Crowdfunding saves Melbourne Basement Discs record store

“We had no ability to remortgage or borrow against anything after two years of terrible cash flow and reduced revenue,” she said. “I looked at loans to try to raise money and for the past two years the best I could do was 19% interest. We were just digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

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Block Arcade owner Grant Cohen said Basement Discs’ business has been struggling for some time, especially since the advent of online music streaming.

“We believe in Basement Discs and the story of Basement Discs is that we try to do whatever we can to help them,” he said. “We don’t want to see them as a charity case because they wouldn’t either. The money owed is $10,000 for 12 months, which is very little for the huge space they occupy.

Musician Alison Ferrier was in the store when she heard about Basement Discs’ problems. She proposed a crowdfunding campaign.

“I’m an indie musician, and they’ve always been very supportive of me, storing my records and doing in-store performances there,” Ferrier said.

“I just remember once [Bennett] just telling me how awful things were and that maybe this was the end of the road for them. She just felt defeated and exhausted and didn’t know if she could carry on.

Music lovers have rallied to support Basement Discs.

Music lovers have rallied to support Basement Discs. Credit:Meredith O’Shea

Ferrier and her husband, musician Jeff Lang, launched a “Save Basement Discs” crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000. They raised $25,000 for the store in one week.

“Independent record stores are hugely important,” Ferrier said. “If all the independent record stores closed, the only outlet we would have would be online sales. If I walked past the Basement Discs entrance, down this alley, and saw a “For Rent” sign, I would be devastated. I thought I couldn’t be the only one feeling this.

Bennett said she was hesitant to take part in the crowdfunding campaign because the extent of the store’s problems were “humiliating and embarrassing”.

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“I thought what if no one donates? There are so many great and worthy causes out there, who really cares about a little record store in the whole scheme of things? “, She said.

Bennett said she couldn’t believe the store’s level of support and was now confident that Basement Discs would stay open.

“We were stunned; completely, completely overwhelmed, humiliated beyond belief,” she said. “It’s not even the donations, it’s the beautiful messages that people put directly on the site that just made such an incredible psychological difference for us to make us realize that we have to keep going, people actually care about this that we do. ”

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