So, we are in the midst of a vinyl revival, we are told. But something strange has happened in Hamilton and the Waikato. And it’s not the latest tale from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld!
All of the independent record shops have closed, despite an apparent surge in vinyl sales. There just isn’t, seemingly, a significant interest in records around here these days. This is also to be seen in the paucity of TradeMe listings under “home audio”. The number of items on sale never reflects the population of the city of Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.
I’ve lived in the city for 12 years. When moving from the UK, I feared that records and related would be in short supply. With diligent effort my collection continues to grow by the week, but records are hard to find in Hamilton. JB Hi-Fi is the only remaining retailer – apart from The Warehouse at Te Rapa who seem hell bent on displaying their growing vinyl stock as inaccessibly as possible. Does no-one else around here buy records now? Of course, you can travel to Auckland for visits to Real Groovy and several other specialist retailers, and there are occasional record fairs around Auckland and even now in Taupo. But surely there is enough interest to warrant a dealer setting-up shop in Hamilton? Then again, the surge in vinyl record releases isn’t exactly broad ranging, with releases largely restricted to obscure artists and esoteric re-issues. and the quality and prices leave a lot to be desired. More than half of the dozen or so I have bought locally in the past 2 years were returned as defective.
Surely we can do better than that? Hamilton aims to be a city for the future – can we imagine that with no record stores at all?