If you aren’t used to seeing headlines like this by now, you aren’t paying attention. Retail businesses are struggling all over due to the COVID-19 pandemic and California’s iconic record store chain, Amoeba Music, is only the most recent to turn to their loyal customer base and ask for some support. This week, Amoeba co-founders Marc Weinstein and Dave Prinz launched a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise the $400,000 necessary to support their 400+ employees and keep its Berkeley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles locations afloat.
“All three of our stores have been closed since mid-March and remain closed indefinitely,” Weinstein and Prinz write in a post detailing Amoeba’s trajectory from a single dusty used record shop on Berkeley’s famous Telegraph Avenue to something of a vinyl-lover’s Mecca that provides free concerts, blowout Record Store Day events, and a place for music obsessives to hang out and dig through crates. “We’re exploring every possible means of support, including federal and local grants and loans,” they continue. “But these funds are not guaranteed to come in, and they won’t meet the needs of our short-term future.”
It’s almost hard to believe that a business as popular as Amoeba could be struggling so much. While other independent record stores fell victim to the advent of the internet and streaming platforms, Amoeba soldiered on and remained a favorite retail shop of musicians and celebrities, as seen in their “What’s In My Bag?” YouTube series.
But these are uniquely difficult times for brick and mortar shops, and now the big guy on the block is looking for a little help. “Listen to Louie and Billie (Holiday or Eilish), Miles and Coltrane, Thundercat and Bootsy, Sabbath and Zeppelin, the Stones and the Beatles, Hank and Patsy, Kanye and Cardi, Otis, Prince, Gram, Django, Amy, Tyler, Sun Ra, John Prine... whoever else moves you,” Weinstein and Prinz conclude. “And know we miss you all so much, and long for the day we can all gather again.”
At the time of writing this article, Amoeba has raised just over $100,000. You can help them reach their goal here.
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