Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Record stores return to the capital

Is this a record shop revival in the capital I see before me? Last week, E2 Music announced plans to open a pop-up shop on Dublin’s College Green in the space formerly occupied by Habitat. This week, it’s the arrival …

Fri, Sep 30, 2011, 09:48

   

Is this a record shop revival in the capital I see before me? Last week, E2 Music announced plans to open a pop-up shop on Dublin’s College Green in the space formerly occupied by Habitat.

This week, it’s the arrival of Elastic Witch which is making the music retail headlines. The store will be based in the Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street, a space which is now home to a club, live music venue, the 3FE coffee shop, the Loft book store and the Boxcutter barbershop.

Elastic Witch will be run by Gib Cassidy, Logikparty drummer and formerly of Road Records. Aside from selling CDs and vinyl from Irish and international independent acts, Cassidy hopes Elastic Witch will be a “social space”.

It’s not just E2 and Elastic Witch who are throwing caution to the wind and ignoring the widespread belief that record stores are a dying breed. HMV announced plans this week for 20 pop-up stores in the UK in the run-up to Christmas.

There’s no doubt that there is still a market for music on vinyl and CD, once the retailers involved accept that it’s now a niche rather than a mass market. There’s going to be no repeat of those recently unearthed photos from the 1960s of masses of people flocking to HMV stores.

But if numbers are down, there’s still enough dedicated music fans with cash to sustain a shop which knows and responds to this audience.

Changes in the retail environment also help – neither E2 or Elastic Witch will be paying Celtic Tiger rents – but the ability to identify a customer base and get them into the shop matters more. After all if Cork can support a shop like Plugd, surely there’s also enough music fans in the capital to keep the newbies in business?

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