Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, a nickname adopted in 1991, which might have something to do with the City Council wanting to attract tourists to the city. Some say it got the moniker for having the most live music venues per capita in the US. Whatever the reason may be, we can’t deny the city’s connection to music and perhaps the prime example of that are the considerable record stores scattered across Austin.
Record shops hold an irreplaceable charm that captivates music enthusiasts and collectors alike. Stepping into a record store is like entering a treasure trove of sonic delights, where the past and present coexist in perfect harmony. To help you find some of the funkiest spots to get your vinyl, we’ve come up with a list of record stores in Austin that will definitely light your fire!
1. BLK Vinyl
Located on the historic 6th Street in Austin, and boasting a huge black and white mural of a cat DJ, is a stellar record shop founded by three friends, Brookbank, Lough and Kuntz, who were seeking to reduce the weight of their record bins at home. They decided to create a space to showcase and sell those records, which would eventually house thousands of plastic discs.
Although the shop opened in 2018, the atmosphere is enveloped in nostalgia. BLK specializes in used and collectible records of 60s and 70s pop, psych, garage and prog, but you can also find 50s and 60s jazz and 60s and 70s soul. Besides being a hotspot for anything vinyl, the record store also offers guitar lessons to students of all skill levels. Another reason to go check them out.
🎵 2505 E 6th St
2. Waterloo Records and Video
Open from 10am to 9pm daily, the iconic Waterloo Records has been selling and trading used vinyl and new releases since 1982. With a proud 6,400 square feet space, it is the city’s largest music store AND it’s been awarded 39 consecutive Austin Music Awards. It’s understandable why so many artists like to schedule in-store performances at Waterloo.
As you set foot in the store, there are rows upon rows of vinyl records and their colorful album covers beckoning exploration, from Donna Summer and Howlin’ Wolf to Daft Punk and Wu-Tang Clan. It doesn’t end there. For those of you that also want to find a good read or movie while at it, there’s also a large book and film section, centering on everything music.
🎵 600 N Lamar Blvd
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3. Antone’s Record Shop
Situated just north of the UT campus, Antone’s is another local favorite that has a long and fascinating history with the community. It was founded in 1987 by Austin legend Clifford Antone, who had a passion for blues music. Nowadays, the shop prides itself in primarily promoting Texas and blues artists, hosting various events and gigs on the regular. However, Antone’s also offers used records including LPs, 45s, 78s, and CDs of a wide range of genres like RnB, soul, funk, Cajun and Zydeco.
🎵 2928 Guadalupe St
4. Love Wheel Records
Love Wheel Records is a charming record store with yellow-painted walls selling new and used vinyl LPs, along with a selection of vinyl 45s, CDs, books and other music-related items, curated by its competent staff members. It’s not just a retail space, it’s a cultural hub that celebrates the art of music and fosters a sense of community among like-minded people.
Love Wheel is a music lover’s candy land, displaying a varied collection of blues, folk, soul and country, as well as all forms of rock and jazz, soundtracks and avant-garde. Keep an eye out for their socials, because they highlight different artists and music throughout the week.
🎵 2105 Justin Ln Suite 116
5. End Of An Ear
Originally opened in 2005, the record store currently finds itself on Clawson Road. The exterior looks like it’s jumped out of an Americana movie. Inside, you’ll find everything from Aaliyah vinyl records and For Tet CDs to movie posters, tote bags and T-shirts.
In a world dominated by digital streaming, End Of An Ear has managed to house a pretty extensive and eclectic collection of rare, exclusive and passed over LPs, comprising genres like new age, experimental, folk, dark wave, Latin jazz, funk and everything in between. Make sure to stop by and get a more authentic and immersive music experience.
🎵 4304 Clawson Rd
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6. Breakaway Records
For many Austinites, Breakaway Records is not only their record shop of choice, it is also a go-to spot for musical equipment and gears. This includes a substantial selection of turntables, receivers, adapters, speakers, and more. While you can browse music online either on their site or on their Discodogs page, you will only find the staff’s newest and favorite picks at the shop for in-store purchase.
We recommend visiting the shop and going through the large and curated selections of vinyl LPs and 45s with music from the 1920s onwards to get that real first-hand experience. When in doubt, ask the knowledgeable staff for personalized recommendations based on your individual tastes and interests. This curated experience adds a sense of discovery and serendipity, making the process of finding new music more exciting and rewarding.
🎵 211 W N Loop Blvd
7. Piranha Records
Don’t worry, they “don’t bite”! Located in Round Rock, Piranha Records is an independent record store offering a huge array of vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, clothing and incense since its inauguration in 2003. Any real rap and hip hop fan in the Austin-metro area will tell you that Piranha is a hip hop mecca. They specialize in local rap and Down-South apparel.
The owner of the store, John Alemon, has built a space where people can get a hands-on experience and connect with the community. Additionally, Austin collectors out there can acquire exclusive records with unique artwork and limited availability, enhancing their collection with more cherished pieces of music history.
🎵 1208 N Interstate Hwy 35 Suite 200, Round Rock