Sanity closure: Australians react to end of iconic music, entertainment stores

Home Economy Sanity closure: Australians react to end of iconic music, entertainment stores
Sanity closure: Australians react to end of iconic music, entertainment stores

Iconic Australian music and entertainment retailer Sanity was there for vinyl records and cassette tapes, and for CDs and DVDs, but despite hanging on for so long, its stores have been unable to survive the streaming era.

Earlier this week the company announced it was closing its physical doors and moving to become an online-only store.

In response, Australians saddened by the news are sharing their fond memories of the chain, which opened its first Sanity-branded store in 1992 in Doncaster, Melbourne, but has a history that dates back to 1980.

“This was the place I’d buy my CDs and CD singles from when I was a teenager,” one man from Canberra said. “I loved going in and seeing the top 20 albums of the week and the option of putting on the headphones to listen to an album before buying it. Ahh the memories. Thank you Sanity.”

“Omgsh the early 2000 days walking into Sanity checking out all the new singles and albums. Listening through the headphones they use to have …. Ohhhh the memories. My kids will never understand,” a Perth woman wrote.

A woman from Melbourne added: “This is so sad. I just bought CDs for Christmas presents from a store. Yes, people do still buy CDs. I will miss the record store experience.”

Some said they weren’t surprised Sanity stores were no longer viable.

“Glad the brand lives on through e-commerce, but sad to hear so many jobs will be lost. Unfortunately not all businesses can survive in this digital age we find ourselves in,” a Sydney man said.

“Was only a matter of time. CDs & DVDs are ancient now thanks to Spotify & Netflix. Thanks for your service over the years helping me buy music,” a Victorian woman said.

“Bummer. I was joking last year that I was surprised sanity was still a thing, sad to see it closing down physically though,” someone else added.

“Sad to see you go but it was inevitable,” said another.

Unsurprisingly, the closure of Sanity’s physical stores has prompted discussion about whether they are still needed.

“Have not bought a CD for years, no need, just use Spotify,” one person said.

But collectors and Australians in rural areas without access to high-speed internet have fiercely argued the need for in-person shopping.

“Thanks for nothing streaming and digital. I’m a physical collector and like to have my own personal copies of things … laugh at me all you want …. But at least I’m not lazy to get up and put in a movie in a Blu-ray,” one collector said.

“A lot of towns without NBN are going to be very sad,” added someone else.

From former store managers to junior staff in high school, many claimed Sanity was the best job they had ever had.

One woman from South Australia said listening to Snow Patrol, Keith Urban, Leona Lewis, Sean Kingston and the Ministry of Sound’s The Annual would always remind her of her time working there.

A Victorian woman said: “I loved working for sanity, one job I will always treasure along with the friendships and memories I made along the way.”

“Incredibly grateful for the skills I learned, the free gigs I attended and the musicians I met,” wrote a West Australian woman who worked there for eight years.

Sanity’s remaining 50 stores will close by the end of April.

“With our customers shifting to digital for their visual and music content consumption, and with diminishing physical content available to sell to our customer, it has made it impossible to continue with our physical stores,” Ray Itaoui, who purchased the company 13 years ago, said in a statement.

“Our online business – sanity.com.au – will continue to operate, and will service the many loyal customers the brand has continued to be dedicated to over the decades.

“Our priority right now is to ensure each of our team members knows exactly what this means for their career and employment future.”

Mr Itaoui said orders placed at stores, including pre-orders, would be shipped out through the online business and gift vouchers would be redeemable online.

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