Ash's Largely Ill-Informed
and Poorly Researched Guide to Melbourne Music Stores
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The idea is to save money, right? Your first priority is getting what you want. But you also
want it at the best possible price. Here's where you go - follow these steps:
1. Do you mind second hand gear? If so, move on to step two. If not: there's no shame in owning
other people's stuff. So long as there aren't scratches all over the cd and the sleeve isn't water
damaged and torn, why not plump for second hand? There are quite a few second hand places (check them
out in the stores section) who can cut you a pretty good deal. Definitely
go there first. As long as you're not asking for an original pressing vinyl promo copy of Pink Floyd's
first ever single, expect to pay around the $12-$18 mark for your average second hand disc. Crappy stuff,
of course, ranks lower. Rare gear sits up much higher.
2. Can you bear to be seen in K-Mart or Target (or for that matter, is there a chance the cd you want will
be there)? If not, skip forward to step three. If so: what shame is there in picking up a brand new
cd for around the $22-$24 mark? None at all. Expect to find only top 40 and other fairly popular stuff
in their shelves, however, so unless you're positive what you're after will be represented in the racks,
call ahead, or move onto the next step. The margins in these places must be astronomically low (think
loss leaders, for all the retailing people), hence super cheap stuff. The trade-off is that they must
have absolute chumps doing their ordering, cause only Sanity in Shepparton (no offence, guys) has a worse
range than K-Mart and Target stores.
3. JB-Hifi. Most people start here, and with savings on every cd above and beyond almost all other
stores, it's not hard to see why. Criminally small margins mean that stuff is cheap. The range is fairly respectable,
so the call-ahead isn't always necessary. If they don't have the record you want, they'll most likely
have something else you're interested in. Just don't get too distracted by the audio, car hifi, movies, electronic stuff... the list
goes on (and it's all cheap!).
4. Your specialist store. If you don't have your record by now, expect to pay premium dollars for it.
Unless you want to wait a week or so while JB-Hifi order your cd in, looks like you're off to the specialists.
Be it metal, punk, australian indie, or britpop, there's a store that will cater for your needs above and beyond
the above mentioned outlets. Once again, check out the stores section to find out
which one's for you. It ain't always cheap, though - these places know they're the only ones who have what
you want, so they know they can charge what they like. What other option do you have?
5. Under no circumstances should you buy your record from Sanity/HMV/CCMusic/etc. Well... maybe
if they have what you want, JB-Hifi don't, and you can't be bothered waiting. But hey, what were you doing
going into these stores anyway?! Why pay specialist prices for something you should be paying far less for!
6. Looking for that rarity? Can't find it at any of the reputable second hand dealers? Go online -
check out www.ebay.com.au where you'll find a mass of rare & long deleted
second hand records. Be prepared to pay ridiculous prices, as it is an auction house, and bidding can become
quite frenetic. However quite often it's the only way you're gonna get what you're looking for.
Got any more advice for the punters? Send it in!