Other Music opened its doors on East 4th Street in 1995, right across the street from the gargantuan downtown branch of Tower Records.
After it opened, for a few weeks I obscurely thought that it must be an adjunct of Tower Records. It seemed perfectly plausible that Tower might open an annex called ‘Other Music’ across the street from one of its major locations. Plus the Internet wouldn’t have had good information on something like that back then, so I just didn’t know.
After a couple of visits, however, it became clear that something entirely else was going on at Other Music. They would always have the hip, newer stuff that was making the rounds online, like Clinic or Enon or Les Savy Fav, and would also focus on older material that wasn’t as prominent in the larger chain stores, like Neu! or Henry Cow. They did a pretty good job of making Tower look safe and provincial.
Of course, the 2000s weren’t kind to big-box retailers of music, and even though such an idea would have seemed absurd when it was starting out, Other Music outlasted Tower Records by a decade.
Today Other Music tweeted the sad news that it will be closing in a few weeks:
It's with heavy hearts that we announce that Other Music will be closing its doors on June 25. More details shortly. pic.twitter.com/u05bun8QY0— Other Music (@othermusic) May 9, 2016
A week ago, Josh Madell, one of the owners of the store, commented, “We still do a ton of business—probably more than most stores in the country. It’s just the economics of it actually supporting us—we don’t see a future in it. We’re trying to step back before it becomes a nightmare.”
Rather than assume a snobby attitude about the music you should have been up on before you entered the store (ahem—Kim’s Underground), Other Music always went the other way, eager to bring you new stuff you hadn’t heard before. Its shelves always had enthusiastic and informative note cards written by staff members explaining why this or that obscure album was worth your fifteen bucks.
Few establishments have enhanced the East Village like Other Music. For a good while there—certainly through the 2000s—they always had the best used CD racks. I’m very sorry to see it go.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
from Dangerous Minds: