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Music and the Creative Spirit

Terry Currier: A Coalition for Music Freedom

By Published: December 11, 2009
AAJ: And of course there is the Portland Jazz Festival that I believe you have supported.

TC: Yes, we have been a supporter of the Jazz Festival for the last few years which has turned into one of the major jazz festivals in the country. And we have always tried to be there to support at the very beginning of any new music related concept and give as much support as we possibly can so that it can become a reality. But in many cases, we are there at the beginning but we kind of move behind the scene as it becomes more popular and sponsorship money comes at a higher price. We get priced out of being that title sponsor but that's OK.

We were also the title sponsor for the North by Northwest Music Festival, which turned into Music Fest Northwest, and we have been involved with it ever since. We still contribute and I serve on the board of directors but I think you see that with a lot of record stores around the country. They get really involved in the music community.

We have always felt that the community supports us so we need to support the community. It's a little more difficult for us now, but when independent record stores were doing really well, it was a lot easier for us to give back both in money and time.

I might also mention that musicians have also shown their appreciation towards what record stores have meant to them. At the Rasputin music store in Berkeley, Metallica came out and did a record store signing on record store day, just to support the store. Metallica didn't need to do anything but they wanted to support the store.

Pearl Jam also recorded a live CD at Easy Street Records in Seattle and the CD was distributed at only independent record stores around the country. They believe in the importance of independent record stores and the West Seattle Easy Street record store was the record store that they all grew up around. That was their hang out and that was their record store. And even though they have made it to the big time, they haven't forgotten.

Record store owners are independent thinkers and we have enough common ground that we were able start the coalition but we clearly run our stores the way we think we should. And most of the store owners probably couldn't work for somebody else anyway (laughs); they are too opinionated (laughs).

There are so many frustrations that we have to go through working in our industry, but it's the music that is there; it's the stuff that makes me want to go to work everyday. To find the new music and turn the customers on to the new music, and that's what really drives me.

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