Marley’s Music, a “music store for music people” in Biloxi, Mississippi, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. 360°Sound published a feature story on the record store, which sells new and used vinyl, turntables, and CDs, in April 2020. Marley’s Music had the misfortune of opening right as the pandemic was taking off. However, father-and-son owners Joey and Marley Roberts made it work by having customers come in with masks and selling records via online auctions. When we last spoke with them, they were part of a private Facebook auction group. Now, they’re selling records directly from the Marley’s Music Facebook page on Wednesdays and Saturdays every week. We caught up with Marley, 20, to see how their first year in business went.
360°: Congrats on one year! How’d the first year go?
Marley Roberts: When we opened, we wanted it to be a music store for music people. I really feel that we have become that for the area. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve seen a lot of interesting albums, and we’ve met a lot of interesting people. It’s really the people who come in that make the store interesting.
We have regular people who come to the shop that join in on our online auctions on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s definitely become a little group. There are always new people joining in, so that’s always fun. It’s cool seeing all the posters on the wall move throughout the year. We had pictures for when we first opened, and the posters shift. It’s interesting to watch the shop shift visually over the years as new albums keep coming and going.
What are some things you’ve learned about the record business?
I’ve definitely gained an education through this. It’s interesting to think about how we’ve shipped all over the country. We’ve shipped to the UK and Canada. It’s interesting to see how the value of albums can shift as well. There’s all this adapting to the business of albums. The market is very competitive in that most of the time, you’re not the only person selling a particular album.
Sometimes in the shop, we do have some of these rarer items and sometimes we don’t know if there’s a market for that. We’ve had some pretty rare albums in the shop that have sold. I’ve learned a lot about trying to find markets for specific genres or artists. Through the live auctions and having certain regular people in I’ve learned what sort of music they’re into and the music tastes of the area around me. If we don’t have it in the shop, we can find it for them. I try to cater to what people are looking for and what they’re into.
We’ve had two original 1959 mono presses of the Louvin Brothers’ Satan is Real in the shop. Both of those were brought in with different lots. We’ve had several copies of the 1977 Star Wars soundtrack with the poster and all the inserts.
We had some signed things come in as well. There were some Ozzy Osbourne photos with a certificate of authenticity and all that. One person donated a couple of posters. It wasn’t signed, but it was signature stamped on there. It was a promotional poster for the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge. That came with paperwork and was numbered. People bring in really interesting things, and that’s one of my favorite parts of what I do because I never know what’s going to show up.
You posted on Facebook about an older gentleman who found a rare CD that he’d been searching for for years at your store. Have any cool stories similar to that?
We have a friend who comes into the shop who had lost all of his albums in a hurricane. He’s trying to build back his album collection. He wanted to get every Iron Maiden album, but he wanted original presses. We were able to find original presses of all the albums he was looking for over a period of time. Also, we had a sealed copy of Guns ‘N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction with the original cover. We had that in for a day. Somebody had been looking for it. It was something that they had been actively searching for.
There’s an album that this person was looking for, Caress Your Soul, by the band Sticky Fingers. There weren’t any copies in the United States, but we were able to find a copy for them. It was this guy’s favorite album, and he grew up listening to it. I think he had just started collecting records. He was very excited about that.
We had a guy come in who wanted the Helen Reddy song “You’re My Home.” It was on this album called Love Song For Jeffrey, and he wanted it on CD. Every CD that he has bought from us he requires it to be new and sealed. We looked and looked for a new sealed copy and the only CD press of it came out in 1996 and the only sealed copy of that CD was about $400. He only wanted that one song. That was the only way he could get it on CD. We were like, ‘Yeah dude, it’s like 400 bucks.’ He’s like, ‘OK, I want it.’ And he paid for it. So, he bought a $400 Helen Reddy CD for one song.
What can we expect from Marley’s Music in the coming months?
It’s been one year, and it’s been a lot of fun. Here’s to another one. We’re gonna have good deals, good albums, and we’ll continue being the music store for music people. Until we feel it is safe to do so, we still require masks in the store. The mask mandate has been lifted in Mississippi, but we feel it’s still the right thing to do.
We’re probably going to start having more events at the shop soon. For a while, we were having stand-up comedy on Sunday nights. Hopefully, soon we’ll be able to have more events. We’ve had a couple of different bands show interest in playing here. Once it’s safe to do so, we’ll have more live events at the shop. There’s a lot of cool things that will be happening this year and we’re really excited for the year to come.
Marley’s Music can be reached via phone at 228-697-2772, via email at email@example.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @marleysmusicbiloxi.