Last Shop Standing 6th edition‏ – What has changed for Avalanche since the book came out in 2009 ?

I was recently asked the question “What has changed for Avalanche since the book came out in 2009 ?” for the 6th edition of the Graham Jones book Last Shop Standing. It is as concise as I could muster and will come as no surprise to many of you. 

Since 2009 the biggest change for Avalanche has been the propping up of HMV/FOPP by record companies, labels and often landlords. Avalanche has been used to competing with shops in prime locations and getting better deals because of their size for over two decades but to now have to compete with a company often paying little or no rent and not paying for stock until sold is simply not feasible leading us more than ever in 2014 to pursue areas where we are not in direct competition such as posters and second hand vinyl. 

Since 2009 the “old skool” indies with new stock as their focus and supporting new music their aim have continued to decline the length of the country from One Up in Aberdeen to Rounder in Brighton while any new shops tend to be second hand in focus, concentrating on reissues when stocking new product and with little interest in the rewarding but far less profitable matter of breaking new artists. 
Of course this is compounded by the artists themselves selling directly to their fanbase making it ever harder for shops to grow support for a new artist organically. At the other end of the spectrum with major artists also adept at selling “direct to customer” shops are left with nothing but the crumbs which is not a sustainable position. While in the US some large retailers did make a stand over the Beyonce album release schedule it has yet to happen in the UK though Hilco/HMV CEO Paul McGowan did express disapproval on twitter. 

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