Reaching A Wider Audience

I’ve been playing the new Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells album a lot in the shop since I bought a copy from a journalist (shops are rarely sent promos though strangely in the last month that has improved) and it has amazed me how many people when they ask who it is have not heard of Aidan or indeed Arab Strap. Several bought other albums instead so taken were they with Aidan’s vocal and delivery. Obviously many of my customers knew exactly who it was but it shows that even with an established artist on an established label there is always the potential to reach a far wider audience. Edinburgh and Scotland has some great bands and some very good bands that could be great but there needs to be a concerted effort to reach more people.

At the moment the average bands with good management always ready to jump on the next bandwagon are wiping the floor with the more talented less savvy/well connected bands. There are success stories of course with Broken Records signing to 4AD (admittedly with management in place) and Dan/Withered Hand surely soon to conquer the world now that he has been established as an artist of exceptional talent after South By South West. Of course record shops are a great way for a band to have their music heard but sadly there are very few left in Scotland and HMV and FOPP ‘s policy means that despite there being a lot of good people working there it doesn’t filter through to what is stocked and played.

The answer could well lie in well placed listening posts, other shops selling music and pubs, restaurants and shops being encouraged more to support local artists. We have sold everything from Beirut to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers because people have heard them played in other shops as background music. Now the annual pilgrimage to Austin Texas to break a few Scottish artists in America has finished arts bodies can maybe now go back to breaking Scottish bands in Scotland and then working outwards to the UK and Europe.

One response to the manifesto from bands is that for those lower down the pecking order a showcase of emerging Scottish bands in London supported with a fraction of the effort that goes into SXSW would be welcomed. I don’t think anything like that happens already but I will find out. I was shown the forms for Creative Scotland and I must admit I can see why artists are put off applying. I have compiled a list of suggestions (in response to the manifesto) of ways the various arts bodies could help which I will publish soon. Some of course they may already do as again there is a problem that people do not know what is available. I do on reflection find it very odd that Avalanche has never been given a poster for any arts body advertising what funds and help are available but they think twitter is a suitable medium to do this.


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