Comet's tale comes to an end

 

Comet Records will finally burn out in the middle of next month when its doors close for the last time, the owner of the shop in Dublin's Temple Bar confirmed this evening.

The closure of one of the oldest independent record shops in the State is another blow for a retail sector which has struggled to retain any relevance in the face of profound changes in how people have been accessing and listening to music over the last decade.

Growing numbers of music fans have switched to digital downloads and taken to buying CDs, DVDs and vinyl online while illegal downloading has been rampant.

Comet's tale has been one of ups and downs since it first opened on Chatham St off Grafton St in 1984 as Halley's Comet appeared in the skies over Ireland.

Two years after the celestial object which had given it its name had moved to the outer reaches of the solar system, Comet Records was also on the move. It relocated to Crown Alley in Temple Bar just as the area was earning itself a reputation, albeit a short-lived one, as the place where the cool kids hung out.

The shop moved again in 1989 to its present premises on Cope Street and a year later it opened a branch in Washington Street in Cork. The wheels came off the band wagon in 2004 and owner Brian O Kelly was forced to close both shops.

He reopened in Dublin in 2009 but "this time we are going for good," he told The Irish Times tonight. "It has been on the cards for a very long time. There is a whole generation who have never paid anything for music and I don't know if they will ever be prepared to pay anything for music."

He said the shop would cease trading on April 15th but added that until then he would be selling off stock for ¤4 or less.

While Comet's bricks and mortar incarnation may soon be gone, O'Kelly says the name will live on in a virtual sense. He is in the process of building two websites through which he hopes to sell rare Irish releases and collectible items, many of which are from the U2 back catalogue. His pride and joy is a test printing of the band’s first album Boy on two slabs of vinyl which he hopes will become the centrepiece of the new site.