Austin is a city renowned for its thriving live music scene. Naturally, this city of songs is home to many high-quality music stores, a number of which are independently owned. Read on to discover five independent retailers that every music lover ought to visit.
Strait Music Company
Originally established in 1963 as a Baldwin Piano retailer, the shop branched out after the rock ‘n roll era ushered in a high demand for string instruments and accessories. Today, despite multiple setbacks caused by natural disasters and economic downturns, Strait Music one of America’s largest independent music retailers. Founder Dan Strait has been honored by the National Association of Music Merchants, and the store was voted Best Music Store in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin awards.
Strait Music offers products for everyone: from veteran musicians to those just starting out. Stock includes pianos, guitars, wind instruments, sheet music, percussion and accessories. Strait Music also provides repair services for woodwinds, piano and string instruments.
The store is located at 2428 West Ben White Blvd in Austin; open 6 days a week from 10AM to 7PM. In-store shopping and curbside pickup are currently available.
Waterloo Records is the winner of 36 consecutive Austin Music Awards, and has been recognized by Buzzfeed as one of the best record stores in the world. Established in April of 1982, the store covers a massive 6,400 square feet and offers music of every genre and style, with a special focus on Texas artists. Waterloo prides itself on a solid foundation of trust between the store and its patrons, built through unique policies such as allowing customers to listen to any album in-store before making a purchase. Patrons may also return albums up to ten days after purchase.
Waterloo is located at 600 North Lamar Blvd in Austin, and is open daily from 11AM to 7PM. In-store shopping and curbside pickup are currently available. Masks and temperature checks are required to enter, and cash is currently not accepted in-store.
Antone’s Record Shop
Antone’s Record Shop was established in 1987 by Clifford Antone. The shop also housed the headquarters for Clifford’s records label: Antone’s Records; which went on to release over 60 individual titles. Following Clifford’s passing in 2006, his legacy was carried on by employees Mike Buck, Forrest Cappock and Eve Monsees.
The store carries a wide selection of used records including LPs, 45s and 78s. Antone’s is dedicated to supporting local musicians, frequently hosting in-store concerts and promotional parties. In addition to vinyl records, books and CDs, the shop carries a variety of merchandise dedicated to the store’s legacy. Antone’s also purchases used records in good condition, in exchange for cash or in-store credit. House calls can be arranged for quotes on collections larger than 1,000 records.
The store is located at 2928 Guadalupe Street #101 in Austin and is open daily, noon to 6PM. In-store shopping is currently limited: masks must be worn to enter and listening stations are currently unavailable. Curbside pickup is offered for those not wishing to shop in-store.
South Austin Music
Established in 1986, South Austin Music has called Lamar Blvd home for 35 years. The store strives to support Austin’s live music scene by offering quality musical instruments, instrument accessories, repair services and classes. Lessons are conducted by Eddie Collins and Richard Jesse, who share a combined 60 years of teaching and musical expertise. They specialize in a wide range of styles, including Blues, Rock, Jazz, Fusion and Bluegrass. Lessons are offered for the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin.
Shoppers in search of a particular instrument can fill out a “wish list” questionnaire via the store’s official website. Staff will alert the customer if their dream item comes into stock.
The store is located at 1402 South Lamar Blvd in Austin, and is open seven days a week. In-store shopping is currently available, in addition to curbside pickup options.
Established in May of 208, the store is located on Austin’s historic 6th Street and specializes in collectible records, both new and used. Genres include 60’s and 70’s pop, psych, garage and more. The name “BLK” is derived from the first letters of each founder’s name. The shop was initially launched as a place for its founders to showcase their vast personal collections of records.
In addition to buying, selling and trading records, BLK offers guitar lessons for students of all skill levels. Lessons are taught by Towson University graduate Keith Lough: one of BLK’s original founders. Lough holds a Bachelor’s degree in music, with more than 10 years of teaching experience under his belt. His lessons are personalized to match each student’s interests and individual learning style.
The store is located at 2505 East 6th Street in Austin and is open Thursday through Saturday. In-store shopping is currently available by appointment only, in addition to curbside pickup.
Which of these music stores are you excited to explore, and why?