Thursday, 16 October 2008

Alas Real Groovy

rg_logo Alas, Real Groovy, I knew her well.  For twenty-eight years Real Groovy has been bringing band members together and improving the music collections of the nation. It's a sad day now to see it go into receivership.

I was one of its first customers in its first shop further up Queen St.  Back then, as an impecunious architecture student, I used to make some pocket money by buying up bootlegs and valuable records from junk shops and lesser second-hand record dealers and sell them up at Record Exchange for decent prices to people who were prepared to pay good money for valuable stuff.

My best deal, as I recall, was the Sex Pistols bootleg 'First US Show,' which I bought for about $3 from a chap down in Fort St whose prices were always wrong, and sold up at Record Exchange in St Kevin's Arcade for $35.  That wasn't bad pocket money for the early 80s, and I soon cut a regular path from that under-priced Fort St shop to the good payers at St Kevin's Arcade..

Real Groovy put a stop to all that.

They knew what they were buying, they knew the precise value of what they were selling, and they imported so many shit-hot bootlegs (sold at prices that were almost affordable) that vinyl junkies didn't need to go anywhere else.

And they didn't.  It was no good for 'arbitrageurs' like myself, but it was damn good for all the other vinyl junkies who flooded into the first decent vinyl store to hit Auckland's main street. Pretty soon all the other shops were all closing and, with the exception of Colin in Victoria St's 'Rock 'n' Roll Records', their people were working at Groovy.

And why not?  They were the true example of the benevolent monopoly.  Huge range, good prices, knowledgeable staff. What more do you need?

Turns out what we didn't need were all those US vinyl imports that started to flood the store in recent years; it wasn't competition from Warehouse or TradeMe, or even MP3 downloads that drove the final nail in: it was foreign exchange deals on those imports that apparently finally broke the bank.

Which means the four stores in each of New Zealand's four main cities might rise again one day like a phoenix.

I hope so, and look forward to it.

UPDATE:  Russell Brown has more details here about Groovy and its demise than you could poke a stylus at.


  1. Yup, a damn shame.

    I've bought my fair share from RG over the years, most by mailorder and lately via their website.

    The opening of their Christchurch store was a real bonus: a cool, retro-decorated oasis in the middle of the city, staffed by hep cats who were so laid back they were almost horizontal.

    [Their website is still taking orders.]

  2. Get a grip.

    noone buys records or CDs any more.

    you of all people should know that.

    or do you think Mikee and Helen should bail them out to a few million or so

    Nope: let's rejoice that another crap business has hit the wall.

    It's called the market.

    It's called freedom

    you should try it sometime

  3. good luck to those hoping to redeem those gift vouchers. as a former music store employee i know theres not much hope there...

    They'll be hard pressed to find a legitimate buyer for a failing music store.

    good luck to them...

  4. To be fair, anonymous, these were not "failing music stores," and despite the once over lightly by the media the problem is not a failed basic business model, but a failed foreign exchange deal, and perhaps a failure to stick to the knitting.

    No reason at all a rationalisation shouldn't see at least three of the four fly again.

  5. Yep, Anonymous is partly righ (though I still buy CD's). As Gillian Welch said (once or twice) "Everything is free now..."

  6. Anonymous is partly righ (though I still buy CD's)

    that's because you're over 30.

    not a failed basic business model, but a failed foreign exchange deal,


    inasmuch as the business model is predicated on buying luxury goods produced overseas, it has been killed by Helen. This is just the first of many corpses that will be lining NZ's streets in the months and years to come.

  7. Good news! Buyers have been found for three of the four stores, Only Auckland holds out, hopfully for not too much longer.


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