Golden Discs has been Ireland’s largest and most popular music store chain since, well, records began.
The business was established by Jack Fitzgerald and Tom Rogers under the name; the Trans-Atlantic Record Agency (TARA) in Dublin, Ireland in 1962, and today caters to a global customer base across more than 40 countries.
Their first store was on Dublin’s Tara Street, in the location of George O’Reilly
’s original Tara Records, synonymous with the celebrity appearance of Nat King Cole in 1955.
At a time when a wave of Rock & Roll and vinyl records were influencing world culture in a way never before seen by the music industry, the business was immediately popular amongst a music hungry Irish youth, initially importing all its big sellers direct from North America. In due course, the UK scene also started to boom with the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Jack & Tom were to continue using the name TARA, along with various others (US Records on Capel St./Discount Records on North Earl Street/Videotone on Grafton Street) for the first few stores until 1966, when the name The Golden Disc was borne on the front of the first store in the first shopping center in Ireland; Stillorgan Shopping Center.
“The Golden Disc” was originally associated with an accolade presented to artists upon sale of 500k vinyl albums, which at the time was very rare and impressive, thus a seemingly fitting name for the new store considering the achievements of the company in the previous years and indeed the then vision for Stillorgan S.C. Each and every store thereafter (and to this day) was to be entitled with the name Golden Discs.
Through the late 70’s and 80’s Golden Discs was involved in all facets of the music business from ticket sales and charts to cassette exclusivities and of course VHS home movies, and quickly grew its reach nationwide. As the years rolled on, they also unwittingly started one of the world’s first global home delivery services; Discount Music Mail - from Bray, Co. Wicklow!
The introduction of CDs and DVDs in the 80’s and 90’s provided newer and various media formats for the modern Irish listener, and despite the arrival of the likes of HMV and Virgin Megastores into the Irish market, Golden Discs were soon to dominate the Irish music landscape with over 30 stores catering to over 10 counties in both the north and south of the island.
Come the late naughties however, the widespread adoption of the internet and the launch of file sharing and streaming platforms radically changed the music distribution model. One by one the big international brands soon went to the wall. Free music was now available to anyone with a modem and there was no denying the immediate impact this had on the business.
It was also at this time that the business was taken over by Stephen Fitzgerald, the son of Jack, who had spent many years in the states monitoring the evolution of the industry. Tough times lay ahead and Golden Discs went through a punishing and testing period in examinership in 2009 but managed to reorganize itself and its brand to cater for an albeit smaller yet exceptionally loyal customer following, looking for both international box office titles as well as global Irish artists and local homegrown talent.
Since the dark days of the late naughties, the brand has reinvented itself into the entire world of home entertainment expanding its offering to everything from collectors’ vinyl, to apparel, merch and everything in between. It is currently growing year on year, appreciating that the modern consumer desires both digital and physical music (& movies), however also craves the knowledge and customer service that an established retailer can offer. It is important to mention the key role that experienced and passionate staff had to play in this evolution, as it is through their long serving hard work that the company retained its product expertise and resultant loyal following.
The success story of Golden Discs is testament not only to the vision of Jack & Tom, and indeed Stephen and the entire staff pool over the years, but also to the millions of Irish music lovers that walk through its doors and log-on to its website every year in support of this fully Irish-owned and operated company.
Long may it last… and thank you to all our customers for their ongoing loyalty and support.
Golden Discs today operates 21 stores nationwide
and online at goldendiscs.ie
(domestic) and goldendiscs.com (international).