Remembering The Coolest Job Ever

Last month (May 2013) I was in Edmonton celebrating a 20 year Record Store Reunion. Before I became a Real Estate Consultant many years before I worked in the Music and Film Industry. It all started when I got a job in a record store while I was still in high school. I worked there during the evenings and on the weekends and before I knew it I was a running the music department in a busy entertainment shop.

I was then hired to work for one of largest record stores in North America at the time. It was a 6500 sqft Sam the Record Man in West Edmonton Mall. I was in Rock n’ Roll heaven. I eventually went on to be the youngest manager running one of the largest stores in the country. At age 20 my first year as the manager my store did over 4 million dollars in record sales. Our store was instrumental in breaking artist at the retail level. Our unit sales were weighted so heavily that Billboard magazine in the US and other publications would call us regularly to get our top 30 sellers chart to publish.

We worked hand in hand with all the Record companies to create exciting promotions, contests and sales campaigns. I was organizing in store meet and greets and live performances with big name artists at the time which would attract thousands of fans to the store to catch a glimpse or get an autograph.

I was always invited to concerts and special events by the record companies and had the pleasure of meeting and or working with AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, David Bowie, Guns & Roses, Janet Jackson, KD Lang, Lenny Kravitz, Ozzy Osborne, Pink Floyd, Tina Turner and many many more.

It wasn’t all partying and debauchery, I learned valuable life and business lessons from one of Canada’s great Entrepreneurs, the late Sam Sniderman. He always told me “Son don’t be afraid to try things, I would rather you do something than sit and do nothing. If you make a mistake learn, grow from it and don’t make that mistake again”.

We created one of the first stores in the country to sell movies on VHS tape. Everyone thought we were crazy at the time as you really only could rent movies back then. It was a huge success and really transformed the industry as we know it.

When I turned 25 I felt I had outgrown Edmonton and asked to be transferred to Vancouver where I have lived ever since. I was the General Manager for the 5 storey flagship Sam the Record Man Megastore in Vancouver for a few years before leaving to start my own record company called Indieland Music Services.

Indieland Music Service was a grass roots company that focused on the local music talents in Vancouver and Canada. We were a full service company that helped new bands with design, production, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales. The feather in our cap was signing a distribution deal with Michael Buble for his first indie album. It sold extremely well and gave us great credibility and helped launch Michael’s career. Indieland was taken public and around the time Koch Entertainment (now eOne) headhunted me to do Sales & Marketing for them in BC. They are the largest independent Music and Movie Company in North America. I gained great experience negotiating terms with suppliers and creating exciting promotion and marketing initiatives for national retailers. We took The Prodigy to triple platinum in Canada and also had huge success with Pokemon, WWE, UFC, our yoga line Gaiam and the hundreds of music artists we represented. Hanging out WWE stars like The Rock, Mick Foley and The Edge was pretty cool.

Looking back over the years and remembering the great times and close friends I made working at the record store is very comforting. We were family and had such a strong bond. Seeing everyone last month, many for the first time in over 20 years was so great. Some people hadn’t changed much, other had. But it didn’t matter because once we started to reminisce about the old days we all felt young and crazy again. It really was the coolest job ever.









Aerosmith Circa 1990 (Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Gino Pezzani)

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