Celebrating Rainbow45, the Turkish record shop keeping the prog scene alive

A picture of inside Rainbow45

From a hobby to a successful business; that’s the story of Rainbow45 in a just a few words. But in an era when record shops are struggling, this one located in Turkey stands out as a triumph.

“I worked in an office for 15 years,” says Salih Karagöz. “My passion, though, was collecting vinyl. Then, in 2011 I quit my job and decided to start my own record store!”

While this might seem like a crazy idea, Karagöz made the decision to use his personal horde of more than 2,000 albums to get the business off the ground.

“It was a risk,” he admits now. “But, the shop, which is in Istanbul, is very well known and is now doing well.”

However, this wasn’t the end of Karagöz’s dreams. Three years ago, he brought his cousin Afşin Akin into the business. He had music business experience at EMI and PolyGram, as well as running his own label, Aura Records, and the pair made the jump from selling music to setting up Rainbow45 as a label.

“Our first signing was a Turkish progressive band called Nemrud. They were on a label called Musea in France and we negotiated to get the licence to press up 1,000 copies of their album Ritual to sell in Turkey.”

This proved successful enough for the intrepid Turkish pair to diversify. Not only have they licensed vinyl reissues of albums from the 1970s to the local market, but they’re now signing up active bands as well.

“Currently, we’re working with Asia Minor, who were a French progressive band around in the 1970s. They actually had two Turkish members and when they reformed a few years ago, we did a deal with them. They’re now working on a new album.”

The company presently releases albums in all formats. Yet while this part of the business is flourishing, what they lack is a UK distribution deal to spread their artists further.

“We would like to have a company represent us there,” says Karagöz. “However, it’s difficult to get interest but we’re hopeful.”

For more, visit rainbow45records.com.