Amoeba Music: Making Hollywood Rock
April 6, 2017
What makes Hollywood rock? Amoeba Music. From live free concerts to a vast selection of vinyl, cds, dvds, and more, this outpost of all things music has been a mainstay of Hollywood for the last 17 years.
Marc Weinstein, founder and co-owner of the Hollywood store as well two Bay Area locations, says his Hollywood spot is absolutely unique.
“This is just such a music-centered town. Historically, there are so many people in the music business here. There are so many different kinds of collectors and enthusiasts. We feed off these different groups, and the unbelievable cultural diversity here in Los Angeles. That makes us rightfully called the busiest record store in the world, at least outside of Japan,” he laughs, “they have busy record stores there, too.”
According to Weinstein, Amoeba Music Hollywood literally carries about one million actual items in house. “We have about 250,000 different titles or more in all formats. The actual number of LPs on the floor is about 150,000 at any given time.” He adds that the store is also known for carrying a variety of unusual formats such as 8-Tracks, laserdiscs, and 78s. “No one else carries those formats. That’s part of the appeal for collectors.”
Weinstein says the store’s most popular genre is rock. “But we have a number of strong demographic slices that shop here buying soul, hip hop, and jazz among other genres. Not many stores have a jazz section anymore. We also have a gigantic soundtrack section, which appeals to a demographic we really cater to right here in the media district in Hollywood.”
Weinstein says the store frequently buys collections and estates, and ends up with incredible collections related to the entertainment business.
“We try to go deep in all genres based on the idea that each of our sections are like little record stores. For example, we have a comprehensive reggae section and an experimental music section, as well as carrying all different kinds of metal with lots of sub-genres,” he says. In fact, record buyers come from all over Southern California to search Amoeba’s wide selection of metal. “We get things other stores rarely get, and we can order in quantity. We don’t get just one copy, we get ten,” Weinstein adds, meaning shoppers can come in and count on getting what they want.
Along with an inclusive and deep selection of recorded music, Amoeba also offers live music in the form of free concerts. “The concerts are very specific, it’s all about new releases,” Weinstein notes. “If an artist is coming out with something new, and if they are local or putting on a tour through town, we try to host a concert for them. We especially try to feature local artists, but our concerts all have to be built around a new release.”
Generally, shows at Amoeba serve as a celebration of a new record; the store plays the record, the artist plays some of the music from that record; the concert is directed at getting people interested in that artist’s new title.
“The biggest concert in our store was Paul McCartney back in ‘08,” Weinstein recalls. “It was kind of a perfect venue for Paul. He just wanted to do a couple of small shows to promote his new record at that time, Memory Serves. He played Amoeba here, and at a ballroom in New York City, and that was all.”
Weinstein is proud of serving so many different groups of people with its eclectic concerts. He likes that the crowds receive not only the opportunity to hear an artist, but to explore the store itself. “The crowd that is enthusiastic enough to wait in line and see the show may also be experiencing Amoeba for the first time, even after all these years. It’s not only a good draw and a great experience because it’s free, but concerts can serve as an initiation to Amoeba,” Weinstein attests. “And because it is in a record store, the concert is all ages, which is a big deal for young people. Artists with a young audience just love playing here because they can get their people out without a hassle.”
Appealing to music fans of all ages and genres, Amoeba Music offers an incredible music inventory, live concerts, varied formats, plus posters and T-shirts. This isn’t just a store, it’s a Hollywood experience.
6400 W. Sunset Blvd.
Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.