MITCHEL Eaton can remember a time in June 2003 when music fans formed a long snaking line outside Kotara's JB Hi-Fi store to purchase a CD.
The queue was a peculiar mix of hard rock and metal heads and arty student types, eager to grab a copy of Metallica's often-maligned St Anger album or Radiohead's Hail To The Thief.
In his 18 years of working at JB Hi-Fi, it was the biggest day Eaton ever witnessed.
"We sold hundreds in a week," Eaton recalls. "It was just a different time."
Today streaming services like Spotify and Apple dominate music consumption and listening to your favourite act's latest release is as easy as clicking a button on your smartphone.
However, there remains a passionate and sizable consumer base who remain dedicated to the humble record store. And a continually growing audience who adorn the old-school pleasure and tangibility of vinyl.
Sales in vinyl albums have increased annually since 2010. Last year 860,000 were sold, a growth of 15 per cent on 2017, according to the Australian Recording Industry Association. In response ARIA launched a vinyl albums chart in April.
It's that swelling market of vinyl enthusiasts that Eaton was attempting to attract when he opened Hiss & Crackle Records in May, right in the heart of Wallsend's village-like main drag of Nelson Street.
Hiss & Crackle is everything a good record shop used to be, and should be. New and second-hand vinyl records of all genres - classic rock, punk, metal, indie, country, blues, soul and roots - line the walls in homemade shelves.
While vinyl constitutes for three-quarters of sales, Hiss & Crackle also stock CDs and even the humble cassette, which Eaton says has made a mini comeback.
"I think it's a retro thing for 15-year-olds," he says. "I don't know if Guardians Of The Galaxy kicked it off, but there seems to be a lot of kids driving around in old Toyotas with cassette players in their cars."
Eaton is also hoping to foster the local music scene with a Newcastle artist section at the front of his store and a small stage at the back, which hosts a monthly open mic night and album launches.
A four-band punk showcase on June 28, featuring Low-Key Affair and Jones The Cat, sold out and locals acts Kevin Taylor and The Viper Creek Band have also graced the stage.
On July 20 Newcastle punks Bitchcraft will perform an acoustic show and live acts are scheduled for the Wallsend Winter Fair on August 11.
"It was one of the first things I wanted to do," Eaton says while playing Newcastle indie artist Lachlan X. Morris' album Premeditations.
"When I was looking for a space I had to have a stage because I wanted more than something playing. I wanted to be able to engage."
The stage also served another purpose. During the day it houses a children's table with canyons and paper for colouring in. It's all part of the father-of-two's philosophy to make Hiss & Crackle a family-friendly experience.
Eaton's two sons Lucian, 8, and Cash, 5, can often been found after school hanging out in the shop playing their favourite Ramones records on the store stereo.
Being able to share his love of music with his sons and wife Stacey was one of the main motivations behind opening an independent store.
"I got to the point in my life where I wanted to reevaluate things and get a life work balance and see my boys," he says. "So I wanted to spend more time with them and it's been awesome that they can come in here and be part of the shop."
Rather than compete with other Newcastle independent record shops, Eaton is working to band them together.
In the next month he plans to launch a Newcastle version of the Diggin' Melbourne and Diggin' Sydney guides, which lists record shops, information on their products and their locations on a map.
Eaton hopes to include the likes of Abicus in Darby Street, The Mosh Pit at Cardiff and Bayside Collect at Warners Bay on the Newcastle vinyl guide which could be downloaded or available at the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre and at record fairs.
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In the meantime the Wallsend resident wants to continue spinning records and growing his customer base that already extends to the Hunter Valley and Central Coast.
"It's the best job in the world," Eaton says with a smile. "It's not a bad way to make a living, sitting around talking about music and listening to records."