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A letter to SEQ: Rocking Horse Records

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Rocking Horse Records

by Andrew Stafford

Dear Music Lovers

Despite the Courier-Mail‘s misleading headline (‘Rocking No More At Iconic Retailer’) inferring that Rocking Horse‘s demise was imminent, the fact is it’s still open for business.

Yes, the outlook’s not that great. It pays a fortune in rent for a large space in a premium location, and it has been burnt like every other large music retailer by the slow death of the CD format, the boom in downloading (an interesting comment on the average punter’s ears: they’re dispensing with one shoddy way of listening to music for an even shoddier one), the growth of online sales and probably also the high Australian dollar.

But hold the obituaries. Let me repeat: the store is in trouble, but it’s not closing yet.

If Rocking Horse means something to you, you actually have the power to save it.

Go down to the city and buy a record. Two, even. That’s what I’m going to do when I get paid on Thursday. [I believe the store has launched a half-price sale – Ed]

If you don’t have a turntable, buy three CDs instead. You know how cheap they are, and Rocking Horse probably can’t get rid of them quick enough before, hopefully, moving to a vinyl-only format, considering sales in that format remain steady.

Don’t have a turntable? Make it a priority. It might cost you a few hundred bucks for a half-decent one, but it’ll be the best few hundred you ever spend this year, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before (or why you ever got rid of your old one). And buy a record anyway – a really special one that you already know you’ll love, so you can have the pleasure of christening your soon-to-be-purchased turntable with it. The past increasingly looks like the future.

If you’ve started buying your music online, think about why you’re doing it. Is it really cheaper? Are you sure? What are you gaining from it and what, just as important, might you be losing? Sure, knock yourself out on ebay for those things you just can’t find anywhere else, but if Rocking Horse and its history (and, more importantly, ongoing place) in Brisbane’s musical firmament means something to you, YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

Go ahead and exercise it. Then, even if the store doesn’t survive in its current form, it’s more likely to maintain a presence in Brisbane, even if it has to go back to a tiny shop in Rowes Arcade. Even if it means some jobs are lost in the transition, a smaller store still has a role to play in Brisbane.

All it needs is a dedicated clientele. And that’s where you come in.

Photography courtesy of Brisbane Daily Photo

9 Responses to A letter to SEQ: Rocking Horse Records

  1. Matt June 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    While I applaud the sentiment of supporting a local institution, pro-vinyl bullshit is nauseating.

  2. Andrew Stafford June 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Well Matt, whether you find it nauseating or not, that might well be where the future of the store lies. If Rocking Horse is to survive it’ll definitely have to move, and will almost certainly downsize to serve a niche market. That looks pretty likely being the vinyl market, whether it’s dance music, reissues, secondhand or some combination of all three. Otherwise they don’t really have much to sell, do they?

    Warwick Vere has already said in Noel Mengel’s article that if he could turn all his CDs into vinyl he wouldn’t have a problem. So rather than getting distracted by what you personally are interested in, how about we just deal with the facts at hand and do our bit to help? 🙂

  3. Bianca June 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Well said Andrew! :)I was thinking the same thing reading Matt’s ‘pro-vinyl bullshit is nauseating’ comment.

  4. Paul June 29, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Well said Andrew .. Get off your ass Brisbane and save our local music store, you too Matt.

  5. Matt June 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Well, littering a plea for assistance with irrelevant (and objectively unverifiable) sentiments regarding the superiority of vinyl seems to me the height of letting personal interests cloud an issue. Doubly so, given that it’s debatable how much assistance purchasing vinyl will actually provide for the store. As you rightly point out, the store’s problem is that it’s full of CDs.

    But – I had no intention of instigating a shitslinging fest. It was simply a throwaway remark regarding vinyl fetishism. Broadly, I agree that people should go out and support the store.

  6. Andrew Stafford June 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Matt, whether you and I agree about the merits of vinyl versus other formats is irrelevant. This is not about you, or me, or our various personal hobbyhorses.

    But it’s hardly irrelevant for me to mention vinyl (Two short paragraphs – it’s hardly a treatise, is it?) in the context of whether the store survives. Did you read what I said above? The fact is the store proprietor has said if the store was stocked with vinyl, he wouldn’t have a problem. Ergo, if the store is to carry on in some other form, it’s going to need consumers who like to play records.

    If you had no intention of starting a “shitslinging fest”, then it’s quite simple: don’t. At the moment it comes across like it’s you who’s letting your personal issues get in the way of the point, which is broadly that people need to get their heads out of their monitors (I’m putting that as politely as I can) and and hand over their cash at a counter rather than through a computer if they want indie record stores like Rocking Horse to survive.

  7. Matt June 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    My point was that the store is in its current position because they’re stocking CDs and people are purchasing vinyl. If people purchase vinyl and not CDs, that problem is not solved. Therefore, encouraging people to purchase vinyl over CDs because one format is supposedly better than the other is potentially somewhat counter-productive in regards to your cause.

    That was my point and I stand by it. I will concede, however, that it was poorly made. I was being a dick, plain and simple, and I apologise for that.

  8. Andrew Stafford June 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    You are actually correct. That’s why I wrote “If you don’t have a turntable, buy 3 CDs… etc.”

    But thanks for the apology (I admit it, I was irked!) – let’s move on. I was in Rocking Horse today and it was bedlam. Hopefully people will continue to support the store, rather than it just being a case of vultures picking over a corpse, as a staff member put it.

  9. Darragh July 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Well, it is closing now…

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