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Travel to Amsterdam


Eardrum Buzz, Haarlemmerplein, Amsterdam

1 June 2014

Questions: Ryan Heeger / Answers: Owners of Eardrum Buzz, Rutger Kruijer and Arjen Poelhuis

You only sell vinyl. Why did you choose to specialise? 
Records are beautiful and have charm and charisma. They also sound great. The act of putting on a record and listening to it is something nothing can compete with. Digging through vinyl is a lot more fun and organic than downloading or streaming music. Going to a store is also a social thing. You can meet people who share the same interest as you. You can learn and get inspired. You don’t get that via a computer. 

What kind of people does the shop attract?
We have a guy coming in who only buys UK stuff, because he finds the sound quality better than pressings from any other country. There is also an elderly couple who only come in for traditional music from Jordaan, which is the neighbourhood we’re next to. Most people are really into one genre such as soul, funk or hard rock. We’re lucky that the scene here is really good. There are at least 10 independent record shops in the city centre, as well as the bigger chains. 

How do you compete with such healthy competition?
We help people build a collection by putting together a pile of records that are good – but not expensive – as a starting point, with different genres and some classic albums in there. We sell unique handmade vouchers made out of record sleeves you can buy as a present. We like to think the shop is also modestly priced compared to a lot of other stores, and we are always polite and happy to see someone coming in. We opened at the beginning of 2013, after selling records online since 2012. We had a great opportunity that we couldn’t resist: a small but lovely place in one of the best parts of town. 

How has the location helped?
We are near Amsterdam Central Station, and the neighbourhood has many speciality stores, which makes it very attractive for people to shop around here. We are also on a main route towards Amsterdam West from the centre, so there’s always a lot of traffic. A few hundred metres away is Amsterdam’s most beautiful park, The Westerpark. 

So you get a lot of passing trade as well?
Yes – all kinds of people. From those who have been collecting all their lives to tourists who are interested in vinyl. We also share our space with a hair salon. They are upstairs and we are in the basement. So before or after shopping for records it’s possible for our customers to pop up there and get a new look. 

Will file sharing ever put an end to independent record shops?
We believe that people still want to buy music. The demand for CDs and digital downloads seems to have dropped permanently, but there have always been people who collect vinyl, and their numbers are growing. A lot of young people who are just starting out and building their collection are coming in, so the potential is really big.