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Quality Records

Gather round kids and listen to this tale. Once upon a time music (the mind-blowing creation that brings us so much joy and whose value is almost immeasurable) came in tangible forms that people were willing to pay for. The most famous and treasured species of tactile music delivery was a thing called “vinyl” (DJs used to use it too, if you can remember, before they just pressed the play button). Then music entered the cloud and despite it still being the treasured gift of creation it had always been, it was suddenly distributed in the digital form we are all familiar with and people decided that its value actually could be measured and because they had nothing physical to hold, they measured it as zero. The big chain music stores started to close (meh) and tragically, the little guys – the independent stores – that are an institution unto themselves also struggled to survive. Vinyl still has the romance and appeal it always did but the creation of Record Store Day was essential to remind people to pay for this thing that brings them so much joy.

Forever a stalwart on the vinyl scene, Quality Records…plus are joining in this year’s Record Store Day with a host of celebrations and an in-store by the ever-charming Debroah Conway and Willy Zygier. Proprietor Mel Mays weighs in on the debate of whether RSD is achieving what it set out to. “Yes,” Mays says with confidence. “The original idea behind RSD was to raise the awareness of the public to the values of the independent record store. In the US and in Australia most independents closed because they could not compete with chain stores which used chart CDs as loss leaders. Service, knowledge, and a passion for music should be – and usually are – the independent's creed. RSD has become an event for music lovers and the rebirth of vinyl, which was aided and abetted by the smaller stores such as Quality Records...plus.”

 

Last year Quality Records…plus had musical legends Mike Rudd and Bill Putt (from Spectrum, Ariel and many more) performing in-store and the day was a glowing success. This year looks sure to be no exception. “We are most fortunate as Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier will be performing their new, critically-acclaimed, album Stories Of Ghosts at 2pm,” he says. “Apart from RSD special pressings, we have dug about in crates and boxes to unearth numerous record and CD treasures to be sold on the day.” Competitions, discounts and of course, coffee will also be on offer.

 

Vinyl is a seductress, but it’s easy to wonder whether this love affair and revival is going to survive or simply fall by the wayside in favour of easier music delivery technologies. “Vinyl has never gone away and while is it cool, it is also has artistry, sound quality – while they might not always be superior – to CDs depending on where and what you are playing them on, they are more listenable and more enjoyable,” he says. “Apart from the majors, there are now numerous smaller – although I hate the word – boutique labels offering re-issues and high-quality audiophile pressings. Quality Records...plus is privileged to be the Australian distributor for the German Speakers Corner Records and stocks many other similar labels.”

 

Quality Records…plus has built a hard-earned reputation of being on the edge of independent music and propagators of rare vinyl but when Mays is asked whether he thinks Quality…will have long-term sustainability thanks to their rep, his sense of humour shines through. “Reputation? Trendy or slothful?,” he says. “Quality Records.. plus maintained a website dedicated to vinyl for well over a decade which only shows a degree of stubbornness, or it has made us aware that if you hang around long enough what was retro can become cutting edge. While the industry has shrunk, music is never going away, and there is a place for all formats including vinyl, CDs and, yes even MP3s – maybe cassettes have finally gone to God – and for those who distribute and sell it. We hope that our reputation is based not only on service and reliability, but also enthusiasm for what we do.”

 

Buy a record, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

 

BY KRISSI WEISS

QUALITY RECORDS…PLUS is at 269 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern. Ph: (03) 9500 9902, qualityrecords.com.au. Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier perform from 2pm.