In a time when the music industry seems to have been brought to its knees due to the impact of COVID, vinyl and merch sales have flourished, with independent Australian merch company Soundmerch even going so far as to launch its new Melbourne storefront.
Opening its doors in Collingwood just weeks ago, Soundmerch officially launched its operations by way of a triumphant post-lockdown just last night. Set to provide music-lovers with just about whatever it is their hearts desire, the screen-printing, band t-shirt, and music merch supply company are now looking toward the end of 2021 by way of a number of events, including in-store performances, intimate signings, and more.
Having launched Soundmerch in 2009 as a partnership with a screenprinting business, Machine Industries, before taking over the reins as the company’s sole owner in 2017, industry veteran Tim Everist knows a thing or two about the importance of vinyl, record labels, and giving fans what they want. Having previously worked with labels such as Augogo, MDS, Zomba and Trifekta, and releasing the debut 7’’ from The Avalanches, he’s continued to develop Soundmerch’s reputation and standing within the country, honing in on the webstore aspect, and growing the company’s direct-to-customer album pre-orders with record labels like Virgin, BMG, and Warner.
Not only that though, Soundmerch have also teamed up with US company Merchbar, allowing artists to include their merch on Spotify and Youtube and send daily sales information to ARIA to contribute to artist charting, and also becoming major sponsors of the Soundmerch AMP, and sponsors of Triple R’s Radiothon and The Music Victoria Awards.
“When Covid hit…..touring died off, and we found a massive increase with our online sales,” Everist explains. “The business flipped on its head overnight. The online store went insane and became the main part of what we do. Artists were pushing their merch online, for many it became their main source of income.
“We were the facilitator between bands and their fans. Previously we were all about the production of merch for touring. Then it turned and was all about the production of merch for online. With that came a massive uptake and demand for vinyl records. So we started stocking more and more titles. To the point where we could (and did) open a real life record store. We’re now selling more records than merch! We’ve seen an increase of 600% in vinyl sales.”
With most Soundmerch employees either musicians, graphic designers, or involved in record labels, the company comes well-versed in industry ideals and insights, with Soundmerch facilitating hundreds of records, merchandise and exclusive products across the world both in-store and online, as well as at live shows, festivals and events. In addition, it boasts a massive range of clients, including the likes of Julia Jacklin, Flight Facilities, Tame Impala, Pond, Marlon Willians, Angie McMahon, and Melbourne icons King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
“We’ve been working with Soundmerch since the band started… I remember printing our first run of tees with them!” recalls King Gizzard’s Lucas Harwood. “Tim and Co have been a stalwart on the Melbourne scene for years and this new space and record store is the culmination of years of hard work.
“It’s so nice to see all the local artists they’ve supported over the years so beautifully presented in their new real life record store.”
With the doors officially open now (from 11am-5pm daily, and onward to 7pm on Fridays), Soundmerch have big plans for the future. In addition to continuously expanding its operations, the future holds live performances, signings, gatherings, gallery showcases, and just about anything you could imagine a record store facilitating. Ask Everist if it’s a possibility, and the chances are that the wheels have been in motion for months.
To officially kick things off though, Soundmerch have announced an exclusive instore performance from Maple Glider, set to take place at 4pm AEDT on Saturday, December 11th. Meanwhile, its first official instore signing will be taking place in December, with high-profile exports Amyl and The Sniffers set to grace the store’s humble digs. Specific details about that one will be unveiled via the Soundmerch Instagram page.
In the meantime, if you find yourself in Melbourne any time soon, be sure to find your way off Collingwood’s main strip and into Oxford Street, where Soundmerch will be pulling out all the stops to provide the perfect experience for any music-lover.
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64 Oxford Street
Collingwood, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday, December 11th, 4pm AEDT
Instore performance, all ages
Amyl & The Sniffers
December. Date and time TBA.
Instore signing, all ages