It’s not you, it’s me – why Avalanche had to move on

avalanche-logo-use NMEJust to clarify a few things. While we would have had to leave our current St Mary’s Street location in the near future, though not before Record Store Day, I had a couple of good options to stay in the street but they only really highlighted it was time to move on from the shop format. Given the sort of shop we are the direct to fan trend has had a really serious effect but that will be less so for other shops though the figures do tell an ever more depressing story. PledgeMusic provide a platform for bands to sell D2F maybe more efficiently than they would manage otherwise but as can be seen with the latest Frightened Rabbit album release bands, labels and record companies are quite capable of selling directly themselves. Domino have taken customers away from us simply by having extras to offer without having to go down the many bundles route available from Pledge.

nipper gifObviously Edinburgh having a FOPP and HMV in prime locations in Edinburgh does make life more difficult but really their “pay when you sell it” trading terms are the killer. Add in their new found “support” for vinyl and it becomes a perfect storm. Of course they aren’t the only ones to have jumped on the vinyl bandwagon both on the high street and online. Sales of indie CDs have crashed so it would always have been difficult to fill that gap with new vinyl sales. I was very happy to sell used vinyl which was very popular and profitable but at the core we have to be a new shop selling new music and that was being lost.

Again there was an offer to have a decent sized space in the Tron Kirk but I simply had no interest in the endless requests for Pink Floyd and The Beatles. At the same time there was nothing but positive responses to the History of Scottish Music idea and that is where the heart of Avalanche lies. If the remit is to promote Scottish music old and new through a Scottish Music Centre/Exhibition then that is fine with me and all the aforementioned issues go away. How all this may work should become clear in the next couple of months but believe me from humble beginnings it is looking very exciting indeed. It will need your support but I have no doubt the enthusiasm is there.

Scars Associates Josef K Fire EnginesThere were so many kind words from all over the world and I will thank people more fully in another post. Given the current students’ attitude to shops it was gratifying to hear that Avalanche had played even a small part in people’s lives over the decades and that they had such happy memories. You have to feel that to some extent the current generation are missing out !

So more news when I have it and in the meantime I will endeavour to catch up with our online presence. Please feel free to buy stuff. Whatever happens there will never again be an Avalanche as was but I hope that what Avalanche stood for may become a part of the Scottish Music Centre.   

3 Responses to “It’s not you, it’s me – why Avalanche had to move on”

  • Elaine C:

    I hope you can take some pride in having nurtured such an iconic business which so many people have such fond feelings for. I have no solution for how independent businesses can compete with online shopping and direct to fan sales. Every music lover can tell you when and where they bought a particular record, and the memories/emotions attached to it. Not something you get with a digital download. I would come to Edinburgh from the west coast just to peruse your wares. Don’t think I ever left without a purchase. Wishing you all the best for the future, and thank you for the music.

  • Rick:

    Gutted all the same. Was looking forward to bringing the kids to Avalanche for the first time this July to show them what a proper music shop is. Thank you for all you’ve done for Scottish music and music in general.

  • Bob Nowlan:

    Elaine C. wrote it so well; I entirely agree. I ventured repeatedly to Avalance from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the United States. I always appreciated the warm and friendly welcome and finding so much great independent Scottish music. In a better world we would have wonderful stores like Avalanche in every city and they would be flourishing. Thank you for everything (I’ve played a whole lot of music I’ve acquired at Avalanche on my radio show here in the US) and all the very best of good luck with your next project.

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