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March 1, 2004 | by  | in Music |
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Buying Music In Wellington

(Manners Mall)
Tucked away in Manners Mall, is an affiliate of the CD Store, so don’t be afraid to head this way with any CD Store vouchers. While the store is a little old and cavernous, it is home to constant sales, with a wide range of CDs retailing on their $12, $17 and $22 tables and DVDs for $19.95 or $27.95. In terms of their catalogue, they have a good selection of dance, popular and alternative, while the country, jazz and blues sections are superb – well stocked with a wide range of gems at a good price.

You can also find an up-to-date and extensive selection of Movies and Music on DVD. Where and the rest of the CD Store chain come into their own is in their efficient and extensive importing service. CDs and DVDs can be obtained from the USA within two weeks, and with the exchange rate as it is, there has never been a better time to import. Also for the dance enthusiast, Chelsea Records sits on the back of the store, with a huge selection of dance vinyl and some very knowledgeable staff.

Real Groovy

(250 Cuba St, (04) 385 2020)

Groovy boasts New Zealand’s best secondhand selection of goods as well as brand new merchandise. This extends to cassette, vinyl, DVD, books and compact discs – assorted clothing is also available. I would have to say I was stoked with the Auckland store’s selection when I visited last month, however, our Wellington Real Groovy does a mighty fine job, and ordering your favourite picks is not lost on these guys in the slightest.

If you jump online at you can search through over 1,000,000 titles new and used. I strongly recommend a Club Card. For $5 you can join and become part of the points system the shop offers. This also allows you to buy online (including free delivery throughout the country). Buy and trade via the points the store’s point system offers. Clued up staff, wide selection of genres.

Slow Boat Records

(183 Cuba Street, (04) 385 1330)

Last time I bought a CD here, it was Joy Division’s Closer. I couldn’t find it anywhere else at the time. The guy at the counter remarked, ‘That’s a classic – we always try and keep one of everything the artist has done.’ This reflects the attitude of Slow Boat Records: small, intimate and completely knowledgeable. Online at they offer ordering through Netsounds (UK), GEMM and MusicStack (both US).

NZ’s longest running independent music store, Slow Boat Records has collected lots of rarities, signed merch and NZ-only releases. New and second-hand vinyl, CDs, tapes and videos are available. A must for music fans with nostalgic tastes.


(326 Lambton Quay, (04) 473 8250)

Lambton Quay is home to both of the Wellington stores, absorbing the clientele of suits and naïve teens alike. Upper Lambton (Willis end) boasts the better of the two stores, the spacious but ultimately void of substance, chief Sounds store. It’s glossy, hollow and boring, barely venturing out of its extensive Pop/Rock section. Lower Lambton (Parliament end) houses the compact, fast moving, panic-room Sounds store. Their ordering system is shite. Avoid. Tie-ins with Rip It Up and the Satellite Media Corporation (the folks who run Squeeze and Space) mean that the media mirror the store’s promotions. Its DVD selection is respectable, but ultimately reflects its top-40 attitude. Non-import albums retail at about $32.95 and otherwise bargain CDs of low cost price have a tendency to be over-priced to rob unsuspecting customers where possible. Loyalty card (buy 10 get 1 free), but no books, nothing secondhand, no specialities and no service.


(Manners Mall, (04) 471 0909)

Much like Sounds really, only marginally better. An international chain store located in Manners Mall opposite its evil foe, In fact, it’s assumed both stores operate at a loss, staying in business to saturate the market and not give up the edge. Famous for its non-import bargains, sold at the slim margin of $24.95 (as forced to by the big red shed). A solid back-catalogue, loyalty card, DVD selection but inferior ordering system to CD Store.

The Warehouse

(Cnr Tory & Cable St, (04) 385 3668)

The Darth Vader of the music retail industry. The Warehouse isn’t out there to make friends or encourage friendly competition. It sells most of its CDs below what it paid for them. This strategy is known as a ‘loss-leader’, a tactic employed to bring customers into the store in the hope that they will buy other goods, and it’s ripping the balls off both independent and chain music stores. I can hear you already: ‘But Jon….’ I know, I know, it’s hard to resist, and we’ve all done it. You head into the Warehouse to buy some Damp Rid for your less-than-habitable flat and your curiosity gets the best of you at the Music Bar. The best of Bob Dylan: $15. The best of the Velvet Underground: $15. The Clash singles: $10. Pink’s ‘Trouble’ single: $2. What’s a poor student to do? Spare your conscience the trouble. For commerce students only.


Merely an online establishment, somewhat specialising in New Zealand music. Funky, but it cannot compete with Real Groovy’s second hand selection and free delivery. Plus its lack of physical presence voids the mystique of going in to see the hot record store girl. Sigh.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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