Archive for March, 2013
First three months of the year gone and already I’ve been getting asked for a best sellers chart so here are the top 15 ( bit early for a top 30) of releases from 2013.
1. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
3. Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart
4. Biffy Clyro – Opposites
5. Mogwai – Les Revenants
6. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time
7. Atoms for Peace – Amok
8. Eels – Wonderful Glorious
9. Low – The Invisible Way
10. Yo La Tengo – Fade
11. David Bowie – The Next Day
12. L.Pierre – The Island Come True
13. Edwyn Collins – Understated
14. Conquering Animal Sound – On Floating Bodies
15. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
Five of the top six are Scottish bands and 8 of the top 15. I’m sure Mr Moffat will be happy sandwiched between David Bowie and Edwyn Collins !
Any not on the website already I will add later this week.
At the heart of any good independent record shop is the fans. Take them away and what is left will not sustain a high street shop. This new House Of Love album of course is only one amongst many each week but it is a good example of the sort of thing that would not only bring people to shops but hopefully would bring other sales too.
Of maybe a dozen people I’ve spoken to about this and would buy vinyl if they knew about it less than half actually knew it existed. On a matter of principle customers who asked me if there was vinyl were told it was only available from the label.
Again this obsession with selling D2C (direct to customer) means many fans are missed. How are all but the keenest of fans to find out about it ? This is what shops are good at and again I’m sure it would sell well to the many visitors we get many of whom would be unaware there even was a new album.
Ironically of all the labels I could think of Cherry Red would be the label that would benefit most from having a large presence in a shop. They have so much good stuff that people just don’t know exists but it can not be for the shop to showcase the label and take all the risk.
If I owned Cherry Red I’d be consigning as much stock as I could to shops as they would be doing their part just dedicating the space to the label. And if I owned HMV I’d be filling those vast spaces with the entire Cherry Red catalogue.
Shops aren’t asking for favours they will simply do a far better job at letting the wider public know that releases are available. Clearly the desperation to keep HMV going recognises that but then both sides make a complete arse of how they go about it.
My eldest daughter is called Christine for several reasons. One of them is the House Of Love.
Contrary to what people may think I have no problem with artists selling online. Where a problem arises is when artists put shops at a disadvantage preselling themselves but then expect their support come the release. I’m not the only one to think like this and I was very sad to see my good friends at Spillers being berated by Billy Bragg of all people over the plans for his latest album. It started like this
Pre-order my new album Tooth & Nail directly from me and get a free signed print http://www.billybragg.co.uk/toothandnail.php …
This was picked up not by a shop but a blogger about the music industry.
@billybragg But I thought you loved record shops & their role in our cultural community. Why cut them out? Not trolling, genuinely curious @justplayed I do, but not everyone has a local record shop. Just trying to offer people online an alternative to the Big Ugly A’s
Only then did Spillers make a very valid comment
Billy then dragged in RSD rather erroneously and a heated debate ensued.
What is clearly a bogus argument is that artists “need” to sell online or what would fans without record shops do. The answer of course is they would buy from the websites of record shops. Now I’m not saying there aren’t other valid reasons for artists selling online just that the reason Billy gives here is not one of them. As is correctly pointed out what it in fact does is either encourage fans to buy online rather than go to a shop or expect fans to miss out on the extras by supporting their local record shop.
Interestingly I’ve seen no better support for the “buy from a record shop’s website” point than from Constellation home to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Unfortunately Godspeed played 14 dates selling their album at the gig and Constellation sold their entire stock before a record shop was given the release but this is what the label said.
“Constellaton and GYBE care deeply about keeping indie record shops alive and viable – please support them by requesting/reserving the album, or if you do not live anywhere near a good indie store, check out the many stores that do also have online shops.”
Artists can obviously choose to sell to their fans directly but all shops are asking is that they don’t pretend they “have to” so fans can get the releases. By doing so they draw people away from their local record shops that much is clear. Not all shops agree I grant you but frankly those that make the bulk of their money from other things (second hand, tickets etc ) have no reason to feel so strongly. And Billy if you happen to read this those Spillers folk are lovely people brave enough to say what others think. Something I’m sure you approve of.
Already getting asked a lot what we are doing and to be honest as yet nothing is confirmed. I’m thinking of doing something different to in-stores this year as there isn’t much left to do there. I have an idea or two for something I hope people will be just as happy with.
Getting lots of offers but most are just attempts at self promotion. Record Store Day is about supporting high street record shops and not about releasing something or holding an event ON Record Store Day to cash in on the surrounding publicity.
I’m organising the national poster campaign so I’m not sure what people are meant to know about the releases as I’ve obviously seen lists already but there’s certainly some good stuff along with things I’m amazed to see.
While there is a lot of vinyl that is not meant to be the focus and certainly the irony of HMV jumping on the vinyl bandwagon after the RSD coverage last year was not lost on shops. I did point out that many or maybe even most of the RSD shops don’t support new music on a weekly basis and was told that if the criteria was too stringent there would be very few shops indeed. Maybe however that should be the message we are trying to get across.
BLEECKER BOB’S IS CLOSING: LEGENDARY RECORD STORE TO BE REPLACED BY FROZEN YOGURT CHAIN STORE
Hazel Sheffield and Emily Judem’s For The Records is a bittersweet tribute to Bleecker Bob’s record store and the man who nurtured it for over four decades.
Perfect for each other, they lived a block apart, but would never meet. They lived in different worlds. His was Facebook, hers was Twitter.