A Head for Music
We meet Richie Owens the manager of Head, one of the latest new additions to the Ilac Centre for a quick coffee opposite the store. In case you haven’t heard of them before Head are a new chain of independent music and film stores who also specialise in some good quality audio equipment. Richie has a retail background and had previously worked for the likes of HMV, but I ask him what the product range is and who his standard customers are?
While it’s no secret that CD and DVD sales are declining worldwide though they are still selling well. However, there is a resurgence in the growth of vinyl sales. What was once was the preserve of audiophiles and collectors has now crossed over into the mainstream. Younger customers are buying record players and want records to play on them, while they might be streaming on their phones they now want to have the physical record. As Richie says a piece of vinyl is an event, the artwork, the feel of the disc, the richness of the sound, the crackle as the needle drops.
While the latest chart releases sell well Head’s stock and trade is the more obscure back catalogue items beloved of collectors and completists. The store has a broad ordering services and even offers free delivery for purchases over €30. They also try to use their central location in the middle of the Ilac Centre, just off Henry Street to help showcase local and emerging acts. In store gigs and signings are a regular feature and take place most Thursday evenings.
Head also have a great relationship with suppliers for the phenomenally popular “Record Store Day”, meaning that they tend to get in those limited edition releases that are guaranteed to sell out. It’s something they plan to build toward for the new Ilac Centre store for next year, including more in-store events and promotions.
While only open a few weeks I ask Richie how he’s found the Ilac since they’ve opened. He’s delighted with how things have gone, strong footfall, plenty of good new places for lunch and a shopping centre he describes as “rejuvenated” . There are a range of new businesses, the centre has been a pleasant surprise that’s delivering customers from the centre’s passing trade.
Taking a quick browse around the store itself you certainly notice the range of titles, whether on record, CD or DVD as well as a very attractive set of record players that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Mad Men. Given the range and quality of the product it’s safe to say that despite the rise of digital shops like Head should ensure that the record store connoisseur will still have some great places to shop in town for years to come.