Final spin of the turntable for Perth music institution 78 Records after 47 years in business

A Perth music institution is set to close its doors, killed off by the proliferation of online streaming services and tough economic times for bricks and mortar retailers.

In a post to its followers on Facebook on Monday afternoon, 78 Records said that after 47 years in the vinyl business, it would unplug the turntable at its upstairs outlet off Murray Street mall for the last time next month.

“This decision is due to the current economic and retail climate, with a substantial increase in streaming services at the expense of physical products,” the post from 78’s Andrew ‘Fang’ de Lang said.

“We thank all our customers, past and present, for their patronage; indeed we have enjoyed those 47 years of commitment and devotion to the cause of music.

“It has been a pleasure to have played a considerable and significant part in the WA music retail industry since 1971.

“Keep the faith people.”

Despite a revival of vinyl record sales across Australia over the past few years, music retailers have struggled to compete with the immediacy and convenience of streaming and online services such as iTunes and Spotify.

The announcement has already attracted hundreds of comments from loyal fans.

Georgia Kennedy said: “This is awfully sad news. Goodbye to an institution.”

Troy Garbutt commented: “Big knife in the heart to Perth music and culture. Totally understandable for economic reasons. What a shame.”

For others, visits to the city store were a family affair as a parent’s love of the vinyl sound was passed down to the next generation.

“78s has a special place in a lot of people’s hearts,” Marnee Harris said. “My Dad took me on many adventures there and the excitement of walking down a dingy alleyway to find the gem that is 78s gets ya every time. The world will miss ya.”

Nearby Elizabeth’s Bookshop said it would also mourn the loss.

“We at Elizabeth’s Bookshops have always regarded and respected you as a beacon of hope and survival. We are very sad to lose that.”

In an interview with The West Australian in 2017, Mr de Lang put the revival of vinyl down to a few factors, including that records sounded “warm” and album covers were bigger, more impressive and carried more information than CD cases.

“It’s the tangibles,” he said at the time.

“Streaming can’t compete with the physical. It’s having that thing to pick up and read and play. If they are pressed and mastered well, there’s no reason why they don’t sound good.”

The store will close on March 3.

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