Local music connoisseurs, such as Finders Records & Tapes and the BGSU Music Library & Bill Schurk Sound Archives, are home to a few rare items in the music industry.
Greg Halamay, owner of Finders Records & Tapes in downtown Bowling Green feels what makes Finders stand out in the local environment is their size.
“We’re probably one of the largest record stores in the Midwest,” said Halamay. “Just our selection, alone, makes us very unique to the area and the state of Ohio.”
Halamay put the size of the selection into perspective; they have thousands of LPs and CDs in the store, he said.
Others may agree when they see three entire rooms filled wall to wall with bins full of vinyls, CDs, tapes and other retail items pertaining to the music industry.
Aside from their collection, the history of Finders and reason for their selection is considered by others to be extraordinary in itself.
Finders has been open since 1971, and in the 48 years since, Halamay said it “has evolved to what it is today over the experience of knowing our customers, buying for our customers and trying to project what we feel is appropriate for our customers.”
As a result, Finders has surpassed the era of the digital age. Some consider it to be one of the best go-to spots for students and community members to find physical copies of their favorite artist’s work.
While Finders Records & Tapes will continue to serve Northwest Ohio and the Midwest with an individualistic and vast selection of music, the BGSU Music Library also gives students and community members the opportunity to experience an even larger collection of pieces from the music industry.
“One of the special things about our collection is we have a lot of rare and unique things that are (from) artists you wouldn’t know and a lot of things that were pressed locally,” David Lewis, sound archivist for the Music Library, said.
Lewis also shared details about items such as colored vinyls and shaped discs he considers to be unique. For instance, there is a purple, heart-shaped vinyl record in the archives by Suicidal Tendencies, which was released in 1993. They also have records shaped like bats, pumpkins and other geometric shapes.
On the other hand, some believe the archives represent a more diverse sector of the music industry. Music industry instructor Justin Johnston said the archives have items for those who might be interested in less popular music.
“(The collection) definitely speaks to the group of people who enjoy music that’s off the beaten path and not mainstream,” Johnston said.
Aside from different colored and shaped records, the archives have a large collection for visitors to explore. Lewis claimed the archives have nearly a million recordings ranging from different types of physical discs to digital pieces.
In the past, records and albums had more to it than just the music itself. Included in the packaging were history, stories and details about the artists releasing the music.
“Part of what we’re doing here is trying to document, as well as we can, recorded pop music,” Lewis said. “Some of these recordings are things scholars of this music, historians, or people involved really value, either for what is on the disc’s sound or what’s on the liner notes, like cover art or bios of bands, that would otherwise be gone.”
The archives give historians a place to relive the evolutions of music throughout time.
“The music industry isn’t always great at looking back,” Johnston said. “Refusing to look at history of the music industry fails us to learn the lessons of history.”
However, the archives “helps us learn about the music of the past and how we got here,” Johnston said.
While the legends and tales of the music industry span across the entire world, Bowling Green is home to some of the widest variety of music and unique items in the area, according to many in the industry.