PORTLAND, Maine — The town lost its last first-run record store when Bull Moose closed its longtime underground music store on Middle Street in November 2020.
Streaming services delivering music directly to people’s smartphones, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, were the most obvious digital culprits for the loss.
But now, thanks to comments and controversial guests from podcaster Joe Rogan, an online effort is gaining traction to drop Spotify in protest. Launched by boomer music icon Neal Young, artists such as Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren have pledged to remove their music from the service and like-minded Spotify users are canceling their subscriptions, making their case.
Luckily for Portlanders, while there are no more first-run record stores in town, there are plenty of tasty and organized used vinyl dealers where music lovers can get their music fix. not broadcast. As a bonus, the shops are also all within walking distance of each other.
Run by local record guru Bob Wirtz, Enterprise is the granddaddy of all Portland music stores. Founded in 1987, Enterprise has gone through many places over the years and currently occupies 151 Park St..
Wirtz is a careful curator, catering to customers wanting clean, pristine albums in many genres, including blues, reggae, rockabilly, spoken word and jazz.
The store’s website boasts that they have never sold CDs and never will. These are records, and only records, at Enterprise.
This store, located at 556 Congress St., is a one-stop mall for every type of retro gift imaginable, from vintage Atari video games to pins, patches and funky stereo gear.
The Buddahs also have a fairly large selection of records and cassettes.
It’s not as minty and carefully selected as Enterprise, but prices are generally lower as well.
13th Floor Files
This place doesn’t really exist anymore. It used to be a brick-and-mortar store on Congress Street run by Matt Sukeforth, but it sold off much of its inventory at Portland Flea For All last fall.
So 13th Floor Records is gone but its collection lives on at the flea market at 585 Congress St. It’s open on weekends if you want to browse.
You can also buy from Sukeforth, who have moved their active buying and selling operation online and continue to release vinyl records from there.
Open since 2010, Moody Lords offers a handpicked selection of used records and trendy vintage clothing for sale at 566 Congress St.
According to the shop’s Facebook page, they specialize in rock, jazz, soul, punk, hip hop and new wave records. The Lords also occasionally have a new local vinyl record.
The merchant society
This place has an eclectic assortment of local, handmade, and vintage items for sale at 656 Congress St.
Inside The Merchant Company, you’ll find vintage homewares, handmade clothing, pottery, typographic posters, art cards – vinyl records, of course – and more. The disc stash actually takes up a whole corner of the store.
This shop, named after a mystical charm or talisman, is located at 650 Congress St, right next to The Merchant Company. Its website says the shop specializes in “subversive materials,” including books, videos and, of course, records.
You’ll find obscure punk, hardcore and metal albums right next to books on the occult and sabotage.
This very unique store at 578 Congress St. is, well, weird.
Along with a somewhat battered and haphazard selection of records, you’ll also find stacks of used VHS tapes, laserdiscs, and plastic, pop culture kitsch in all shapes and sizes. Before the pandemic, the tiny place was also known for hosting concerts by offbeat singer-songwriters.
Pee Wee Herman actor Paul Ruebens autographed an apple for the owner while in town.
Opened in 2003, the Strange Maine aptly occupies the former home of a 1980s video arcade, just where Forest Avenue meets Congress Street. Look for the store window with the mannequin in the horror mask.