EAR/Rational Music was born in 1992. We’ve been around since before the web, really. The site owes its existence, in large part, to Rob Vaughn, a fellow nm-list member, who, in 1991, was having difficulty locating some Delerium CDs. I was living in Santa Barbara at the time, and knew my local shop (Morninglory Music–RIP) stocked them, so as a fellow music lover, I bought them and shipped them to Rob. After doing that, it occurred to me that providing music for folks who were having a difficult time finding it was a worthwhile pursuit, so in 1992, EAR/Rational Music was born.
Those were the days of 14.4k modems and dumb terminals and the “shop” consisted of a makeshift desk (a hollow interior door), a bunch of CDs in piles on top of that door, and a terminal and modem. Orders arrived via email. Invoices were literally written up in a receipt book. For years, checks were the only method of payment accepted, typically after the order had been received by the customer. Yes, I got stiffed a few times.
We didn’t have a website until the end of 1996. No online ordering, but you could browse the catalog. By 2000, we began accepting PayPal and email ordering became automated.
By 2003, we had a newer website with a shopping cart, courtesy of Mat White, and EAR/Rational moved into a small custom-built barn in the backyard. That site lasted until 2014, when it started to crumble due to outdated PHP code. I could’ve learned how to update the code. If I’d had the time, that is. Instead I thought it was time to try something new. That thinking eventually culminated in this site, with the help of Harald Lapp. In actuality, “help” is an understatement–Harald did this. And for that I’m thankful beyond words.
Please know that EAR/Rational has always been a hobby, something that consumed the “spare time” while in graduate school or working full time. Keeping everything in stock was too costly, so instead, orders were collected from customers, items were sourced from distributors on as regular a basis as possible, and eventually orders were filled–mostly. The toughest part of running this business is not knowing when releases are no longer available from our distributors. Sometimes they make a point of announcing that something or other is gone for good, but most of the time, there is no way to know a prized CD or LP (or book or DVD) was no longer available until we tried to order it.
So yes, we’re back. With the same ground rules as before–some items are in stock but many aren’t. Because of this, the shopping cart does not normally collect payment info. If all the items you want are in stock, you can pay with PayPal. Otherwise you will receive an invoice via PayPal (or Flint if you prefer, but note that you need not have a PayPal account to pay via their website) once the order is complete and ready to ship to you.
An additional ground rule–my day job requires a great deal of travel–pretty much every other week. Most trips are three-day jaunts to San Francisco (and occasionally other U.S. destinations), although the job took me to India twice in 2016, and will do the same in 2017. So, if you order something that’s in stock when I’m out of stock–er, Colorado–then there will be a delay before your order is shipped.