A Lesson In Pop Culture From Brisbane's Newest Vinyl Safe Haven 'Glitter Records'

16 December 2022 | 12:41 pm | Emma Whines

“I just thought - deep breath - I’m going to try this in real life.”

Photo Credit: Mitch Fresta

Photo Credit: Mitch Fresta

If you stroll through the small laneways tucked away off Ann St in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, you’ll find an array of specialty bars, cafes, and eclectic stores offering nick-nacks and innovative products. From hairdressers and florists to bubble tea connoisseurs, each small business amplifies the feeling of community within the valley, and now, there is a new kid on the block, adding to that sense of wonder. 

Glitter Records is a specialty store mainly selling vinyl with a few pop culture items thrown in for good measure. Originally founded online by owner Riley Fitzgerald in 2020, it quickly morphed into a space where music lovers could go to find that perfect record they had been searching for or just a place to find like-minded music lovers. Noticing the demand, Fitzgerald decided to explore the record world more. 

“I think it just started as a confidence thing. I thought I’d test the waters online first because I’m just a big music fan, and over the last six years, occasionally, I’ve bought and sold a record online. It really just built from there. I started a Depop, and I just started thinking about it from more of a business perspective, and the response we got was just so positive, I just thought, 'Okay, I’ll just keep growing it.' 

“I started by selling a big record collection that was part mine, part my brothers, and from that, I really figured out what people were interested in. A lot of these records were like '80s records. Like Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. You start to notice that some of these records are really hard to find… and that’s what we aim to do - just provide quality records. It’s a personal challenge of mine to get the best record we can for people because there are all these things that can go wrong with the quality of the vinyl that it’s pressed on,” he explains. 

From there, Fitzgerald understood that while people love records, they don’t always necessarily want to hunt for them. Finding sought-after vinyl that was in near-perfect condition and offering them up to collectors in a one-stop shop saw his online business grow and made him think that maybe it was time for a bigger step.

“I just thought - deep breath - I’m going to try this in real life.” 

And now, his leap of faith sits squarely in the California Lane precinct with ‘Glitter Records’ in big letters across the shop's window. Walking inside, you'll be greeted by Fitzgerald or his employee, Beth Davis, sporting big smiles that make you feel welcome and at home. 

Photo Credit: Mitch Fresta

“It was just a process of learning by doing. It’s so refreshing doing the real-life stuff, I feel like you’ve got to learn either way, and this has just been such a wonderful experience. Interacting with people, and people just love records, you know?”

Indeed, record sales have been off the charts in recent years, with the number of records sold in the past year reaching a new high since 1999. It seems that music lovers and collectors alike are diving back into the world of records in droves, but what drives this new wave of vinyl love? Fitzgerald has a sneaky feeling it has a lot to do with nostalgia - something that he tried to inject into the atmosphere of Glitter Records. 

“I went to a festival once, I believe it was Dark Mofo, I could be wrong, and the band Pussy Riot was playing, and the lead singer was talking to the crowd, and she said: ‘Nostalgia can also be like a sickness, or like an addiction.’ Which I think is true, but It can also just be what’s good,” he says. 

“It’s hard to tell in 2022 what the really good albums are, but in ten years' time, it might start to become obvious, and then in fifty years' time, you can see like, of course, that person was a genius, maybe they were misunderstood, maybe they had a number one record, but time always sorts it out. Looking back, you might be able to see that people were ahead of their time."

It's not as easy as it may seem, but Fitzgerald explains his process of selecting and curating the records well, aiming for a balance between old and new, juggling between what's popular and what's interesting.

“You have to consider what might be nostalgic for one person isn't for another. For a 16-year-old person who is listening to a Beatles record for the first time - and there are a lot of people buying those old records - it’s new to them. 

“People's tastes are always getting nudged by pop culture as well, so obviously people will always love Rumours, but if Stevie Nicks does something, or someone samples a song from that album, it might get popular again. It’s about reading trends and knowing what people love. There are so many different types of collectors, whether they’re online or in-store, and you really realise how different some people are.” 

“It’s the best feeling having a kid come into the store and ask for a Nirvana record,” says Davis, chiming in to agree with her boss. 

“Yeah. I always ask Beth, ‘Who's gonna be The Beatles for our generation?’ ‘Who is gonna be the next classic?’ So I think it’s just about building up a library of the classics in our own store and hopefully in people's homes as well.”

Glitter Records is now open in California Lane, Brisbane. You can visit their online shop here