A Fight We Can’t Win

rickredbeardWhen HMV/FOPP was in administration it gave me a glimpse of how things might be. Run by the administrators and only stocking releases they felt were essential all vinyl was deemed unnecessary and Scottish artists such as Rick Redbeard and Conquering Animal Sound weren’t stocked at all. The result for Avalanche was huge sales of the new Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit albums on vinyl and probably an extra 50 sales of the Rick Redbeard album mostly on CD. I could tell they were extra sales as so many of the customers commented on FOPP not having it and interestingly more than half bought other things nearly all local Scottish bands.

Many commented how FOPP was nearer to their work but they would be in more often now they had seen how they had been missing out on local releases. Some did return for Conquering Animal Sound but by late summer when Hilco took over and consignment meant FOPP could stock whatever they wanted without worrying about payment all these “extra” customers had melted away. 

I didn’t mind competing with the “old” FOPP as they never got enough stock in of obvious big sellers so would be sold out by Monday and might not get more all week. No matter how big on vinyl an album would be they never took more than 5 copies. We might take 50. These are now changed times and there is no prospect things will get better so we just have to accept this is simply not an area we can apply our limited resources. I’ve had very kind investors offer to help with both location and stock but it simply isn’t possible to compete when the competition isn’t having to pay for stock and in the case of HMV isn’t paying anything like the market rent.

This is really just a preamble to what we hope to do and an explanation for all those who can’t understand why we aren’t doing well “now vinyl has made a comeback”. We stocked new vinyl simply because that was what we did but now vinyl is used as a way to look “cool” a la Urban Outfitters. That as much as 30% of all vinyl bought is never played hints at a large section of buyers who simply “collect” an artist or see buying as an image thing. Old people will shudder to hear that most young people claiming to have a collection of “vinyls” own less than 20 !

So we won’t be opening a shop in Rose Street selling new vinyl so what will we do ?

4 Responses to “A Fight We Can’t Win”

  • Malc D:

    How about downsizing and focusing 100% on Scottish music (old and new)? It would be a USP that could work? Or is there not enough of a market there?

  • The games up…time to give up.

  • There has been a big demand for a one stop website for Scottish bands for a while and many see Avalanche as the obvious “go-to” site for that but it would be a lot of work for relatively little return as more and more we are used as a reference point for what is good in Scottish music but people then just go away and listen rather than buy. With most bands now aggressively selling directly to their fans it would also be unsustainable to have that as the USP of the shop unfortunately. Supporting new local bands will however always be at the core of what we do whatever that may be.

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