Discogs is the unofficial home to all things music. The site is a crowd-sourced and comprehensive resource for information and discourse on artist discographies, from commercial to bootleg releases. With Record Store Day adjusting to life amid the pandemic, users are flocking to the site to decide which exclusive vinyls they should pick up. That’s where one Discogs user came in. Inspired by Okayplayer’s shortlist of Black-owned record stores, one Discogs user has begun rounding up an growing catalog of Black-owned record stores to support.
As the #ShowMustBePaused industry blackout took place in June, Discogs user Ben Kessler decided to lean on the community to form an encyclopedia of Black-owned record stores. Speaking to Discogs about the project, Kessler said as the national conversation focused on Black voices, he wanted people to be aware of these independent record stores: “I thought it made the most sense to stand in solidarity with Black record store owners in this small way. Nobody should expect something in return for his or her support of what is right, but if someone was going to buy a record anyway, wouldn’t it make the most sense to buy it from someone who is already competing on the wrong end of an uneven playing field?”
Kessler continued that he sees vinyl-heads as a largely white group, but recognizes many of those buying vinyls focus on music from Black artists:
“I don’t think one has to be collecting records for particularly long to realize we are a largely homogeneous group. I’m 35 and have been buying records since I was around 12 or 13. White men are the vast majority of folks in record stores on both sides of the counter. This is despite the fact that we are often buying recordings created by Black artists or by people who owe, to say the last, a debt of gratitude to Black creators. All parts of the music supply chain should be representative of the people who make the music.”
At the time of publication, Kessler’s list boasts 29 entries, but he hopes the list will continue to grow with the help of the music community.
Check out and contribute to the list here.