The local North Melbourne record store “doing it their way”

The local North Melbourne record store “doing it their way”
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Record Store Day (RSD) took place on April 22, but according to North Melbourne’s Heartland Records owner, Paul Cook, it just isn’t what it used to be.

The difficulty of being involved in RSD is partly due to major labels reportedly taking the day away from what it originally was intended for, and has seen many local stores no longer willing to participate.

But despite its many complicated layers, Mr Cook said that while he doesn’t participate, he uses the day to focus on reflecting on what the celebration was originally created for.

“Record Store is meant to be about people supporting local record stores, and while it is still a good day, it is not the same,” Mr Cook said.


Heartland Records is in a good location though, and there is a great sense of community. People here are great too, and they support us on all the other 364 days.


Mr Cook has had the business in North Melbourne for nearly 10 years, after moving it from its previous location in West Melbourne, where it was situated for 20 years.

As someone who fell into the industry due to his love for music, which stems back to when he purchased his first record at the age of 10, Mr Cook said that despite the changing industry he had learnt to never give up.

“When I first opened it wasn’t the best time as CDs were getting really popular, which wasn’t really a passion of mine, and it was quite difficult to import vinyl records, which were no longer manufactured in Australia on a big scale as the popularity of CDs grew,” he said.

“But, I don’t give up, and despite it starting out pretty tough, records have started to pick up and have become popular in the past 10 years.”

This surge in popularity has seen Heartland Records continue to make its name in the Melbourne record store scene, despite the rising cost of records.

Much of this is due to Mr Cook’s drive to showcase the importance of going into your local bricks-andmortar record store, and experiencing music the way it used to be.

As well as having an impressive collection of records, the store sells a decent amount of second-hand CDs, a smaller number of DVDs, and some cleaning products and turntables.

Mr Cook can also assist visitors with cleaning records and flattening warped records.

As for the future, Mr Cook is simply focused on sharing the magic of vinyl with fellow enthusiasts, adding, “even if I wasn’t doing this, I would still be buying records”.

Heartland Records is located at 420/422 Victoria St, North Melbourne. •

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John Buncle

John Buncle

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