Instead he keeps a smaller selection, “but that ensures that each record is unique and high quality,” said Crawford. Alongside records, Selector offers merchandise and apparel.
Capitol Hill has plenty to offer vinyl junkies. Everyday Music, on 10th Ave between Pike and Pine, sells new and used records, CDs, and DVDs. They have been a part of the Capitol Hill community since 1995. With locations in both Washington and Oregon, Everyday Music has continued to thrive in the music selling industry.
One of the oldest existing record stores in Seattle is Capitol Hill’s Wall of Sound. Since 1990, the shop has been selling new and used CDs and records. Today you’ll find it at 1205 E Pike.
Spin Cycle, established in 2011, boasts an array of music genres from punk to country. The owner, a music collector himself, got so many records that he would have to move. But, instead of moving, he rented a store on Broadway and created the business. Spin Cycle sources new and used vinyl from indie distributors to make sure the source gets a profit.
With almost every Capitol Hill record store buying and selling new and used vinyl, a community has emerged that impacts and evolves the businesses each and every day.
“For people who want the experience and old school feeling of digging for records in a boutique record store, check it out, come in, join the community,” Crawford says.
Selector Records and Apparel is located at 2310 E Madison. You can learn more on its Facebook page.
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