New Beacon Hill record store seeks to enhance, diversify Boston music scene


Sundararaman Rengarajan

Customers look through records at Music Research Library in Beacon Hill. Co-founders Kochura and Warf relocated the store to Boston after operating for seven years in Providence.

Alexis Algazy, news staff

After four decades without a new record store in Beacon Hill, Music Research Library is bringing a curated collection to the neighborhood. 

Vasyl Kochura and Zachary Warf, the co-owners of Music Research Library, first opened the store in 2016 in Providence. Seven years later, the owners shut down their Rhode Island storefront and opened their doors in Boston March 1.

Beacon Hill … is kind of having some sort of a renaissance. There’s a lot of focus on kind of rejuvenating the area with a lot of art and small businesses,” Kochura said. 

Music Research Library gets its name from its offerings of library music, a genre that describes background music used for commercials or media projects, most utilized in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The store also features a variety of jazz, hip hop, progressive rock and funk, as well as vinyl collected during the owners’ travels.

Dozens of records line the walls of Music Research Library. The shop was the first Beacon Hill record store to open in over 40 years. (Sundararaman Rengarajan)

The co-owners travel to experience different cultures, and while abroad they collect new records for their collection.

Kochura’s next trip is to Japan, and upon his return from the trip, Music Research Library is bound to have even more unique records.

The owners have a carefully curated collection, often composed of obscure records customers may be unfamiliar with. To encourage their customers to explore new music and records, they implemented a listening station.

“We kind of pride ourselves on having a listening station,” Kochura said. “Any record in the store you can take and listen to it, before you buy it. So even if you don’t know what it is, maybe it catches your eye, you can take it and get a sample of it and see what it sounds like.”

The store has two listening stations, each with a turntable and headphones. Customers are able to place any records of interest on the turntables to listen prior to purchase. 

“It’s cool that you can test out the vinyl before buying them,” said Annette Gildshtein, a Newton resident.

Two listening stations sit on a counter in Music Research Library. The ability to listen to records before purchasing them has allowed customers to explore and experience new music. (Sundararaman Rengarajan)

Gildshtein had recently purchased a Duran Duran vinyl from Music Research Library that she would never have bought without access to the listening station.

“We envisioned the upgrade. We wanted to bring an atmosphere that’s more than just music,” Warf said.

To create this atmosphere, the store features inviting design elements like elaborate plants and color-coded vinyl covers as wall decor. The owners play music to immerse customers — fitting for a record store. 

The main challenge Kochura and Warf faced during their transition to Beacon Hill was the cost of the area. 

“Beacon Hill is notoriously expensive, and that’s another big risk that we were facing when we were looking at this place,” Kochura said. The owners were confident in their customer base from their time in Providence and “knew that [they] would be getting a lot more foot traffic here,” he said. 

Music Research Library’s first few weeks in Beacon Hill have brought new listeners into the shop, some hardcore record-lovers and others who simply stumbled upon the store. 

“Records in general have been on a resurgence in the past decade or so,” Kochura said. “People are excited.”

Kochura and Warf stand in their Beacon Hill store. Their new location opened March 1. (Sundararaman Rengarajan)