Rough Trade coming to Williamsblergh

Ari Spool

A weird melding of things we like and things we dislike: Bowery Presents, the club conglomerate that owns Williamsburg Music Hall, Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Terminal 5, and some theater in Jersey, is helping to open an outpost of the legendary London record store Rough Trade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the fall. It's supposed to be bigger than any of the ones in London. It will also be a venue. They are also launching an online MP3 store for Americans. OK, so let's break it down:

Why this is cool:

  • More venues = more zones to see a band
  • Rough Trade is notoriously really cool about consignments. If you walk in there and ask, you can probably sell your record there, as long as you don't also steal something on the way out.
  • It's possible that more European and British imports will become available in America
  • More jobs for people in bands. Lots of people in bands have worked at Rough Trade in London, so they are probably cool with letting people go out on tour/taking a night off because of an early load-in/etc.
  • Records are good. More music is good.
  • Is opening a large record store in this economy a bellweather of economic revival in the arts?

Why this might not be as cool:

  • There are already three cool record stores in downtown Williamsburg in the area around Bedford, where we assume this is going to be located: Sound Fix, the Academy Records Annex, and Earwax. (There is also a good used record store not far away in Greenpoint called the Thing, and Bushwick's first record store, Heaven Street, just opened up.) All of these stores are small, local businesses with really awesome clerks who deserve to keep their jobs. Hopefully a huge mega-store won't put them under.
  • Bowery Presents is a pretty meh company. All their venues are bland black boxes with high drink prices. It's worth going to see a band at a Bowery Presents venue if you like the band but they are not known for creating places you'd wanna just go and hang. Their ticket prices aren't that gouge-y, though.
  • Tourists will come to Brooklyn and we'll have to give them directions.
  • Who opens a large record store in this economy?

We'll have to see how it pans out. Hopefully this will be a positive addition to New York in the way that it is positive addition to London.

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