Sonic Boom Music
By Rosemary May Richings

Record Sales In The Digital Age

Jeffrey Barber opened Sonic Boom in 2001. “I never found an area that I care for that much,” Jeff admits, “outside of university I started working at a record store and it went from there. After working in a store for about 10 years, I thought I could do it on my own and I started to save up to do that.”

As Jeff's dream to open his own music store became a reality, CD sales began to decline. Luckily, something unexpected happened; the resurgence of vinyl records compensated for the decline and helped Sonic Boom continue to thrive.

“It’s quite different than downloading an mp3 because it’s a ritual in itself," Jeff explains. “I think that’s part of the allure of why (vinyl) came back. It’s intimidating to a lot of people — to young people — so we’re educating them along the way and watching it grow.”

It’s quite different than downloading an mp3 because it’s a ritual in itself. I think that’s part of the allure of why (vinyl) came back. It’s intimidating to a lot of people — to young people — so we’re educating them along the way and watching it grow. - Jeffrey Barber, owner
Sonic Boom, music store, records, vinyl, DVDs, CDs
Sonic Boom owner Jeffrey Barber

Life In The Indie Record Circuit

Over the years, Sonic Boom has moved three times — from two separate locations in the Bathurst and Bloor area to its current home at Spadina and Queen Street West. The challenge for Jeff has been to find a store big enough to house Sonic Boom’s massive selection of CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray, books and vinyl in Toronto’s expensive, urban landscape while also adapting to the tastes of the new neighbourhood.

"We’re tapping into kind of the same demographic, in a different part of the city," he notes of his new Fashion District location. "We are getting some people that are a little less music-focused, but we are selling more, and have more lifestyle-products to accompany all of the music and movies that we sell. I think that’s doing quite well here.”

Today, the typical Sonic Boom customer ranges from early teens to early 40s. “It’s a lot of college kids and yuppies,” Jeff adds cheerfully.

Sonic Boom strives for a positive community, for both employees and customers. Jeff refers to the store as an "ethically sound business." He clarifies, "It’s about surrounding myself, both personally and business-wise, with good quality people, ethical people, hard working people that know a lot more about certain things than I do and tapping into their knowledge.”

Sonic Boom, music store, records, vinyl, DVDs, CDs

Community Support

Sonic Boom prides itself on both its diverse selection and its support of the local music scene.  In-store concert events are hosted to provide an intimate performance venue for international, local, and national bands. "We also have a very open and aggressive policy towards carrying consignment music for unsigned bands, so we have a very deep selection of that, a lot more so than anybody else,” Jeff notes.

The secret behind Sonic Boom’s infamously expansive music selection is its policy regarding the merchandise that it buys and sells. “Whether it’s new product or it’s used product, we carry every different genre that’s out there,” says Jeff.

Sonic Boom, music store, records, vinyl, DVDs, CDs
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