Counter Intelligence

Academy Records

60 minsFirst aired 18 May 2018
Courtesy of Mike Davis

Globe-spanning psych, deepest dub and many stops in between: Owner Mike Davis tells the story of one of New York’s key hubs for used vinyl.

Many years back, a bike messenger named Mike Davis used to break up his days by browsing through Academy Records on West 18th Street in Manhattan. Before long he was working there, and eventually he became a partner, launching a vinyl-only wing of the business with branches in Manhattan’s East Village and across the river in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Davis says Academy Records is now New York’s biggest used-vinyl seller, and its East Village and Brooklyn shops (the latter is now in Greenpoint) are necessary stops on any digger’s Gotham itinerary. You can stroll out of Academy with everything from the Led Zeppelin catalog to obscure South American and African psych – relics of the big (and sometimes fairly bold) collections Davis buys overseas. It’s been quite a musical journey, and here he tells the story of how running the shop has led him down some unexpected paths and helped forge lasting relationships with the artists whose music lines Academy’s walls.


Interview by Jordan Rothlein
Produced by Jeff Mao and Jordan Rothlein
Engineered by Tobias Jansen

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