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Scottish Pop Music Exhibition Centre + Scottish music’s infrastructure

First of all can I say the cost of reaching this point has been too high. Had I known it would take this long and cost so much I wouldn’t have done it. Having said that all the people I spoke to who had had a similar idea to archive and preserve in some way the fantastic history of Scottish popular music had never even started due to lack of funding so I’m proud that I’ve got to where we are. In the arts world a good idea always plays second fiddle to funding !

What is frustrating is that the idea was really perfect in its timing two years ago and yet those who could have helped didn’t. What I didn’t realise was when I spoke to Creative Scotland about sending some of Avalanche’s best selling Scottish albums worldwide to shops I knew would be supportive as well as having special sections in UK shops that was exactly what was being recommended in the independent report. Setting up distribution to back this up was something that was accepted at the time as being extremely useful but little did I know it again featured in the report along with manufacture. Sadly they had felt they couldn’t help. 

Now with dowloads and streaming coming to the fore it has been felt more recently that manufacture might not be an issue in the future but there is a concern that Creative Scotland will feel the same way about retail and that would be huge mistake. There have been many reports that have shown that if you put good music in front of people they will buy it. The issue with record shops was people stopped visiting and I had always maintained that other avenues such as cafes and cultural venues should be considered. Here of course Creative Scotland should have some influence and yet have done nothing to make sure that the music of the artists they support has a beter chance to reach people than the black hole that is available online.

Now of course record shops have had a resurgence along with vinyl but new music is actually struggling more than ever as sales go to the latest reissued albums. However marketed properly in the right places it would still be possible to break new music in conjunction with social media and promotion. What Creative Scotland needs and is not mentioned in reports is in-house promotion for artists. When it does give artists funding they waste large sums of money paying English PR companies to do a job that at best is average and at worst is no better than the artist could have done themselves. Amazingly social media is something that is poorly handled from all sides. Again so much more could be done.

Going back to the centre which of course could incorporate many of the things identified as being needed there has been without doubt a large amount of snobbishness as to the place of pop music in Scotland’s history. I have to thank the Fruitmarket Gallery both for the opportunity they gave to show what could be done and for adding credibility to the idea. Having said that it would be disingenuous of me given what I know to let these music elitists dig themselves into a hole I know they won’t be able to get out of. Suffice to say they wil be proved wrong ! 

Without a doubt there are decisions to be made and they will be made in the coming week.

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