By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Following yesterday’s story about JB Hi-Fi’s participation in Record Store Day, the Australian Music Retailers’ Association (AMRA) contacted to explain what the purpose of the enigmatic event was.

AMRA chairman Geoff Bonouvrie said that Record Store Day has two goals: in the short term, it is being used to stimulate sales on the particular day, 18 April; and in the long term, it hopes to reinvigorate the community’s appreciation of record stores for return business.

“The issue the physical retailers are facing is the size of the pie,” said Bonouvrie. “Whilst the ARIA statistics show that units are down, the biggest issue is margin pressure, so the size of the pie is being nibbled at from two directions.”

Margin pressure is a common complaint from the retail sector, but claiming that ARIA statistics show a decline in unit sales is contradictory to what ARIA itself says. In a 4 December 2008 release triumphantly titled “CD sales skyrocket: ARIA reports album sales up significantly”, ARIA reported a 22 per cent increase in CD sales over a 6-week pre-Christmas sales period from 2007.

Bonouvrie continued to discuss the intended effect of Record Store Day, saying that it is about “reminding consumers just how fantastic a record store is to hear, experience, and buy music. 

“The short term aim is sales on the day, but far more fundamentally, it’s about a more long term goal:  growing the size of the pie.  Growing the number of people who visit a specialist recorded music retailer. 

“By getting people back into stores they can see how the sector has moved with the times to create a retail experience focussed around music.”