May 24, 2015 by 45spin


Well, it’s been awhile since my last post. This running a record store has been a bigger time commitment than I first thought. Somewhere between making sure everything works, setting up new vendors, sorting & alphabatizing what seems like a million records and oh yeah my real job which is selling something every once in a while so I just might be able to afford to do it all over again tomorrow.

Delbert McClinton has a great song I’ve played more than a few times called “Everytime I Roll The Dice’ which is basically what I did when I opened Mill City Sound. You see when I started all of this all I knew is that I really liked records and maybe, just maybe someone else might like them as much as I do. That in essence was my entire business plan, “Find People Who Like Records As Much As I Do” I admit there was not a lot of thinking involved in this business plan but just a lot of faith & love in vinyl.

Well nine months later much to my amazement I’ve discovered that there are a whole lot of vinyl lovers out there. And I will admit right now that I originally thought the store would be full of old Baby Boomers like me and we would be discussing aches, pains and little blue pills while listening to Dylan singing “Watching the River Flow” and wondering what in the hell river was he really singing about anyways?

Boy was I was wrong! Yeah we got some boomers but most of our customers weren’t around for the first wave of the British Invasion but they can name you their favorite “Stones or Beatles songs in a heartbeat and hell if it is Led Zeppelin they can pretty much recite the lyrics backwards which is quite a feat when it is “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”.

In fact most of our customers tend to like a lot of different musical genres and don’t really give a f**k about the “Hip Factor” you know that bullshit record collector elitist attitude that some music is better than others and that “You Are Only As Hip As What You Listen To”  Well folks, as someone who has had the privilege to work with some very fine musicians, I’m here to tell you that they all got their George Jones, Timbuk 3 and Ohio Express records that they still play today.

Couple of very interesting facts that have changed my thinking about how people discover music these days. Traditional radio plays a very small if any role in influencing new artists to listeners who are under 45.  And if you are lucky enough to live in an area where you have a local Public Radio station that adds local music to the programming well that’s about as good as it gets for radio these days.  Streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and others are rapidly becoming the way we select the new music & artists that we listen to. The ability to be exposed to the world of music without the confines of tight radio programming has expanded our musical journeys and what we end up listening to more different artists and styles of music than we ever could of in the past. That by the way is our customer, someone who streams music and has determined that they like a album enough that they will buy it.

So in other words I really screwed up on the demographics, psychographics and all that marketing shit that I forgot way back when I was in school. But hey we were really lucky enough to have some very patient customers who told us what they wanted and all we had to do was stock it and then they would buy it from us. What an amazing concept ” Listen To The Customer and Give Them What They Want To Hear”

What we didn’t screw up on is making Mill City Sound a great neighborhood record store that feels good to hang around. Hopefully everyone who comes in the store gets a smile and a hello, and hey if you want to talk music all the better. We are all looking for that next musical friend that we can share our love of music with.

That’s why we work at record store

by the way.Mill City Logo


  1. jprobichaud says:

    Nice. I’d love to open a record store. I imagine its scary but fun.

    • 45spin says:

      It’s been a lot of fun, and yes there was a time where I was wondering if I was doing the right thing but when you do the things that you really love the worse that could happen is I would be broke and yet having a real good time as the Faces would sing on Long Player.

  2. purplemary54 says:

    That is so awesome! And just a word of advice, never rule out two things: 1) Kitsch or cheese factor–people sometimes love stuff specifically because it’s kind of bad; 2) The power of nostalgia–find out what your customers liked as kids, and try to stock some of that.

    • 45spin says:

      Hey California Girl, nice to hear from you again. You are totally right, everybody wants what they had when they were younger. I cannot tell you how many copies of Fleetwood Mac’s classic album Rumours I have sold to folks who have already owned it before 😉

  3. 1537 says:

    Wow – well done and its really nice to hear from you again. Does local stuff sell particularly well for you?

    • 45spin says:

      Hey it’s good to hear from you as well, You know every time I’m playing Legos with my grandkids I’m allway trying to remember some of the cool characters I’ve seen you create on your post however it always seem like I’m one brick short ( Which has been a common theme in my life )

      The Local stuff does sell well, and as we have had some amazing local talent ( Dylan, Prince, Replacements, Husker Du, Atmosphere, Eddie Cochran, Trashmen, The Litter, Trampled By Turtles its hard not to. But hey what I found out by doing this for nine months is that , ” Everyone knows what they like, and likes what they know” Sometime if you are lucky they might try something new but more likely than not they know what they wanted when they came in the door 😉

      • 1537 says:

        Brilliant stuff. That’s a pretty stellar list of local talent you have there – there’s a great compilation from the Numero Group label that celebrates the Minneapolis scene before Prince too. Glad to know I’m in your Lego thoughts too.

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