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Book: Vinyl Ventures

Chapter: The Rounder Founders

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41428


Rounder Records was born in 1970, a "hobby that got out of control," a fledging record company more or less conceived while the Sixties were still in flower, which began on just over $1,000. Founded by three friends just out of college, the Boston-area company produced over 3,000 record albums, the most active company of the last half-century specializing in roots music and its contemporary offshoots. Rounder won 56 Grammy Awards and documented a swath of music that in many cases might otherwise never have been presented to a broader public. It's arguably a quintessentially American success story.

This book focuses on the early years up to and just through when Rounder evolved to a second stage, with a generational change that has kept the label healthy and flourishing when so many other cultural enterprises from the era have folded or gone dark. It's the story of three people with no background in business who took an idea and, through hard work and passion, built up something of lasting cultural significance.

Rounder Records: A Biography is less a standard history and more an idiosyncratic memoir written by one of the three Rounder founders. The book includes original photographs taken by the author or drawn from the Rounder archives.

Chapter Contributors

  • Bill Nowlin ( - bnowlin) 'Rounder Records'