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Hardbopjazz

Anyone old enough that remember jazz listening stations?

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Posted (edited)

1950’s listening booths for jazz records. how popular were places like this? Were these booths in just about all record stores?  I’m guessing that the records were not sealed.  
 

 

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Edited by Hardbopjazz

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A local record chain had listening stations in at least two of their stores into the 1970's.  These were not booths but turntables stationed throughout the store.  A healthy selection of much handled vinyl was on hand for listening.  

I did manage to work at a very large record store that played music throughout the store rather than having listening stations.  I innocently asked why no jazz was ever played in the store and was told "because it doesn't sell."  I suggested that playing some might lead to selling some, but I clearly don't understand the business of music.

It seemed to be a difference between "you decide" and we've already decided.

 

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A store called Radio Doctors in Milwaukee had these booths where you could listen to vinyl LPs. Purchases were up to you as I recall, but it's probably 60 years ago.

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When I lived in Barcelona in the mid 60s there were some record stores that had booths. 

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I grew up with listening booths from the late 1950s till at least the end of the 60s.

The photo above was taken in the basement sales floor of HMV Oxford Street, London which, although living in the north of England, I visited occasionally.

There was often conflict with shopkeepers as to how much you could hear before deciding whether to buy. They wanted a sale and often insisted on playing one track only; many punters wanted to assess the record as a whole, as a record costing say £2 took a big chunk out of available cash in those days.

Blue Note's practice of headlining a generally attractive track sometimes with a boogaloo rhythm at the beginning of Side 1 was probably influenced by shopkeepers' playing policies, but of course it could lead to misleading the customer into thinking he was getting a dance record!

Miles Ahead was a good one for defeating shopkeepers, as there's no real break between tracks. ;)

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I remember stores with a turntable and headphones by the register, but not listening stations as pictured.

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I remember those - just the booths, you had to get them to load the vinyl on the deck at the sales desk. Remember doing that with Average White Band ‘Pick Up The Pieces’.

4 hours ago, BillF said:

 

Blue Note's practice of headlining a generally attractive track sometimes with a boogaloo rhythm at the beginning of Side 1 was probably influenced by shopkeepers' playing policies

Tony Williams and Grachan Moncur III obviously not playing off the correct hymn sheet (to their credit).

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Tom in RI said:

I remember stores with a turntable and headphones by the register, but not listening stations as pictured.

That's what I remember from one local (long-established) record store for a while from 1975 (when I started buying and collecting records) onwards. I used it occasionally when in real doubt (and usually did buy afterwards) but it clearly was a dying feature. The other local record shops had no such facilities anymore. And booths had been long (very long) gone by then. When I look at photographs of record listening booths in product folders from local radio/record shops dating back to the 50s and early 60s this was a totally different world and though I visited those shops from the start of my record buying the whole setting was impossible to recognize. They must have changed their entire shop furniture several times over in the meantime.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I used listening booths many times in the 50's and early 60's. LPs were not sealed in those days, most were mono. Typical price for an LP was $3.95 or less for 10-inchers. LPs were produced on heavy vinyl and were fairly resistant to scratches caused by playing prior to purchase. I think the emergence of stereo and sealed LPs and lighter vinyl LPs helped the demise of listening booths. Also in those days if after purchasing an LP you found scratches on it while playing you could return it to the record store for a refund or exchange.

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