NEW YORK (WPIX) – Tower Records, a once ubiquitous music retailer, reopened in New York City on Friday under a new name. Tower Labs, as its called, is the first “new Tower Records location” to open in the United States in 16 years, according to a representative for Tower Records. But calling it a “new” Tower Records location might be a tad misleading, as it bears little resemblance to the massive Tower Records retail outlets that peppered the country decades ago.
The location also won’t be open to the public, other than at specific, pre-designated times. The new space, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is instead designed for live events and listening parties, and will serve as a recording space for a podcast, a representative tells Nexstar. There will, however, be a “speakeasy style release window” on the side of the space for “limited edition music and merchandise drops,” the rep said.
Fans who wish to purchase albums or merchandise will be informed of the time and date of these “drops” via social media or the Tower Records website. Photos shared with Nexstar show that the location looks little like the Tower Records of yesteryear, but more of a lounge with small performance and recording spaces.
Tower Labs also intends on hosting performers or bands after their shows at nearby Brooklyn venues, allowing the artists to “host personal gatherings with their community, similar to a backstage experience.” Fans may also be able to attend some of these early intimate events for free, though future admission may be contingent “on a physical purchase of vinyl or merch available on-site in Brooklyn, or in advance at TowerRecords.com,” reads a statement shared with Nexstar.
The representative did not disclose whether Tower Records had plans to open additional locations in the near future. Tower Records, founded in 1960, at one point had more than 200 locations in 18 countries before declaring bankruptcy and selling off its assets in 2006. TowerRecords.com, the brand’s current online retail site, has operated since 2020.