Starting a Record Store

start it Are you interested in starting your own record retailing business? Would you like to learn the ways you can do it? What do people in similar business say is the most recommended way to?

Learn the answers to these and to other questions you may have about starting a music store.

The one good reason why anyone would like to start a music store is because he loves music. It’s not a very generic business to start. One need to know well the stuff he is selling and the tastes of the customers he will be selling records to. And there is the tricky part of getting stocks.

How to Start a Record Store

There are two ways to own a record store. You either buy an existing business or you start one yourself. The advantage of buying is you don’t have to work a lot anymore to make the store materialize. And you can inherit an existing customer base. The downside is, it will cost you a lot. If you don’t have enough to buy an existing music store, then you work and start yourself. Better yet, before opening your own store, get training by finding employment in similar stores.

Starting Your Own Record Store

If you decide to start your own record store, you have the option of setting up a shop or operating it online. Most people in the business would recommend that -- either way -- start small and avoid competing with larger retailers by finding your own niche market. Get things as you need them and slowly build up the business. This way you won’t have a need for a large startup capital (especially since markups are small in this business), although as a consequence, it could take you years to build the business to a considerable size.

Getting Goods for a Music Store

Those who have been in the business would attest to the fact that getting stocks at prices that you can sell at a profit is one of the biggest challenges in this business. Ideally, you buy stocks from record labels or their distributors. However, getting these large companies to notice a small retailer could be a challenge. To improve your chances of attracting their attention and taking you seriously, incorporate your business and go get a bank account. Or, look for a distributor’s network system that you can affiliate with. Try Alliance Entertainment alternatively, you can choose to specialize on indie music distributors, who are usually more accommodating to smaller players. In anyway, the key to breaking into the industry is by asking people within.

Staring an Online Record Store

Online business has the advantage of low startup cost as you won’t need to spend for a physical location, shop fittings, and overhead. If you choose to operate online, get into web marketplaces for record dealers, shops and music collectors and participate in forum to make yourself known to customers.


  • Luigi said on March 12, 2011
    Hi, Thanks for the article, I found it useful. I live in London (UK) and I am brainstorming on setting up a record store here. To be more specific, I would like start up a record store dedicated to LP. Type of music: indie, alternative music, jazz and major influential musicians (for today's trends). I have in mind a place to relax, take the time to enjoy music, sip a coffee and learn about new bands. The opposite of how music is often enjoyed today. I am a big music lover, but I am not an entrepreneur and although I have studied business, I don't quite know where to start.
    Can you give some tips?
    Which should be my first moves?
    Shall i try to work part-time in a music store?
    How can I gather a better idea if my business idea would sell?
    Thanks, appreciate your help. L.
  • Mark Carlin beginner adviser said on March 31, 2011
    @Luigi: Hi, Am helping a relative set up a online record store, remember rome wasn't built in a day. First, try to buy bulk in cheap from sites like ebay or similar sites, always use pay-pal for buying or selling, never use untraceable bank accounts or sending to untraceable addresses or p.o boxes. Start small, buy a few bulk items like 50 vinyls here for £50, 100 here for £?, then do inventory work on your purchases, write all items/vinyls down including vinyl item code for the label. Keep this in software to build up a catalog. I insist you check discogs for info on each record or other sites as you may get a record for 20p and when you search the net find its worth a few hundred or thousand. If its really valuable try to put it in a specialized auction. Sell your items with the intent on making double profit on ebay after all ebay bills are payed. e.g. if a record cost you 50p, and you can sell it for £2-3, then you on your way there. when you have double profit, split half for saving investment for future business deals or an offer that comes your way. use the other half to pay bills/wages and buy more stock. Hope this has helped a bit, anymore question pm me:

  • obie said on September 12, 2013
    thanx for the article... i live in the uk but i've decided to go back to south africa and start my record shop,but my shop will be selling underground house music. i have an idea of where i will run my shop,which is my place first. but i want tips on how to run it, distributors contacts etc...
  • Larry Joseph said on August 11, 2015
    I want to start a record store here in Statesboro, GA and I would like information on distributors I can use as well as how to get started.


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