Baron Magazine – design, business and culture – Canada – www.baronmag.ca
Who are you and your current job:
George Reynoso, owner. I was a successful radio DJ and television reporter by the time I was 21. Somehow, I was always able to talk management into allowing me to produce stories on pop-culture or host oldies shows on Sunday nights, so in the ‘70s I became known as the local “music guy.” By the time I was 26, I became disillusioned with the prospects for a future in the broadcast business, so owning a music store seemed logical. I read the book, “Hit Men” by Fredric Dannen, which was a fascinating way to learn the genesis and insider structure of our industry. Apparently, avarice and missteps by the record industry from the disco era led to an industry-wide crash in 1980, the very year I opened my store. Had I known or done a little market research, I may have opted not to open. Talk about being naive! I started the store as Nostalgia Records with 700 square feet in a small strip mall. By 1987, I increased our square footage to 3,000 square feet on the city’s eastside. In 1994, I changed our name to All That Music, to counter the perception that we were the store with all the old stuff. In 1998, we moved to a new 5,700 square foot location. Today, our I-10 at Airway location is in the heart of El Paso’s business district near the airport. We see collectors from all over the region and the world, as we’re the only significant indie music store of scale in the area.
In which city are you located?
El Paso, Texas
What musical styles do you specialize in?
ATMV’s inventory reflects our local regional marketplace. In general, we stock all the recognized chart artists from the last 60 years: Classic Rock, Country, Vocalists, Jazz, World, Hip-Hop, DJ Dance & Electronica, Indie-modern, Hard Rock and Metal. Because of our geographic location on the border, we also stock the region’s best Spanish-language music department: Rock-en-Español, Baladas, Nostalgia, Tejano, Norteño, Banda, Tropical, and Ranchera.
Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?
El Paso is lucky in that it is the perfect stop-off for national tours making the trip from cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to the West Coast or Phoenix. All the major names come through here. In addition, we have some very strong independent venues in El Paso with connections to the indie scene, so we also see a lot of shows from underground acts, critical darlings, up-and-comers and influencers. Of course, we also play host to a great number of major Mexican performers, which makes El Paso into an incredible melting pot of musical influences.
What’s it like working in a record shop?
I’ve been lucky because this is my passion and I’m too stubborn to fail. But in 30 years, I’ve seen most of my competitors come and go because they were poorly capitalized, mismanaged, or otherwise naïve. This is a fast, cut-throat, and rapidly changing industry. People are attracted to the glamour of music and entertainment. But in reality, we are living in the midst of a technological, computer-based revolution. The world is now a virtual marketplace of digital files. Do your homework before you jump into this industry, and remember – your competition isn’t just the shop across the street or even the Big Box stores. It’s the internet.
What mind-blowing album are you listing right now?
Probably the hottest thing we have night now is a test pressing of The Stranglers’ 1977 release “No More Heroes,” which is seeing some heavy activity on our eBay page.
What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?
Most plainly put, you must know your product. Information is your best friend in this new environment, and while stocking the hits and the deep catalog titles are still important, you must be ready to hustle and be strategic about acquiring amazing record collections. They’re out there, and they aren’t easy to find, so when you do find them, you need great appraisal skills. The future music store will be all about service and collectibles for serious music enthusiasts. And as the Big Box stores leave the physical media space, we independent stores need to be ready to fill that need. Know your market, know your customers and know your music – and then be fair to all of them.
What does Record Store Day, mean to you and your business?
Record Store Day annually restores the relationship between musical artists and the vendors who curate their legacy. The fact that artists go out of their way to provide amazing, one-of-a-kind collectable product for their most loyal fans is a huge boon for us. It helps not only our “bottom line,” but the credibility of our store. It plays a vital part in strengthening the ongoing relationship local stores have to build with the customer.
Tips for musicians launching an album?
This is one part of the business that has never changed – you have to get your music into the ears of tastemakers and let them be your evangelists. The rise of digital music has flooded the market with more music than any one person can ever listen to in a lifetime. If you want to stand out, you’re going to have to make sure that your fans include the people in your community that actually do something for you. After you’ve done that, the grind of putting your music in front of new ears will go a little easier.
5 local musicians to check out!
Pilots of Venus