Vinyl is here to stay. Factories and stores surrounding vinyl production are popping up everywhere, thriving in the industry that has otherwise transitioned to a digital era. If the revival of vinyl has been so surprisingly successful, what does that mean for vinyl’s less popular cousin, cassette tapes? Or forget about cassettes – remember CDs? Yeah, it’s been a while.
Enter, Top Ten Records of Dallas. Located on West Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff, it’s got the token old school cool vibe that only record stores have, packed with faded album covers and overflowing with music from local artists.
Right now, it’s stocked with a collection of heavy metal, gospel and Tejano. It seems to follow the genre trends well. It’s every music junkie’s dream except… plot twist: Top Ten Records specializes in CDs and cassettes. That’s right – it stuck true to its roots, and seems to eschew the profits of stores completely dedicated to selling vinyl.
Top Ten Records has a notoriety not only for its music, but also for its history. It’s one of the only storefronts that has stayed the same since 1956, and is infamous as the location of the last place Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was seen before he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who had killed President John F. Kennedy only hours earlier the same day. It’s a trip back in time to say the least.
Unfortunately, owner Mike Polk struggles to keep the doors open, as CDs and cassettes just don’t seem to have the same interest as vinyl. He’s debated selling the store, but struggles with the idea of parting with the store, which is where neighbor Barak Epstein comes in to play. Epstein, president of Aviation Cinemas, who operates the theatre down the block, proposed a way to preserve this gem of history forever – as a non-profit, physical music library.
The transition which, if funded, will “convert the store into a non-profit, community-run record store and a media archive.” The store would operate as a permanent library of sorts; community members would be able to rent CDs or cassettes, and would also be available in an online database. The music library would partner with Southern Methodist University’s G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, which is a resource for the Meadow School of the Arts.
The library would continue to focus on local color in the music industry, and house some of Texas’ up and coming artists, as well as the oldies.
The store will also somewhat lean into contemporary trends. It has promised to bolster its sale and rent of new and used vinyl, and have videos for rent additionally.
In order for to revamp the media archive, Epstein and Polk have launched an Indiegogo campaign with a goal of $40,000 dollars to finish the transition and relaunch by April. To donate, click here.