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Cultural Meccas: Record Stores Around The World

by Akhil Kalepu

Sep 30, 2014

© Ajfilgud | Dreamstime

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For decades, the record store has been the watering hole for music lovers all over the world. Whether you’re searching for breaks in Brooklyn or chatting with the local acts in Iceland, the record store is a cultural hub. While their numbers have dwindled in the era of iTunes, here are eight shops around the world that are still thriving.


Spacehall: Berlin, Germany

Record stores like Spacehall fuel the local club scene. For years, DJs have come here for their vinyl needs, housed in a beautifully designed, minimalistic space. Four floors cover almost every genre imaginable, though being in Berlin you should flip through their incredibly diverse collection of electronic music.


Amoeba Records: Los Angeles, Calif.

The younger brother of its Berkley location, Amoeba is a thriving Los Angeles landmark that regularly features artist appearances and performances. This location is the youngest brother of Amoeba’s Berkeley and San Francisco shops, and is also one of the biggest independent stores in the country, proving that the record store is not dead.


Rough Trade East: London, United Kingdom

Rough Trade is a post-punk landmark. Born out of Rough Trade Records, home to The Smiths and The Libertines, this record shop has seen a number of legends come through the doors to perform, including a gig from Nirvana in 1990 previewing songs off their Nevermind album. Rough Trade recently opened their first American location in Williamsburg, making it the largest record store in New York City.


Mazeeka Samir Fouad: Cairo, Egypt

This hidden gem houses a collection of old phonographs, hi-fis and rare vinyl from Egypt and the Middle East. Store manager Ahmed Hamada has built his collection from abandoned houses, closed down record stores and even salvaging the library from the burned out Khedive Royal Opera House.


12 Tónar: Reykjavík, Iceland

It might be small but this record store is highly influential in Reykjavík’s hip music scene, serving as a cultural hub for the Icelandic musicians like Björk and Sigur Rós. 12 Tónar features weekly performances in their store, as well as housing a coffee shop and an independent record label.


The Thing: Brooklyn, N.Y.

A crate-digger’s paradise, The Thing is a dusty maze of crates filled with unlabeled, poor-quality vinyl. This isn’t a record store where you sip coffee and chat, it’s all about the dig here. With no discernable system of organization, just root around for a few hours and you are guaranteed to find hidden treasure.


Nova Audion: Mumbai, India

Mumbai has plenty of music vendors with hidden gems, but if you want a truly elegant listening space, head over to Nova Audion. Sushil Anand’s all-vinyl record store is an audiophile dream. You won’t find rows and rows of records, but rather an intimate atmosphere and an organic experience. Anand will even clean your vinyl as you pick out your new hi-fi system.


Tower Records: Tokyo, Japan

A leftover from the glory days, this Tower Records was able to survive the times and went independent from bankrupt franchise. Megastores like these aren’t around anymore, so be sure to take a visit and experience buying music pre-iTunes.



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