Archive for February, 2016
The Wedding Present are just the latest band to sell to their fans via PledgeMusic with an album “Going, Going …” not due out for another six months. Founder Benji Rogers’ original plan to help small bands raise funds is long gone and well established bands taking this route is now the norm as it is all about maximising revenue from the superfans.
They join Malcolm Middleton, Primal Scream and a host of others from The Blake Babies and UK Subs to Gary Numan who interestingly reveals the number of pledges curently at 4.639. More current artists with deals still tend to sell through their own website supported by their label. A wide array of bundles (t-shirts, prints etc) only avaialble from the artist or label are often available while some may simply offer a limited number of signed items or limited vinyl.
At very best this limited vinyl may be an “indie’s only” and also available to shops but even then as for instance happened with The Explosions in the Sky album it will be on sale from the label long before the shops have any details. Labels regularly send me personal emails telling me about these “exclusive” releases but somehow fail to mention they will also be in shops.
Avalanche’s policy has always been to offer the customer the best deal available and that is simply not possible with virtually all the important releases due in the next few months. I understand none of this is a problem for the casual fan who pops into HMV or FOPP to buy a new release CD for a tenner. Also if there is an endless stream of in-stores as happens with a very few select shops down south then these issues are at least mitigated.
Avalanche’s strength is its international reputation for selling Scottish music and that has not changed. What I do find is that customers are now often not aware of even the biggest bands so I will recommend Frightened Rabbit and Mogwai along with Laurie Cameron and Trapped Mice via Emma Pollock and Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat. As I’ve said many times before selling to fans is easy but creating new fans is the hard part and apart from the most loyal of customers that is what is left to us. Our stromg social media and online presence can certainly bring an artist to the atention of a worldide audience but sales is a different thing.
With HMV the home of the casual local fan and artists and labels selling to fans directly that just leaves us the rest of the world ! That Histoty of Scottish Music Centre would be the perfect platform.
After some soul searching I decided that I would register the shop for this year’s Record Store Day. It may now be nothing like the event we envisaged when we had that first Record Store Day in 2008 with no product at all, just in-stores and a few special offers, but that doesn’t mean Avalanche can’t celebrate the way it was intended.
Given that every day is Record Store Day these days with limited edition “vinyls” released every week it will be interesting to see what releases are planned.
Personally I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t an Adele sings the songs of David Bowie picture disc but hey let’s not be too cynical, at least not yet !
My favourite part of RSD these days outwith Avalanche is a week later on twitter as some shops and some pretend shops reassure customers that they have done all they can to not have their websites crash as “remaining RSD stock” goes live online at midnight. Many thousands of RSD items (much more than most shops sell on the day) are sold in a matter of hours at a time when any sensible record shop owner is asleep. I try never to go to bed until at least one site has crashed.
It has been said understandably we would never have anything more spectacular than 500 people for Frightened Rabbit in the shadow of the castle. It’s a tough ask but I’ll give it a go !