After months of huffing and puffing, and the odd false start, Amazon Australia is finally open for business.
The online retail monolith quietly launched its platform Down Under on Tuesday and began taking orders from its 24,000-square-meter fulfilment centre in Melbourne’s Dandenong South, with the promise of “millions” of products, big discounts and on-day delivery (depending, of course, on where you live).
Its early days, the Amazon Music Unlimited streaming service isn’t here yet, but the buzz is palpable. What does it all mean for Australia’s music industry? The Industry Observer checked in.
Australian Music Retailers Association (AMRA)
AMRA is a bit bemused by the media excitement about Amazon opening in Australia. Record stores have been competing with Amazon for years, so this is nothing new for us. That they are now ‘over here’ is, for us, just a detail. What we have learned over those years is that music lovers want to buy their music and listen to their music in the way that suits them. Downloading was king, now streaming is taking that crown, but people are still buying CDs and the growth in vinyl has been exponential. There is even a new vinyl pressing plant slated to open in Melbourne next year to keep up with demand.
Our job as record stores is to be different to Amazon, to create a great place to visit that’s all about music and that’s what record stores are working their hearts out doing. Amazon can’t compete with that because that’s not what they do. Amazon is all things to all people. Record stores are specialists. Amazon is transactional: you want it, you buy it, it’s delivered. Record stores are about being an experience.
Amazon can’t compete with flicking through the racks, hearing a local band live before they make it big, hanging with other music lovers and just talking nonsense about your favourite bands, and Amazon can’t compete with Record Store Day. So for record stores in Australia this is just business as usual. We know who and what Amazon is because we’ve competed with it for years and record stores have honed what they offer to be different and offer something that music lovers want and love.