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Cheapo Records to Close

Black Friday comes early for one Austin record store

By Raoul Hernandez, 2:17PM, Tue. Nov. 20, 2012

Tokyo Sex Destruction performs at Cheapo's 11th Anniversary celebration during SXSW 2009
Tokyo Sex Destruction performs at Cheapo's 11th Anniversary celebration during SXSW 2009
photo by Aubrey Edwards

Reached minutes after his 11am press release this morning announcing the close of Cheapo Records, owner Jason Shields sounded resigned – sad. “I really don't know how to do anything other than sell music,” he lamented. The music emporium, which opened on St. Patrick's Day 1998, will hold regular business hours through Christmas Eve, its last day.

Cheapo will be the second local record store to close this year after Encore Records announced its demise in January. Encore's prolonged closing over the spring months now has the beginnings of what one hopes becomes a happy ending in that it's reopened on East Sixth Street near the ND at 501 Studios, with an emphasis on that which might keep album sales from going the way of the Triceratops: vinyl.

In fact, Cheapo's Shields, who once owned Under the Sun Vintage on Burnet Road, admitted he'd love another shot at the vinyl trade and “opening a record store/vintage shop, [but] I can't really see myself doing that.” Shields knows about diminished media, having owned and operated in the Nineties both a local magazine Texas Jamboree, and a record label of the same name – home to recently deceased rocker Nick Curran’s first two solo discs.

Shields promises a plethora of in-stores and closing sales at his familiar Lamar storefront, but it's hard to ignore the handwriting on the wall. Not a decade ago, the Austin landscape of local record stores was radically different.

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