Beloved California independent record store chain Amoeba Music has launched a GoFundme campaign in an effort to keep its Berkeley, San Francisco and Los Angeles outlets afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The effort to raise $400,000 comes as the 30-year-old chain faces its hardest times to date.
“30 years ago, Amoeba Music founders Dave Prinz and Marc Weinstein had a crazy idea. Let’s open up an independent record store, beholden to no corporate interests, that could become a gathering place for the musical community. A record store that would have an affordable mix of new and used product, that could serve as a trading post where people could bring in any unwanted music or movies for cash or trade,” the owners wrote in a note on the GoFundme pitch. ”
“We have weathered many storms — 9/11, recessions, the Internet, downloading and streaming. But we don’t know that we can weather the COVID-19 storm. All three of our stores have been closed since mid-March and must remain closed indefinitely. With no way to generate income, our savings are running out, with bills and rent coming due, and with a primary commitment to our staff, who we are trying to keep as healthy and financially sound as possible… We know how much we’re all going to need Amoeba again, this oasis of music, where we can find each other once more.”
Prinz and Weinstein said they’re exploring “every possible means of support,” including federal and local grants, though those funds are not guaranteed and they won’t meet the chain’s short-term needs or allow them to take care of their more than 400 staffers. “Listen to Louie and Billie (Holiday or Eilish), Miles and Coltrane, Thundercat and Bootsy, Sabbath and Zeppelin, the Stones and the Beatles, Hank and Patsy, Kanye and Cardi, Otis, Prince, Gram, Django, Amy, Tyler, Sun Ra, John Prine… whoever else moves you. And know we miss you all so much, and long for the day we can all gather again,” they wrote.
At press time the effort has raised nearly $47,000.