Armand Cohen, owner of Recordland

A lot has changed since we last interviewed you in 2001. CD sales are dropping and vinyl keeps going up.

Absolutely. We’re doing okay with CDs because we actually have a selection and volume — a little bit of variety to choose from. Otherwise, vinyl is stronger now than it’s ever been. Good vinyl, not Roger Whittaker.

How do you find your stock?

Experience, networking and hunting. People bring in their stuff, plus we have our overstock — our storage room — which in a lot of ways is a goldmine.

What’s selling now?

Classic albums — music that’s passing through generations: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Sabbath....


No, don’t say The Beatles....

We’re scared of these interviews because then some old lady will [read it and] come in with Zamfir or something, and [she’ll say], “These are collectibles.”

No ma’am. That’s garbage. Pure garbage. Jim Nabors, Kenny Rogers.... And they think it’s collectible: “They are worth a lot money.” No ma’am. These are the dump. Pure dump! The inner-sleeve, which is worth about 10 cents, is worth more than the actual record.

That’s why I didn’t say the Beatles. You get the phone calls, “Are my Beatles records worth anything?” No. They’re just standard fare like everything else.

But all that other stuff you mentioned isn’t really worth anything either.

They’re not worth a lot, but it’s what’s selling. What’s selling on vinyl now is music that’s passing through generations. They want it on record because, I think, a lot of these kids, the infatuation with digital is over, and it’s the only authentic thing left — the only thing they can’t reproduce. They can make a CD at home or cassettes, but they can’t make vinyl.

Who’s buying CDs these days, then?

Certain styles and genres still sell — blues, metal and punk. A lot of the other genres as well. Some not as much as others, for example, take Pink Floyd’s The Wall — I’d say for every 20 that I sell on record, I sell one on CD.

So the death of conventional [music] retail has been pretty good for you guys?

Recordland has always been a one-stop shop, but I think it is even more so now because there aren’t any stores that exist in the city anymore. Not in the sense of our style, but our volume.

How many records do you have here?

Here or in storage, or both?


Maybe half a million? Somewhere between a half to a million. Who knows? We’ve never counted.

Is this still a celebrity destination for DJs and bands coming through town?

Yeah. Radiohead, DJ Shadow... to lesser-known bands. I wish some more famous guys that I like would come... Tony Joe White. [Points to a photo of the singer above the till.] I wish he would come here.

Comments: 1

Just Jonathan wrote:

Ahhh, Recordland....a slice of HEAVEN!!! Been a customer since 1986! Taken many people there, expressing memories of records they had a long long time ago...they are stunned when Armand says "Yea yea, we have that".
Best way to spend a rainy afternoon in the Museum of Music!

on Mar 1st, 2012 at 2:02pm Report Abuse

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