There was a time when the cynics believed that record stores were doomed to go the way of Blockbuster video rental joints: abandoned and forgotten by the masses who once flocked to their doors.
But the resurging popularity of vinyl has created a new niche market in which local music shops can thrive. And here in Miami, we still have enough record stores, despite the loss of many old favorites, to satisfy even the pickiest of record nerds.
Whether on the prowl for vintage LPs or new releases, it's all about knowing where to look. So in the hope of helping the wax-diggers out, we here at Crossfade have put together this list of Miami's five best record stores.
Anyone still eager to score some quality CDs should search no further than Museo Del Disco. And if you've got a big Latin family (and let's face it, if you're from Miami, you've got a big Latin family), this store is perfect. The selection is overwhelming, and not just when it comes to Spanish-language genres. Although lacking in hip-hop, el Museo is well stocked in everything from classic and alternative rock to jazz. It's not the spot for those looking to pick up highly collectible items, though. You'll only find newer vinyl, ranging in price from $5 to $20, as well as some nice, classic, old-school records.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Live Music Venues
From a distance, this may not seem like the ideal place to go record hunting. What appears to be a simple instrument shop full of hanging guitars is also home to an extensive collection of vinyl, with some pieces dating to the 1930s. Focusing mostly on rock, R&B, and jazz, Musician's Discount Center sells new and used records as cheap as $1, though most cost about $5 or $6. Older Miamians may remember Records & Things, which shut down in 1981 and then re-opened as Musician's Discount Center, combining a record store with an instrument shop.
For 22 years, Uncle Sam's has been a staple of the South Beach music scene. But over the decades, as things have changed, Uncle Sam's has evolved into what it is today, a music and lifestyle store. Last August, the store moved to a smaller location, only two blocks from where it was originally located. And now, not only will you find newly released vinyl alongside classic used vinyl, but you can also shop for clothes and accessories to match your musical tastes. Though you won't find many collectibles here, some of the choicest records cost as much as $50. Most, however, are reasonably priced between $5 and $20. This is also a hip-hop enthusiast's paradise, as Uncle Sam's is constantly restocking classic rap from artists such as Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Hip-Hop Clubs
Serving Miami for over 33 years (and conveniently located next to a head shop), this is a one-stop for all your vinyl needs. Chances are you've never seen this many records in one place. Stacked wall to wall, floor to ceiling, most of Yesterday and Today's inventory costs $8 to $20. The store carries plenty of vinyl reissues from the 1950s through the 1980s. And if you're looking for collectibles, this place is your best bet. An old Hank Mobely vinyl once sold for $5000. But if you're on a budget, feel free to browse through the cheap stacks for some hidden treasures.
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If there's one record store that everyone in Miami has heard of, it's Sweat Records, the Little Haiti record shop that's sort of become the unofficial headquarters of the local music and arts scene. On any given day, there may be movie screenings or live music performances, and a large portion of Sweat is dedicated to new, often local indie releases. The store's vinyl collection ranges from jazz to pop-punk to experimental, and its $1 bin is full of classic records. One of Sweat's most unique features is its vinyl record-listening station, where you can sample any used record before purchasing it. You'll also find clothing and accessories designed by Miami artists, as well as merchandise from Miami bands. Oh, and if you're feeling hungry (and animal friendly), just check out the snack bar -- it's full of delicious vegan goodies.
-- Pablo Chacon Alvarez
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