Sandbox Automatic, Inc. was founded in April 1995 under the name "Mercer's Sandbox", starting as a general hip-hop reference page for the Web's first-generation underground heads. The 75 or so artist discographies and early transmission of WAV files generated significant attention from vinyl collectors and general fans across North America and the world. This led to the formation of a private DJ network which connected various US and international record collectors with a home base in the hip-hop capital of New York City, giving them unprecedented access to its vast market of used record shops and local buyers' conventions. For the first time in history, DJ's from Tokyo to Reykjavik were participating in virtual 'crate-digging' sessions inside various basements in the heart of (da) Bronx and Brooklyn.
By May 1996, the buzz of the hip-hop vinyl scene online was just starting to be realized. Deluged with requests to open its inventory to the public, the site then called "Sandbox Distribution" opened the floodgates to a wider customer base, and with a special cooperative deal with local NYC retailer/distributor Fat Beats, became one of the first hip-hop e-commerce retailers to grace the Web. Emphasizing its "listen before you buy" concept and providing innovative content for its products with features such as "Finishline" and the "daily column", Sandbox grew to become (and still remains) one of the most popular and successful hip-hop mail order companies on the Internet, with customeres in all 50 states as well as over 30 foreign countries.
Due to overwhelming demand coupled with a decreasing availabilty of rare vinyl, Sandbox closed its used music section (via a pre-Ebay style silent auction) and began concentrating on the emerging independent label scene. Underground record companies were eager to establish an online presence, and Sandbox was the pioneer in creating Web sites and online mail-order systems for legends such as Fondle 'Em Records, Rawkus Entertainment, Raw Shack Productions, Stones Throw Records, GuessWhyld Productions, and Solesides/Quannum Projects. Sandbox affiliate labels are not charged any fees for Web hosting or design, rather, sites are funded solely by the sales of their products. The result is that only the best labels and organizations are signed, which ensures that you always have a high-quality selection of products to choose from. At last count there were over 2300 different items available to order, one of the largest specialty hip-hop catalogs anywhere in the world.
As one of the oldest, most established and experienced companies in the industry, Sandbox also continues to be one of the most innovative and customer friendly businesses around. The shopping cart system is considered one of the fastest and easiest to use. You will not see any annoying, slow-loading banner ads on any pages - they are not accepted here. Live phone support is available 5 days a week to answer your questions and concerns. As one of the only online hip-hop retailers based in New York City, proximity to key distributors, labels and other storefront record shops ensures that orders will be filled promptly, accurately and as complete as possible. You are free to venture elsewhere for hip-hop news, reviews, discussions, articles and interviews, but when it comes to fulfillment of records, CD's, tapes, gear and books paid for by your hard-earned money, Sandbox has long proven to be one of the very best.