During the height of COVID-19 and the stay/work from home orders many of us had to quickly build home offices or even revamp the offices we already had. For many that need seemed to mean looking for acoustic options such as vinyl record players and actual vinyl records. It was here that RPM Records in Marrickville came to the fore with their extensive range of fantastic, and in some cases very rare, records.
Speaking with the Inner West Independent store owners Steve and Lizzie regaled us with the story of RPM Records and their thoughts on vinyl records as a special music medium.
Founded in 2015 RPM Records started as a dream of “one day opening a record store” for the couple. Then with the help of music promoter Kevin Jacobson that dream became a reality on the six month anniversary of Steve and Lizzie dating.
“Our first date was actually in a record shop and we quickly bonded over our shared love of music. Then when Kevin Jacobson asked us to sell his memorabilia collection we knew that was the moment we had the love for vinyl and memorabilia together in a store,” recalled Steve.
Whilst the old cliche is to never work with loved ones, for Steve and Lizzie RPM Records it only intensified their love and bond because now they had “created our dream environment” together.
Since that day the store, and their friendships with their customers, have blossomed to make RPM Records one of the most preeminent record and memorabilia shops for any discerning music lover/collector. So much so that the business is now needing to expand by opening a second store, which is conveniently right around the corner from the original location.
“We’ve completely run out of room because we have so much vinyl and memorabilia that we’ve had to open a new store,” explained Lizzie. “This new store is going to have a greater emphasis on posters and clearance items, which will enable us to streamline the main shop into being more about the physical music items such as vinyl, CDs and cassettes etc.”
RPM Records has been able to grow so much because of their “all killer, no filler” mantra. “If it’s not a greatcondition record, than it simply doesn’t get into the shop” said Steve. To which Lizzie was quick to add, “We’re very selective about what we sell but we do have a great selection for everybody. I’d say we’re the broadest as far as a generalist store covering all of the different genres. We also sell new and old, whereas a lot of shops typically focus on one or the other.”
Steve and Lizzie also made it a point for their store to be meticulously catalogued and organised so that it is quick and easy for them to help customers fulfil their wish lists. “We often get complimented about how immaculately organised the shop is,” said Lizzie. “Everything in our shop is arranged by genre and then by alphabetical order of the artists. So all you’ve got to do is come in and tell us what your after and we can guide you right to it. That was one of the main things that we took away from all of the other record shops that we ever visited, we wanted ours to be very well organised.”
Looking back at last year with the rise in home offices, RPM Records sure a continuation in the resurgence of vinyl record purchases. In fact 2020 saw vinyl records hitting its highest point since the 1990s.
“With people consistently being in lockdown or staying home I think people are taking more of an interest in their home entertainment, said Steve before Lizzie continued. “I thought it would be more people our age, in their 40-60s, who used to collect vinyl. While they are probably our biggest market it’s a lot of people I didn’t expect too. You’ve got the young kids that are 17-18 years old and simply love music and records, you can never tell what they are going to buy, but then it also appears to be much more trendy now for women and couples in their 30s.”
In terms of tips for new vinyl enthusiasts or collectors Steve and Lizzie have one common tip.
“You don’t need to spend a lot to by brand new!. Instead get the best quality secondhand stereo with the best needle you can afford so that it doesn’t wear out your records and gives you the best possible sound. Then come in to see us so we can help you find something you’ll love.
RPM Records is open 7 days per week and is located at 113 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville. Info: www.rpmrecords.com.au