Concerto lives on Utrechtsestraat, it’s been around since 1955 and has grown to fill 5 buildings with dance, pop, rock, jazz, world music and all those genres in between. I popped in on my way home from work yesterday and had a chat with the store manager, Anton, about how they were planning to celebrate Record Store Day. Turns out there’s a full day of bands playing in the store and plenty of limited edition releases on sale.
We had a nice chat about music, where I found out Anton’s first bought record was Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen, AKA The Boss. As well as managing Concerto, Anton’s a passionate music collector himself, with a personal collection of over 3,000 records. His collection is organized by genre, and the Blues section (his favourite) is alphabetized for ease of use (favourite Blues record Muddy Waters'”Folk Singer”). I like Anton.
While I’m there, staff are busying themselves with setting up sound systems and clearing spaces in preparation for the big day. There’s a few customers milling around too, with some intense browsing going on and some intense conversation between customer and staff in the jazz department.
I spend a great deal of time on the internet these days with working, blogging, social media and now buying habits. I wonder how so many record stores in Amsterdam seem to be thriving under the “current economic climate”.
“Most stores have a website too these days, so people can easily source what they want. We also want to keep the real, face-to-face customer service going in the shop. There’s nothing like being able to touch the vinyl, look through records yourself and be inspired by something you find that you may not have otherwise seen.”
I agree. There’s also still that need for human contact and social validation – or heated debate. We love to share our thoughts and passionate opinions on favourite bands, what better way than to do that with someone who’s been working in the field for so many years?
There’s a nice collection of turntables and accessories for sale in the store. But my main interest here is the records, and there are 50,000 new titles and 25,000 second-hand in stock at Concerto. I go behind the scenes to the stock room, where Anton shows me some of the special editions they’ll be selling tomorrow. There’s a great singles collection from Stax Records, “Never to be Forgotten: The Flipside of Stax 1968-1974” and special editions from some of the usual suspects, namely Beatles and Bob Dylan.
There’s live music playing at Concerto from 11:00-17:00 tomorrow, and you can find the full line-up here.
Concerto, Utrechtsestraat 52, 1017VP, Amsterdam