In our next interview with record shops for Records In The Time Of Corona. we head over to Austin, Texas, and the ever-popular Friends of Sound. We talked to the owner, George, who has been running the place since the store relocated from Austin to San Antonio. Here’s what he had to say about how the global pandemic has affected the record shop and what they are doing to keep this storied establishment going.
How has the global pandemic affected your day to day record store?
The biggest is sales obviously, those have slowed down, but really the biggest thing for us and most people is the daily interaction with people.
What are you doing differently to get sales? Can you explain if you’re doing anything different, and how this has helped or hurt you now?
We have always had a strong online presence via Discogs, and on IG but we have tried to make our post more personable people are seeing our faces and hearing our voices for the first time. We have started using social media in a way we didn’t before.
We are doing live giveaways and interviews with musicians and labels, hosting what we call virtual digs, where we play records like a DJ set and talk about them. Recording unboxings of shipments coming in, etc. it has helped us to maintain sales.
Are people still getting rid of collections at this time?
Not really, we bought a huge collection last summer and are still sorting it out so we have fresh inventory and we have been ordering new records through wholesale distributors.
Is this downtime at the physical shop forcing you to dig through your own collection more?
I have reorganized my collection at least twice already. LOL.
What gems have you revisited in your own collection?
I’ve actually been digging into more of the stuff that for some reason kinda gets ignored in my collection great classic stuff like Lee Hazelwood, Ned Doheny, Terry Reid, I guess the stuff I just kind of would look at and say “eh”. Oh, and Three Souls In My Mind LP, I forgot I had that one.
Are you doing anything else non-record related during this time?
Keeping the yard super tight, trying new grill recipes and I’ve been restoring some mid-century furniture in my garage and long walks, trying to stay active.
What has this global pandemic shown you about the record game?
Well, that the game never really stops labels are still putting music out and people still want it.
Any tips for record heads that are going nuts by not being able to go to a record store?
I think this is an opportunity for this community to get creative and start trying the things you’ve always put off; like learning how to play that guitar or sharpening your DJ skills, or maybe you always wanted to make beats from samples stuff like that.
Last comments, whatever you want.
This kind of touches on a previous question. I’ve realized that I am part of a community unlike any other and it’s been beautiful to see this community of vinyl/music heads really come together and support one another. Whether it be watching live DJ sets or donating 10 bucks. In my case, the support from the local community has been amazing which allows FOS to support labels and artists during this difficult time. I encourage everyone to try and support all local businesses trying to weather the storm. I want to thank you DJ Prestige for reaching out and be sure to check us out on IG @friendsofsound and keep the record spinning y’all !!!! Together we will pull through this!!