Record Store Day at the Sweet Little Hi-Fi
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Record Store Day at the Sweet Little Hi-Fi

“There’s just something about it. Of the process of taking the record out of the jacket and putting it on the turntable and putting the needle on the groove and there you go,” Sweet Little Hi-Fi owner and vinyl enthusiast Shane Godfrey says.

“It sort of demands you listen to it because you’ve been to all that trouble.”

And he’s not wrong. When compact discs first made an appearance in the ‘80s, showing its durability and ability to play even after jam had been smeared all over it, vinyl fans looked on in horror.

Fast-forward to 2016 and CD sales are on the decline with 2013 figures proving to be the worst year for Australian physical sales in a long time. CDs saw a drop of 25.5%, with digital consumption on the rise. Another format on the rise was the resurgence of vinyl albums, which saw an increase of 77% in 2013.

Shane Godfrey is someone who could see the trend, and much before these figures became glaringly clear, he set up shop in 2009 in Warrnambool (and then Geelong) selling records at his store the Sweet Little Hi-Fi.

Now with several years experience under his belt and offering an array of titles, Shane sells records to people much like himself, to young people new to the format and to older people who have always collected vinyl. And a day that opens up his shoppers entirely is when Record Store Day rolls around.

“[Record Store Day has] been in the making since late December when the first list came out, so it’s a long haul really,” Shane laughs about the requesting process for limited edition releases.

“The main focus really of Record Store Day is the limited releases that come in. There are quite a lot; hundreds of titles.”

Essentially, Record Store Day in Australia is run by the Australian Music Retailers Association and is a day to celebrate indie record stores, music and musicians in the many genres and backgrounds they may come from.

This year in particular for the event is an important one, not only for following on from a massively successful last year, but also as this year is the first year the Australian branch has officially joined the rest of the world to become part of the international day.

“It’s really good to see it brought in under the same banner,” Shane says.

“[And last year] was amazing! There was a line up of people at the door in Geelong and Warrnambool, so I was actually quite surprised. We had a couple of artists play live upstairs and it was really great.

“I couldn’t give you a number [of sales for the day], but I can tell you I did over a month’s worth of business in one day.”

The financial benefits to the businesses involved is quite an easy one to see, but the positives stem through to the musicians themselves and even those purchasing the vinyl and enjoying in a new kind of music experience.

“It’s a bit of a gamble in a way, but to just buy something that you’ve not heard of before and then you’re really surprised by what you’ve got – you enjoy it a lot. And it stays on the turntable and it’s a really good feeling,” Shane says.

“[Vinyl] does sound different; it has that extra warmth and even with the extra pops and crackles it still sounds better.”

The rise in popularity for the format is also having a domino effect on new musician’s releases, as many are now including a run of vinyl with each release. Record Store Day ambassadors Ella Hooper and Adam Brand are two musicians who make the list.

With so many record-positive minds involved in the day (Tim Dalton is also ambassador for another year) it really comes down to attending your local Record Store Day event to ensure the survival of such a great format to enjoy music.

Highlights on the day across the venues will include limited edition vinyl, CD special deals, BBQs, face-painting and at the Sweet Little Hi-Fi, Shane has lined up Daniel Champagne to share his music on the day.

“I was looking for someone to suit the Mill Markets and a friend of mind suggested him and I happened to look him up on Facebook and he was playing in Melbourne the night before and Bacchus Marsh after, so it was really possible. I sent him a message (but he was on tour in the US) and got through to his management and they were really supportive, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Shane says.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: Sweet Little Hi-Fi at the Mill Markets, Geelong and Warrnambool

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