April 16 was National Record Store Day, at least according to record-store owners. In conjunction with that not-quite-national-holiday, Rolling Stone crowned the Bay Area’s very own Amoeba Music the best record store in the United States.

The Rolling Stone piece ratifies what any local music lover has known since the first time he or she wandered into an Amoeba on Telegraph Avenue or Haight Street. The depth and breadth of Amoeba’s stock can dazzle and overwhelm even hardcore collectors. Their cups runneth over in gluttonous delight when scoring an out-of-print Zappa album; making strides in a lifelong quest to procure every Duke Ellington recording; or even scooping up a handful of second-tier Bowie albums, ignored upon release but attractive at $1.99 a pop.

Last week I interviewed Amoeba founder and co-owner Marc Weinstein about the store’s history, its business model and continued success in the face of music-industry contraction, and about the overlooked place of the record store in our national culture. Says Weinstein about why he got into the business of selling records: “I feel like I’m selling little bits of a spiritual high.”

Listen below:

Amoeba co-owner Marc Weinstein on the store’s history

Weinstein on the store’s business model

On the importance of the record store in American culture

On the store’s online plans

On the continuing success of vinyl sales


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of EconomyBeat.org, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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