Music Factory, NYC: A Retrospective

Music Factory

On a recent trip to New York, Fat Lace decided to find the original spot where the legendary Music Factory record store was located, purely for nostalgic reasons might we add. It had been over fifteen years since your editors Dan Large and Drew Huge had last visited the spot before it closed down in 1992 as part of the Times Square redevelopment. Maybe it was our final goodbye before we resign our vinyl collections as shrines to an arguably more enjoyable way of music consumption.

Music Factory was the spot in New York where the infamous Ultimate Breaks and Beats albums shared equal racking next to the hottest hip-hop 12 inches. There were other famous vinyl outlets such as Downstairs Records but Music Factory was the store more famous amongst New York’s hip-hop community. The role of Stanley Platzer, the store’s resident music guru, has been well documented over the years so we asked a couple of hip-hop luminaries to reminisce on the importance both he and the store played:

Aaron Fuchs, Tuff City Records:

“I broke the first Lakim Shabazz record by having it featured on the Music Factory wall. Fat Stanley (Stanley Platzer) was the maven there. An Israeli guy called Mannie was the owner. He was you’re your typical merchant who started selling electrical goods before there was a demand for records. Stanley was the A&R guy. There is an amazing progression of New York street music from mambo of the 40s, RnB in the 50’s, soul and funk in the 70’s and Stanley would traverse it. I’d ask him “Do you have White Christmas by The Ravens” knowing it was unavailable since 1953 but he’d know about it. Music Factory was also responsible for West Coast hip-hop shedding off its old electro sound. In ‘84 there were photos of Stanley with Eazy E. They had come in during the New Music Seminar and shopped there. Stanley hipped those guys to the East Coast sound.”

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Psycho Les, Beatnuts:

“I worked at Music Factory between ’86 and ’88. Stan worked there too. He did the day shift and knew all hip-hop break beats. I’d work behind the counter but also did bag checking and made sure people weren’t stealing. They would also come to me with hip-hop and break beat questions. I remember serving DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, De La Soul, Keith Sweat, Ultramagnetic MC’s and Biz Markie. He had one of the biggest records we ever had in the store ‘Nobody Beats The Biz’. ‘Holy War’ by Divine Force was also huge. Everybody would come because it was in Times Square, all the radio stations were near by so it was the hot spot for DJ’s and MC’s. They gave me a job with no working papers but I was young and knew my music. I was also a DJ, that’s why I got the job there, so I could get discount.”

Shout outs to all the vinyl specialists keeping this thing alive. If you have a favourite spot past or present, shout them out in the comments section.

Click to enlarge the store back in 1990 and what it looks like today…

Music Factory Large Music Factory 2007

Shout out to Mike Lewis for the O.G. Music Factory photo.


29 Responses to "Music Factory, NYC: A Retrospective"
  1. Reply lace da booze December 27, 2007 19:13 pm

    you need to do one on Soho in the mid 90s – Bongo, Handspun, Unity, Wild Pitch etc – good times!

  2. Reply L-SUPREME December 28, 2007 23:51 pm

    I remember around 1981 me and my freinds cut school to go to the music factory to buy Tee ski’s Catch the beat on Grand grove records.The Music Factory was the only place you could go to buy break beat records like ,big beat,rockit in the pocket,Impeach the president and the new records by Boogie Down Productions ,Marly marl and the Juice Crew! When they closed the Music Factory it was the love loss of my life.That is how fly the Music Factory was!

  3. Reply LetItSlide,O! December 29, 2007 06:51 am

    Word Up. Thanks for the insight.
    Like a pre -NWA Eazy E getting schooled in NY 1984 shopping for records.
    Brilliant. I wonder how many times Psycho Les boosted joints from that spot..lol

  4. Reply COOKIEMONSTER December 29, 2007 12:22 pm

    … But after they closed that store in 92, didn’t they re-open another one more downtown, around 19st and broadway??? Cause i remember a really good store there that closed around 1997 or 98. Anybody remind the name of it?

  5. Reply country bumpkin December 30, 2007 10:10 am

    $3.99 for put that record back on! It used to be £4.99 for an import 12″ and £6.99 for a US LP (£5.99 for a UK album) at Bluebird Records in Luton, my old school vinyl paradise!

  6. Reply lowrell December 30, 2007 14:47 pm

    agree with doing a piece on London, Red records, Spin offs, City Sounds, Hitman

  7. Reply charlesII December 31, 2007 10:42 am

    jeah jeah
    also, the original soul jazz.. release the groove but especially bongos.

  8. Reply ghost January 2, 2008 10:56 am

    montclair (a suburb of ny in jersey) had a spot called “crazy rhythms” back in the day. vinyl for days. tapes for days. cds of course. now the space is a sushi spot. oh the agony.

    98.to/grime

  9. Reply Old January 2, 2008 12:02 pm

    Back in the dayo I used to get my vinyl from Boots the chemist. I shit thee not………

  10. Reply brettfromboundless January 10, 2008 00:39 am

    the music factory on forty-deuce wasn’t the only one in NYC. for all the queens head, there was a music factory off of jamaica avenue. right by the coliseum(yeah the one LL talks about.) i started DJing in 10th grade (1988) and music factory(queens) was where ALL of my allowance money went. of course it was a compendium of all the hottest stuff out. 12″s, albums, breakbeats, an occasionally import 12 even. i recall when the real estate value of ‘the wall’(ceiling to floor, with a ledge for overflow) becoming split between hip-hop and the up&coming new jack swing/R&B 12″s into the 90′s. of course there were some releases that you could only get if you knew who to ask. the cat you wanted to respect was Tank. short, stocky cats who was well connected and well-respected. every saturday morning around 12pm i’d ride the Q5 bus from LA Laurelton, Queens to the Ave. to cop Prism, Cold Chillin’ & Tommy Boy joints. and enjoy a beef patty and coco bread on the way back!!

    • Reply Jack November 8, 2011 21:48 pm

      That’s so cool to read, I was the owner

    • Reply Eric May 17, 2012 17:05 pm

      There was also Music Factory stores on Fordham Road in the Bronx, Avenue X in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and, of course, the 2-floor vinyl supermarket version in the Fulton Mall, Brooklyn. I remember all versions of that store as seeming to have an infinite amount of records. They were all huge, but nothing was as big Beat Street Records in the Fulton Mall.

    • Reply Meyer Minyan October 13, 2013 23:32 pm

      That was the best time of my life i was the owner of the jamaica store i saw ll cool j at a grammy party years back he was happy to reminisce i also saw biz ,in florida and flava flav in vegas no one forgets the factory and the jr earthquake speakers we had hooked up to our dj equipment thats were i met all the the best artists everybody was there and i had the best staff my pops loved the store and the people

  11. Reply Classic MC January 22, 2008 17:02 pm

    This was my spot. One of the few record spots that you know you could find that rare, underground, random type rap record. Let’s not forget Mike who worked there behind the counter, he hooked me up many times. When this store closed down, a part of rap music died. The other Music Factory’s were great too, like the one in Jamaica Queens, which later became “Music Dynasty”, but no record store was ever as dope as the Times Square Music Factory. Alot of people who knew of it back in the day dubbed it “The Hip Hop Mecca”. R-I-P

  12. Reply DJ Raous AKA Raul November 19, 2008 00:04 am

    Shouts ! to Jamaica Avenue ( Big Jamaica Queens) it’s funny I bumped into this page, because I worked and managed the store that became Music Dynasty Records(1991 to 1998) after Music Factory closed back in 1991. before I worked there ,I was a customer as well , and My boy Tank ( Mike) always knew his shit
    you could even hum something to him and he would say hold on I got it and before u knew it ,he would slap that record in your hands they always had the joints ! when Maya the owner of Music Factory, Tank and (Walter which was the producer for Da Beatminerz) ( Black Moon) closed the store yes another part off Hip Hop also Died in Jamaica Queens, When My boy Freddy , Fabian , James , and Myself took over , we really did not do much in changing the format of the inside of the store , the only thing that changed was the name to Music Dynasty Records Corp , we kept the same format as the original because we knew about the rep that Music Factory had and when customes that once shopped Music Factory when they came into the store they saw that it was kind of the same even thou the name changed they gave us props as well,we also managed Dynasty Records in the Colosseum (1987 to 2000) Im glad I bumped into this page when I managed the store we did alot of in store signings with Hip Hop artists, I met alot of famous rappers and DJ the list goes like this: Mic geronimo , Irv gotti, Jay Z ,The Whole Wu Tang Clan, Fat Joe , Beatnuts Shouts to Psycho Les, Prince Paul, Mase from De La Soul, Ultramagnetic Mc’s,Total, Miss Jones,Guru from gang Star, K Solo ,LL cool J was a good customer, Xzibit, Common Sence,Lost Boys,Prodigy from Mobb Deep he was my customer before the hit song hit from the back,Kool G Rap nice guy,Group Home,Cash Money Click shouts to Ron Gutta and his cusin mike,Lords of the undergound,Onyx,Run Dmc RIP Jam Master J I had conversation with him a year before passing very nice dude,Organized Konfusion shouts to Prince Po my mix tape customer,Robin S Dance Music artist,Digital Undergound, 50 Cent before he blow up dropped us his first promo rec straight form Jam Masters Jays studio around the block,Ajatolah hip hop music producer came to store all the time,Salt and Pepe,Heltah Skeltah(Ruck and Rock),The Whole Boot Camp Click. Yes I met everybody

    and for the DJ’s : Dj Clue (ernesto) we started this guys career,he owes us big time when everybody was hating on him we took him in, Whoo Kid from shadyville where I grow up, Sha moneyxl, Kool Kid, Mister Cee (big daddy kane’s dj , biggie samlls discovery),absolut,I got no luv for DJ envy , because he shows no respect to his humble beginings clues cousin started his career with us,Ike Love, J love,Spin Bad ..was my customer before blowing up good for him,Irv Gotti was a nice dj dont get it twisted, Boo The Barber, my boy DJ Xtreme AKA DJ ALLDAY the original dj for Dj Clue!, DJ Rello and Jadel , The Twins from queens, DJ Sage, if I forgot u sorry to much to remeber,Peace

  13. Reply Dan Large November 19, 2008 04:52 am

    Thanks for the informative comment Raul – peace….the fat lace crew

  14. Reply Gina January 3, 2009 12:46 pm

    Does anyone remember John Thibeaux, a black guy who used to work in Music Factory during the eighties. He was also DJ some nights a week at Club Midtown 43. John, like Stanley, was very knowledgeable on all types of music. He used to play mostly house music when heDJ in the club. We remained friends for a while but after 1990 I lost touch. I wish I could find him again-I hope he sees this one day!!Does anyone have any informationon him?

  15. Reply DJ Fuze January 16, 2009 14:26 pm

    I used to pay £3.99 for a uk 12″ and £5.99 for an album and $4.99 for an import(usa) 12″ and $7.99 for an album from selectadisc or arcade records in nottingham(uk) back in the day.

  16. Reply Forrest Getemgump October 1, 2009 18:13 pm

    I remember Fat Stan. I was a teenager and would go shopping at the music factory. Me and my homeboy George would stop into the music factory everytime we were in Mid-town. I’d pick Stan’s brain a little here and there but knowing what I know now I would have dug into his brain with a shovel back then. He is definitely a cornerstone in NY hip-hop history and someone who is seldom talked about. After reading this I had no idea he influened the west coast sound but it makes sense because NWA’s first album was all break beats. I remember alot of heads on the east coast were feeling it at first but they did use the grails on the production.

  17. Reply Forrest Getemgump October 1, 2009 18:21 pm

    Shouting out some of the other spots I used to hit. Music Factory, Downstairs Records, Downtown Records,and S.O.S. in the Boogie Down Bronx. Also shout out to my people in Syracuse, NY Ron (wherever you are_ from Soundshack record store and Cole’s Music world. The Record Theatre in Syracuse was cool also. They had the one stop warehouse in the back. The Whole Darn Family!!!!

  18. Reply HATE USE ALL December 27, 2010 21:51 pm

    JIG-A-BOO, TRASH , THATS THE FACT .
    LOUD FAR 2 PROUD FLUNK OUT @ SCHOOL HE B A FOOL!!
    OOO OOOO JIG ,A,BOOOO!

    I B A RYMEN SIMPLE SIMON ,
    U B SKANK DOG UGLY .

  19. Reply Gina January 4, 2012 16:26 pm

    I remember Manny, the owner of Music Factory in the late 80s. I also remember the guy who worked the night shift, from 5 P.M. to closing…but I can’t remember his name. I was friend with John Thibeaux who worked the day shift. I used to pick him up after work and hang around. In those days Times was filled with X-rated shops and street walkers. At night, it was one of the most dangerous areas in NYC!!!

  20. Reply Jared May 18, 2012 21:22 pm

    and we can’t forget rock and soul. it’s still there today in the same spot and still a great spot for crate digging. love that place

  21. Reply tom September 9, 2012 20:01 pm

    Rock and Soul near Penn Station….I thought that was long gone since the early 90′s? Downstairs, Music Factory and Rock and Soul, salsa on 118th St, days spent chasing 45′s…the beat don’t stop!!!

  22. Reply Gina September 27, 2012 10:52 am

    I am putting toogether a photo album of my early days in New York City and the Music Factory record store was one of my favorite spot. Does anyone have some pictures of Music Factory back in the 80s? I would provide my email address. Thank you, it would be really appreciated!

  23. Reply Uri Dalal October 25, 2012 03:21 am

    Yo- my dad owned the Music Factory in Brooklyn – this is BEAUTIFUL! I taxed the picture if you don’t mind. I am looking for the old logo that was on the bag does anyone have a 300dpi scan of that or the store on Kings Hwy or Jamaica or SI- they should all be represented.

    Check this out: http://uritraxx.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/making-music-for-you-but-you-wouldnt-buy-it-for-twenty-years/

  24. Reply Uri Dalal October 25, 2012 03:23 am

    Yo and please feel free to add to this fb community page and spread the word!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Original-Music-Factory-Brooklyn-NY-Making-Music-For-You/174192685937530

  25. Reply Stephanie September 7, 2013 21:50 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I grew up in the store! It was my Dad’s! So many wonderful memories for me and I am so glad that Stanley and the store brought around the same feelings for others.
    Thanks again, you have made my year!

  26. Reply Shakiem March 31, 2014 11:16 am

    This brought back many memories. I went into the joint one time and because I didn’t know the name of the song or the artist, I hummed the song then Fat Stan said you’re looking for The Champ by the Mohawks. He pointed it out and I copped it. Couldn’t wait to get home and play it, I had heard it on so many hip-hop cassettes and finally I had two copies of my own. That was dope! Also picked up this joint from and so many others from there..https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhvS14QCYAAVKft.jpg:large

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