If you’ve been to Crosstown Concourse in Midtown lately, you may have seen the Memphis Listening Lab.
The unique library is bringing music lovers together, but it’s the story behind the music that you need to hear.
“You can touch stuff, you can play it and enjoy it. It’s pretty incredible,” said Jim Cole, the official archivist.
He takes care of the collection that was donated by John King. King is a longtime Memphis music promoter.
“He wrote a radio programming guide for many years. As a writer, record labels would send him promo things in hopes that he’d review it. He was just one of the people that kept everything,” said Cole.
There are about 30,000 45rpm singles, 10,000 LPs, 20,000 CDs, and more than 1,000 pieces of musical history, according to Cole. The collection started in the 1950s.
“He was actively looking to donate his collection and this place was getting off the ground. They came together and it just worked out perfect. It would’ve taken a long time to build anything like this from scratch,” said Cole.
Now, people are able to take the music right off the shelf and listen to it in a state of the art sound room. There is also a recording studio. On an even better note, it’s a non-profit so it is all free.
“This is just another amenity or option for people that’s not out there. There are recording studios, there are educational places, but a listening library like this is kinda unusual,” said Cole.
Cole said it took about two and half years to get the idea off the ground, but now the lab is thriving.