Each month, ARIA features an indie record store that contibutes to the ARIA Charts. This month, we feature Wollongong's Music Farmers.
First opening in December 2004, Music Farmers has served the people of Wollongong from a number of locations before settling in its current home at the top of Crown St Mall at the start of 2015.
As well as tons of new and used vinyl, you’ll also find books, CDs, DVDs, merch and equipment to play your records on.
We spoke to Jeb Taylor from Music Farmers about the store and its evolution.
Do you specialise in particular genres? What’s popular with your customers?
No specific genres. We carry all the main genres (hip hop, metal, pop, jazz, blues, ect) but we do like to go really deep into Australian indie label releases. Local heroes Hockey Dad have been our most popular artist of the last decade, alongside them the classics always keep selling but it is so varied. Right at this time the competition for most popular artist would probably be a tie between Spacey Jane and MF Doom and his various aliases.
What formats do you sell/specialise in?
We specialise in vinyl, when we first opened in 2004 it was probably a split between CD and vinyl but CD sales declined rapidly, in early 2011 we refocused things as a specialist vinyl shop and while we still sell some CDs, and they definitely have their place, about 90% of our stock is vinyl.
What’s been a highlight of running your store?
It's hard to pick specific moments, so just a few very basic everyday highlights. First one, after running a store for this long, has been seeing next generations come through the shop. People that you remember as little kids that would come in with their parents years ago are now coming in themselves to buy records. The second is getting to meet and become friends with such a cross section of the community just via the connection of music and this physical place.
Tips for people wanting to start a record collection?
Start with your absolute favourites, the albums you'll constantly go back to and then expand out from there with a mix of new stuff, interesting discoveries, etc. Also don't dismiss the cheap second-hand racks in your local stores, especially if you are on a tight budget. While most of the stuff might be rubbish you can find some real gems amongst it and that part of it is the real fun of digging through record stores.
Tell us about the area your shop is located. Any places people should also check out when they visit?
We're located in the middle of Wollongong (on the coast about an hour or so south of Sydney). If you're heading to Wollongong for the day there are plenty of other places nearby us, to eat and drink at. Retail wise Waratah Vintage is next door to us and Wandering Merchants + Elliotts Guitars are just up the road. There are plenty of great cafes within a short walk for coffee/lunch such as Uncle Earls, Goodies, Early Bird, Quay & Glass Alley. If you want to hit somewhere good for dinner also within a few hundred metres of the shop try Kneading Ruby, Babyface, Pizzeria 50 or Soco Kitchen. And for your after-dinner drinks there is La La Las, The Prince, Howlin Wolf and Black Cockatoo bars where you'll regularly find us!
Music Farmers' Top 5 sellers for 2022 so far...
Run a record store and want to contribute to the ARIA Charts? Contact us here.