Archive for May, 2015
Yesterday we had four German girls looking at the vinyl for ages. They pulled out all the new Beatles albums in particular and after much discussion settled on “Let It Be”. Half an hour later they were still looking, excitedly chatting, pulling out albums they recognised, taking photos and generally enjoying themselves which of course is hard to begrudge. Eventually they returned to the new LPs and after more discussion put “Let It Be” back in the rack in the wrong place and the wrong way round !
I’d seen an older couple waiting to get to the same rack and immediately the girls left the guy walked over picking up a new album and holding it up to his wife. I went to put the Beatles album back in the right place and see what he was holding up so excitedly but before I’d had chance his wife had taken a photo and they too had left.
A minute later one of the German girls returned having I suspected second thoughts about passing on “Let It Be” but instead she brought a second hand Johnny Hates Jazz LP to the counter for £3.
Make of it what you will but without doubt the majority of the public, even those of an age to remember the “old days”, now use record shops in a completely different way and little of it has to do with buying anything !
I never expected our blog to be so well read or our twitter comments and facebook posts to reach so many people. The visible stats only tell a very small part of the story and it is day to day contact with people from all over the world renewed now we are at the Tron Church that brings home how how many people read what is said without any need to feel they should comment themselves or like or RT much as I do myself .
Blogs and comments weren’t meant to be perceived as documenting a struggle or indeed the putting right of wrongs though I can see as things have developed that being an understandable perception. The fact that much of what I’ve predicted especially for the Grassmarket has come true has only reinforced the notion. Record Store Day won’t save record shops as many of us understand them and neither will vinyl but they will put off the inevitable need for something more drastic. HMV’s strategy of not paying market rent, having less staff and not paying for stock until sold while pretending they are being saved by vinyl and in-stores is not a long term solution but if it gets them through to next year ………..
Similarly the online music pundits tell artists to milk their superfans for all they can without any thought seemingly for how this works for new bands in the future who don’t have superfans. Strategies are based in the past and whether it is reissues on Record Store Day or big bands with no need to use crowd funding platforms doing so to get all they can from their fans it still leaves the question how do new artists with their new music move forward.
I wouldn’t be happy simply pointing out how everything will fail and I think what has been good about getting back onto the high street and meeting lots of new people is that it has given me an insight into how things don’t have to be this way. While I’m used to dealing with the music industry what has been an eye opener is how dreadful Edinburgh Council are in virtually every department I’ve been unfortunate enough to have dealings despite undoubtedly having many good people working for them.
I am of course accutely aware I’ve failed to change anything and if there is one thing I regret most it is that the bidder we were aligned with wasn’t successful with his bid for the King’s Stables Road site. That is a double whammy in that it affects both the arts and the future of the Grassmarket. Being at the Tron has only made me appreciate more what an opportunity the site was and the difficulties it will face.
So many thanks for all the kind comments and support and Avalanche will continue to move forward as best we can in what are undoubtedly very difficult times for both the arts and retail.