Purchasing a Community

There are some experiences that money simply can’t buy. Okay, maybe that statement isn’t really true anymore, but there are certainly experiences that digital dollars cannot buy through online shopping. Most notably the feeling of community which has powered the resurgence of vinyl stores throughout Melbourne.


Vinyl has been rising in popularity over the last few years. Most people have put this resurgence down to the growing population of hipsters populating the inner North and North-Eastern suburbs looking for an opportunity to connect with simpler times (without losing their iPhone privileges). But a new record store that has just opened in Fitzroy suggests that there is more to a simple record purchase.

Physical music retailers have all but disappeared. Books are now more likely to come via an e-reader or an Amazon post pack. And almost every other purchase that we make has the opportunity to be streamlined from the customer’s couch. The one thing that today’s consumers are missing is the physical retail experience. The opportunity to hold something in their hands while making the decision whether or not to purchase it as well as interacting with the broader community while having this shopping experience.

This is something which has prompted the opening of a new record shop in Fitzroy (yes, another one!). Owner Barry Russell, who has been behind the online record outlet www.vinylarecordstore.com.au, has opened this store without the aim to make a profit. He has identified a gap in the customer experience.

The store is going physical to have in-store gigs, record signings, live bands playing and opportunities for music fans to interact in a communal shopping experience. It is returning the shopping experience from being a chore into being entertainment.

The records will still be available online for those music fans looking for ease or purchasing and convenience in their everyday lives, but the opportunity to engage in person will have ongoing impacts on the industry from inducting new members into a life of vinyl through to engaging with new fans of performing bands who hadn’t considered going vinyl.

There is a lot to be said about the freedom and customise-ability from business going online, but sometimes we just simply want to buy something in person!