Fish Fine Music Director Paul Nemeth discusses the historical evolution of music retailing.

It was a bright summer day in 1971 when my first record store opened its doors in Randwick. The store itself was small and our opening stock covered some 500 titles on vinyl and 200 on cassette. From these humble beginnings grew a lifetime of service in the music industry retail sector.

The first lesson I learned in retail was the realisation that ‘music lovers’ and ‘music collectors’ were very different beasts. Customers who would purchase five to eight albums a year – and who declared their love of music across the counter – provided the cream on the cake, however weren’t alone sufficient in sustaining a successful business. The collectors were a different story however – customers who purchased 20 to 50 albums a year. They were our lifeblood and a source of ever-evolving knowledge. Often they provided small facts, information and gossip that added to the value of their purchase and to our pleasure at serving them.

From the 1960s to 1980s, the realisation of a ‘perfect sound’ was just around the corner. Artists from the Beatles to Philip Glass and major world orchestras all experimented with techniques to...

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