Avalanche – Get ready for the future: it is murder

Yes that is a Leonard Cohen reference again. Obviously in business you need to be in control of your own destiny as much as possible and again if events conspire against you there is only so much that can be done. Key to any decisions about Avalanche after Christmas was the future of HMV/FOPP. There is little competition with HMV but as it becomes harder and harder to gauge what to stock and in what quantities so FOPP’s HMV sponsored terms already made it hard to compete. It was always going to be very unlikely the record companies would let them go to the wall but by being given a 2.5% share (reportedly in return for writing off debt) and giving them stock on a “pay for it if you sell it basis” they have made it virtually impossible to compete. This at a time when Simon Fox CEO of HMV is calling for a level playing field !

At the same time the computer games companies showed no support for HMV as they had other outlets so it came as no surprise that HMV suddenly decided to reinvent itself as a music shop again. Going for a bigger share of the 0.39% of the market that is vinyl is all to do with publicity and bandwagon jumping and nothing to do with support for a format that had become almost extinct in HMV and was stuck under a counter at the top of the stairs for so long in FOPP. Certainly given the set of circumstances HMV find themselves in I can’t fault their strategy.

The other half of the perfect storm is the continual erosion of our sales of Scottish bands. My thoughts there are already well documented but in this case I do think it is a short sighted strategy by those bands with ambition to miss out on the valuable job shops can still do or expect them to promote their release in return for the crumbs left after they have realised as many sales as they can. Only time will tell. Of course many other shops rely on ticket sales not only to bring in income but also to bring customers into the shop but that is a ship that has long since sailed.

Everything apart from the selling physical product to customers part has never been better. We should have several announcements very soon showing how highly Avalanche is regarded and I have to thank those who have come forward to help with the ideas we have for moving forward. Clearly I have to try and put Avalanche’s destiny back in our own hands and that may indeed necessitate us moving our energies away to some extent from the whole trying to sell music to people thing.

This is not about high rents in the city centre. The landlord is not only very supportive but has given us a good deal for at least the first three years. Between the state of the economy, the state of the music industry and the state of the high street the future is indeed murder. After recent developments I’m confident that with the support of our customers we can dodge the bullet ! 

I will update the manifesto. It never fails to surprise me how many people refer to it. This time though it will be more of a vision of how things could be !     

One Response to “Avalanche – Get ready for the future: it is murder”

  • Ian Dommett:


    As you mentioned I am sure you have lots of people who are very keen that you should survive and prosper. Always happy to add anything thoughts that might be useful to ensure you keep enhancing the Edinburgh music scene. Your support of new Scottish music, for instance, must be worthy of a Creative Scotland grant!

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