How to buy records during a pandemic | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

How to buy records during a pandemic 

If you have the money to help Chicago’s record stores stay in business long enough to reopen, here are your options.

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

PHOTO BY LEOR GALIL

  • Photo by Leor Galil

Chicago's musicians and venues were among the first affected by measures against the spread of COVID-19, but even before Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a shelter-in-place order on Friday, March 20, record stores had also started feeling the pain. Social-distancing practices caused an economic slowdown so quickly that on March 13, Record Store Day organizers postponed this year's RSD, scheduled for Saturday, April 18 (it's tentatively moved to June 20). The following day, 606 Records in Pilsen closed early for the day, posting on Instagram that the normally busy 18th Street strip was so quiet you could "hear the spray paint."

Since the shelter-in-place order, important dance-music hub Gramaphone Records has launched a GoFundMe to help it weather the COVID-19 closure; it's also continued to sell records through Discogs and its own website. Many local shops have taken similar routes, since the U.S. Postal Service continues to function, and for those who'd rather not rely on USPS, a few shops are offering work-arounds such as curbside pickup. Last week Tone Deaf Records owner Tony Assimos offered free delivery to customers close enough to his Portage Park shop for him to reach by car.

Assimos's committment to his shop speaks to the bonds of community among people who cherish Chicago's great network of independent record stores. For the moment, we're deprived of the pleasure of walking into one of those shops and stumbling upon an unfamiliar record that becomes our next new love. But we can take steps to ensure that these shops are still around when those days return. Below is an alphabetized list of Chicago record stores still selling music, along with alternative ways to support these businesses and their staff. We'll continue to update this list throughout the pandemic.

Beverly Records Order through the store's website or by phone (773-779-0066); curbside pickup available from 10 AM to 1 PM

Bob's Blues & Jazz Mart Closed

Bric-a-Brac Records Order through Discogs or buy gift cards redeemable upon a return to relative normalcy

Bucket o' Blood Books and Records Order through Discogs; curbside pickup available, as well as gift cards redeemable when the shop reopens

Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl Order through the store's website or Discogs; gift cards, curbside pickup, and free local delivery available

Dave's Records Order via the store's Discogs page

Dorian's Specialty vinyl packages can be ordered for pickup through Tock

Dusty Groove Order through Dusty Groove's website

Electric Jungle Order through Discogs; the shop's Instagram will post photos of select records for sale

Gramaphone Records Order through Discogs or the store's website; the store also has a COVID-19 GoFundMe

Hyde Park Records Closed

Interstellar Space Check the store's Instagram for updates and announcements

Laurie's Planet of Sound Selling gift cards (redeemable when the shop reopens) and accepting donations to support its staff, both via Paypal

No Requests Order through Feeltrip's website

No Trend Records Order through Discogs

The Old School Records Call 708-366-7588 for information

Pinwheel Records Gift cards available through the Pinwheel Records website, redeemable when the store reopens; online shop open at pinwheelrecords.square.site

Purple Llama Coffee & Records Order through the store's website

Rattleback Records Order through the store's website

Reckless Records Order through the store's website; contactless curbside pickup available at Belmont and Wicker Park locations from 10 AM till 6 PM daily

Record Breakers Order through the store's website (call 773-698-8387 between 12 and 4 PM with questions); free pickup available

Rolling Stones Closed

Shady Rest Vintage & Vinyl Order through Discogs

Shuga Records Order through the store's website; free pickup available Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM; free shipping on orders above $49.99; 20 percent off everything till April 7 with the code "thankyou"

606 Records Order through the store's website (including personalized mystery selections of records called "Quarantunes" packages, at any dollar amount specified)

Squeezebox Books & Music Order by phone (847-943-9309) or via Square site; free curbside pickup or $4 shipping available

Tone Deaf Records Order through the store's website; free delivery available depending on location

Vintage Vinyl Order through the store's website

Wild Prairie Vintage & Vinyl Order through the store's Discogs and eBay pages; selling select records via Instagram stories  v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Popular Stories