Music Millenium is fifty years old. Fifty. This is absolutely incredible. Not only are record stores a dying breed, but for any small goods business to stay open fifty years is absolutely astounding. This Portland, Oregon mainstay is filled with memories, music and the sweet must of vinyl.
I remember as a kid that Weezer played an acoustic show at Music Millenium. Weezer. At my hometown record store.
I would go as a teenager, right as 94.7 KNRK was in it’s heyday and flip through the alphabetically arranged records and CDs. Wall to wall. Packed with glorious sounds that I loved and would discover. I remember that I would walk out with ten records for $20. It was a hall, paid for by my McDonald’s salary.
The walls were lined with flyers and posters from local shows at now defunct venues like the Satyricon and the Ash Street Saloon. It’s a walk down memory lane. Local bands like Pond and Heatmiser, Skiploader, Hazel and Crackerbash all played shows here. All had their wares and posters here. Still do. I can walk in today and see those memories. You can hear the music. You can thumb through the racks and find the music.
MP3s are great and convenient. They don’t scratch or skip. They don’t take up shelf space. But, there’s something about holding an actual record or compact disc in your hand. The art work, the liner notes, the feel. The tangibility of it. I still have boxes and boxes of CD’s stored at my mom’s house. They’re mostly all converted to digital format, but I can’t part with them.
Plus, the music just sounds better. More alive, more real, more soul. It’s the way that music was meant to be played and listened to and consumed. Music Millenium captures that. That moment in time, that snippet of history that’s fading into oblivion. Will the next generation even know the joy of flipping through a record rack and discovering new music? Maybe even just picking it out based on the cover art? Not through Spotify making suggestions, but through your own nimble fingers. There’s nothing like it.
Oh, and in true Portland retro weirdness, according to owner Terry Currier, Music Millenium sold 893 cassettes last year. Yes, Cassettes.
Music Millennium is a Portland staple. As Portland as beer, coffee, and Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Here’s to another fifty years!
Music Millenium is located at 3158 E Burnside in Portland, Oregon.