R.I.P Adelaide Big Star

Prior to hearing about Mark Linkous’ death (see previous post) I’d found out that one of my favourite (and one of Adelaide’s best) record stores was closing down…imminently.  It wasn’t a good night.  Big Star is an independent record store franchise that used to have outlets all over general Adelaide vicinity, now there will be only be the one in Magill left standing with most of the ‘good stuff’ from the Adelaide outlet going over there.  The rest of the stock was sold of for 50% off marked prices.   I went in the other day and there wasn’t much left aside from the Nonesuch pressing of Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians which I picked up for $15.

The shop’s closure comes as a big shock for me.  It’s been a constant since my teens when I started buying records.  I discovered all kinds of music there either by random or through the recommendation of somebody who worked in there.  The downstairs basement housed some excellent second hand vinyl (most of my current vinyl collection comes from there) and over the past couple of years their stock had expanded to a formiddable collection of second hand and new pressings.

Digital music downloads have no doubt contributed to the shop’s closure…they just couldn’t maintain a decent profit margin with physical sales.  I’m sure the Magill outlet will go soon too.  The CD’s a near dead medium and only the megastores like JB HIFI who sell all kinds of stuff alongside music (TVs, computers, gaming, etc) will be able to stay in the game in the long run.  That said though, I’m sure that some smaller retailers will be able remain viable providing they have a diverse inventory or cater to a specific niche market.


I sense a paper topic coming on.


2 thoughts on “R.I.P Adelaide Big Star”

  1. Tis a shame but the new generation (a lot of student of mine for instance) just don’t know about buying CDs or even just paying for music/software. I try and encourage supporting music as much as possible but it’s falling on deaf ears a lot of the time.

    The other thing that kills shopfront music shops are online cd shops and overseas purchasing which is what I’m guilty of. As a consumer, the obvious choice is the cheapest option unfortunately for the retailer. JBs do well but they buy in such large supplies, the smaller companies can’t compete.

    The new generation only listens through crappy speakers and mp3 players. The concept of quality recordings is not a factor. I love listening to quality recordings on quality gear; not to mention supporting the artists.

    Such is life.

    1. Nice comment Adam. I agree completely with what you’re saying here and as unfortunate as these kind of things are, they’re going to happen. Mediums and habits will come and go and take their hosts with them (so to speak.) It will be fascinating to see what the next five to ten years heralds for the future of recorded music and modes of reception. I think we’re at an important apex at the moment and it’s certainly a topic I’m very interested in at the moment.

      Here’s some food for thought: I was reading David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries the other day and he was writing about Seoul in South Korea and where you can’t practically buy CDs anymore(!) save for a couple of outlets that trade in kitschy/niche products. How about that, then?

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