Founded in 2001 by Detroit native and guitar prodigy Jack White, Third Man Records established its first location in Nashville Tennessee on March 11, 2009. In a once seedy part of Nashville on 623 7th Avenue South there sits an almost obscure, renovated warehouse that is the home to the Independent label “Third Man Records”. Third Man Records is home to a stellar, hand-picked artist line up that ranges from the internationally known White Stripes to Conan O’Brien to Rockabilly Royalty Wanda Jackson. Third Man Records also serves as a record store, complete production office, recording studio, rehearsal stage, darkroom, photography studio and a distribution center.
Upon arrival and only after ringing a door bell was I allowed into the facility to shop for merchandise. After entering the 400 square foot record store; I realized that it was as if kitsch and voodoo had given birth to this beautiful antiquated rock-n-roll haven. Chock full of memorabilia that proves Jack White has indeed traveled the road of rock with integrity and grace. It also possesses plenty of 7 and 12 inch vinyl that would satisfy the appetite of any vinyl-seeking junkie. United Record Pressing Inc., a Nashville institution that dates back to 1962, manufactures all vinyl in house only after being produced and overseen by Jack White himself. And because Jack White coined the slogan, “Your turntable is not dead”, it’s only fitting that the slogan is indicative to the products sold and services provided to you via Third Man Records. If you find yourself buying vinyl only to remember you don’t have a turntable or headphones, well that option is available to you as well. In an era full of digital downloads, the label’s main priority is tangible product which is more than apparent once you’ve perused the selection. And while the music industry struggles to stay afloat, Third Man Records is successfully doing the opposite by selling collectable vinyl and other music-related artifacts that appeal to people looking for tangible products to listen to and own all while enjoying a specific experience.
On the opposite side of the building is “The Blue Room” which has become one of Nashville’s preferred live venues that can house up to 300 people. The Blue Room has hosted exclusive performances by Conan O’Brien, Cold War Kids, and The Dead Weather to name a few. If you’re lucky enough to snag tickets to a performance held in the Blue Room; Third Man Records makes it well worth your time and money. Performances held at Third Man Records also have the ability to go “direct to eight-track,” which means people who attend the show are eligible for a limited edition, black and blue, split color vinyl of the show.
It’s no secret that Jack White has a worldwide following and is highly regarded for his taste in music. With notable opinions and innovative ideas Third Man Records has become a successful addition to the city of Nashville. The beauty of Third Man Records is that you don’t have to live in Nashville to benefit from the labels many perks. Jack White’s Third Man offers a social network and subscription service called “The Vault”. The Vault is a two-tiered subscription service that allows members access to presales, exclusive content, and merchandise for bands that are on the label. The allure of Third Man Records doesn’t stop in Nashville or at the Vault. Debuting in Austin at SXSW on March 16-20 is Jack’s latest innovation “The Third Man Rolling Record Store”. The store on wheels will offer a variety of limited edition Third Man vinyl, t-shirts, tote bags, and other enticing merchandise for festival lovers abound. The label on wheels will also feature two turntables and a microphone so guest DJs can spin records inside the store. The Third Man Rolling Record Store will be traveling to various shows and festivals throughout the summer.
Jack White’s Third Man Records was ranked one of the top ten most innovative companies in the music business by Fast Company Magazine. Accolades added to an immense passion for music and the desire to keep vinyl alive; Jack White and Third Man Records’ powerful artists are single handedly converting MP3 lovers to vinyl collectors on a daily basis, making Third Man Records an independent label to be reckoned with.
“A recent study shows that 97% of high school aged kids have never been to a stand-alone record store”.
Artists: The Dead Weather, The White Stripes (currently broken up), The Raconteurs, Karen Elson, The Greenhornes, Wanda Jackson, Whirlwind Heat, Conan O’ Brien, Jon Wayne, Mildred and the Mice, Rachelle Garniez, Dex Romweber Duo, Dan Sartain, Transit, Carl Sagan, Smoke Fairies, BP Fallon, The Black Belles, Laura Marling, Nobunny, Secret Sisters, Pujol, and Drakka Sauna.