How Ben Jones turned his love for music into one of the biggest vinyl music stores in Louisville

Stephen Nartey April 11, 2023
Ben Jones/Photo credit: Better Days: Facebook

When Ben Jones decided to set up Better Days Records in Louisville, Kentucky, during the 80s, he did not expect his influence to sweep the art and music industry; he was simply doing something he was passionate about. His whole life has been about singing; when he mastered the craft of handling microphones, he sang at church and any platform that offered him the opportunity. It was clear after high school that his career choice will be something related to music.

Over the years, Ben has become one of the most prominent record owners in the United States, and has been instrumental in preserving the vinyl of African American artists. Better Days Records is known for its vast collection of rare and hard-to-find vinyl records, spanning a variety of musical genres. Jones has always had a passion for music and collecting records, and his collection has grown substantially over the years.

He bought the music store from his friend in 1982, according to Louisville Music News. He started the store with two of his friends while studying music business at Western Kentucky University, and first pitched a tent at Frankfort Avenue in a small space, allowing the business to grow organically. When the music store gained ground, he moved it to Bardstown Road in 1987.

What has made Ben become a colossus in the industry is his eye for excellence and the variables that make him a trendsetter in the business. When bands were barely common in Louisville, he jumped on the wagon and got himself actively involved. He played with the bands, joined the session works, and invested his all to get the music out on the streets. His priority in all of this was to ensure that his music store became instrumental in the history-making event. Ben also listened to his customers and engaged with them to learn about the different genres that excited them.

Today, Better Days Records is one of the leading players when it comes to jazz, rap, hip-hop, straight edge, punk, indie, and techno collections. With time, it has become the one-stop-shop that music lovers patronize because of Ben’s knowledge of record labels and the music industry. Since then, Ben has been instrumental in preserving and promoting the music of African American artists, many of whom have been overlooked by mainstream record labels, and has helped to bring attention to their work – preserving their legacy.

Ben’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, he has received recognition for his work in the music industry, and has been featured in various publications – his records store has become a must-visit destination for music lovers. Today, Better Days Records continues to thrive under Ben’s leadership.

The store remains a hub for music enthusiasts, offering a wide range of vinyl records and other music-related items. Recently, the store revived its Louisville-focused label, which aims to promote the work of local musicians and preserve the city’s musical heritage.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 11, 2023

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