"Back when records ruled the world, DC artists had a problem, because we do our own things here. Even when we were lucky enough to have records made, no one could figure out what shelf in the store to put them on. To me, it seemed like a no-brainer back then: just give them their own shelf! Well, that didn’t happen, but we’re still here, and still doing our own things. So now I’m going to go one better, and give them their own store."

A City In Music

As the #DontMuteDC uprising has most recently made plain, civic and cultural pride and consciousness in the nation’s capital is very much bound up with the city's musical life and history.

The movement was etched in the city’s civic life—to go along with other markers like Marvin Gaye Park, Chuck Brown Way, and the Duke Ellington School (and bridge)—when a local law was passed recognizing Go-Go as the city’s “official music”.

Meanwhile, like so many parts of DC, the Capitol Hill I grew up in has become a neighborhood that has "everything", but feels like it’s lost something.   One thing I can give it back is a record store. It seemed like there used to be one on every block, but the last one closed about 25 years ago.

So, this here web shop is just a humble beginning, but it still provides an opportunity to follow the lead of some of the world's great independent record stores.

A Real Record Store with Personal Service

A large number of record stores online are just bots that relay orders to distributors, who may or may not have what you’ve paid for.  Everything listed for sale on this site is here on the premises, ready to be picked, inspected, and delivered or shipped out.

And while there’s no substitute for an attentive shop-keeper, the products listed here have accurate photos, easy-to-use music & video previews, and detailed descriptions—so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. And if you still have questions or need help, just contact us.

Not a second-hand shop

There are a million excellent used record stores already, including some right here in DC. Beyond that, especially with local music, it’s important that creators get some benefit (however modest) from sales of new, legitimate editions of their music. So that is Spin Time Records’ lane. There are a handful of used and rare records on the site, but in most cases that was simply the only way to get those titles.

Specialized and curated

The great record shops in the world—with a few exceptions—are specialty shops. While my lifelong interest is reggae music—and you will find a lot of that here—this store’s specialty is Washington, DC. All genres and eras are represented, and within that I try to bring in selections and editions that hold up over time.

A civic resource

I want this to be a resource for locals, visitors, and people around the world to dive into the city’s musical life. You can look, listen, and read about this dimension of local history, and the links in the chains between artists, scenes, and eras. You might give a local artist you’ve never heard of a spin, or discover a connection to DC in an artist you already knew.

And you are guaranteed to find some good music.

Jon Lottman
Spin Time Records and Capitolites