Amoeba Music May Be a Covid-19 Victim

Amoeba Music with record stores in Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco says that due to the Covid-19 virus it faces an "uncertain future" as all three stores since mid-March have been shut down. Savings are running out and while the company is paying staff salaries it cannot continue much longer without help from customers and friends.

The company is therefore asking people to donate to its Go Fund Me page, where its goal is to secure $400,000. To date it has received pledges totaling $190,652 from 4400 donors.

Difficult to believe now, but founders Dave Prinz and Marc Weinstein started Amoeba 30 year ago opening its first store in Berkeley, CA .This was opening day, back when "experts" were claiming there was little interest in vinyl records:

If you wish to donate, go the Go Fund Me page and give a few bucks!

Dpoggenburg's picture

Michael, thank you for the heads up. These are hard times, But if your readers contribute even just one dollar It really adds up. I hope everyone stays safe!

jamesgarvin's picture

From what I can gather, Amoeba Records sells online. Is there a reason they are asking for donations rather than reminding consumers to purchase product online?

SpinMark3313's picture

I just placed a fat online order at my wife's suggestion - she knows how much I love periodic pilgrimages to Amoeba SF with a group of buddies, and Amoeba LA when on visits to our kids.
They can be a bit more expensive than the giant on-liners (Amazon, et al) but I look at the difference as my contribution to a business that would be a major shame to lose.
Get on it west coast AP readers!

Dpoggenburg's picture

My understanding is that most of their sales AND payroll costs are related to the brick and mortar operations. Amoeba promotes their online business through emails; whether they should have used the go-fund-me platform to promote online business is a fair question. But of course they'll only keep a profit-margin's worth of any sales, as opposed to 100% of the crowdfunding.

If that means the crowdfunding is a "bailout" then so be it: any money will hopefully help preserve a much loved store and allow the employees to return to work. These are desperate times. Be well and stay safe!

Jeff Strickling's picture

They will not have to pay taxes on the Go Fund Me as it will be a gift.

essmeier's picture

They're not doing business via mail order because there's a statewide shelter in place order for nonessential businesses.

SpinMark3313's picture

my recent order shipped yesterday

ArcAudio's picture

I agree. Purchase something online.

OldschoolE's picture

I thought Amoeba went out years ago? Wasn't there some brouhaha about them losing leases and such due to some dumb developers wishes? Not a nice day indeed and now this. I have no extra money to give unfortunately these days. (I have not been able to even buy a used record in months).

SpinMark3313's picture

but found an alternate location beginning fall this year. Hoping they can hang on.

superb6's picture

Shoplifters will just have to have to switch to Paramecium Records.
And besides ... McDonalds has cleaner toilets.

Happy Will's picture

Why can’t RSD bring RSD forward, after putting it back to June, and make it mail order using your local shop. Surely it would help out many hard hit shops. And who in June is wanting to be queuing anyway - its bad enough waste of a precious few hours in normal times - but trying to social distance will make it impossible anyway (and please don’t try and cough your way to the front.

richiep's picture

AGREED I am a vinyl file, but like you I find it extremely difficult traveling a distance at O dark thirty to wait in line and maybe find a jewel, probably not. More than willing to use my local shop and pay extra for packing and shipping good trade off to help them for my time and travel. I'm not the same kid who would wait in line that way for Who, Floyd, Stones and Zep tickets. Most of the RSD vinyl is sitting in warehouses, get it to the shops now, get over the exclusivity that was long ago, all we want is some new finds that were left behind for a reason or two!

Happy Will's picture

I had almost forgotten about queuing for concert tickets! Down to the box office on the day the tickets went on sale. Being in line for Zep tickets and them selling out three people before me. Hitchhiking to Southampton after the pub shut to queue overnight for Dylan ‘78..... alas too old for that now ☹️ But happy memories. Yep isn’t the RSD format now taking the proverbial, beyond quaint - time for a refresh - especially with Covid 19 likely to be lurking around for a year or two.

Happy Will's picture
Happy Will's picture

Popped into San Fran and Berkeley stores summer before last whilst in holiday from England. Bumped into another browser, John Turton, who I hadn’t seen since maybe 1995 at the Penta show. Anyway I thought they were more of a statement and cult and a bit like Beano’s (and probably most stores that sell SH records) in that they are a let down and the records aren’t that fantastic - but I am probably being picky.

SpinMark3313's picture

I find the SF store to be terrific - always come away with good stuff, some new, some used, mostly jazz and classical, some classic rock. I find the LA store to be superior (makes sense, huge population and music biz central) and a bit less expensive than SF. Both are treasures and either one a shame to lose. Just not the same shopping online. Sigh.

Bob Ward's picture

... after 30 years this company should have built up a bit of capitol.

BillK's picture

"In a sense, Amoeba's fate was decided in 2015, when it sold its 24,000-square-foot building at Sunset and Cahuenga to developer GPI Companies for a reported $34 million. The buyer has announced plans to build a 26-story high-rise in its place."

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