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Future plans (part three) – the old sales model with a twist

I’ve known for some time now what I considered to be the solutions to the problems the Scottish music industry faces and I’ve never expected much support from that industry as they are to a large part the problem. Things we are constantly told have never been better and they have created a world of workshops, seminars and mentoring which is as artificial as the successes they claim.

At the same time the basic model that worked for decades of making music and distributing, promoting and selling it has completely broken down. What was needed was a way of promoting Scottish artists that accepted that for better or worse bands now think they can do it themselves and in fact are concerned about “losing” sales to anybody trying to sell their music.

While most artists and labels want others to sell their music after release it was clear we had reached the end times when they started talking about not wanting to lose sales to shops in the presell. This was very early on in online selling and the natural progression from this, which is now the norm today, was to then offer incentives to buy directly and not order from a shop.

The real losers in all this are new bands. Shops were saved to some extent by selling the endless tide of reissues on vinyl and older  bands had their fan base established.

It has long been shown that putting good music, new or old, in front of good footfall and promoting it well still reaps great rewards. The idea can work online but the immediacy of the sale gives a shop an advantage. Consequently this is something I’ve been working on for some time now and I hope to have several key outlets in place to take advantage of what should be a great year for Scottish music next year.

The next problem is that while there are places willing and indeed happy to support Scottish music they don’t want to deal with a lot of  suppliers. I have been asked before if I could act as a one-stop to supply a curated selection of music and this would of course address this need. Whatever some folk might think Avalanche has a worldwide reputation for promoting genuinely interesting music and a social media reach second to none. These artists are not my friends, as is so often the case, they simply make music I think others will want to hear.

Similarly I have been asked for over a decade now if there could not be a one-stop website for buying Scottish music. Asking those abroad in particular to pay shipping over and over again to buy from separate sites is daft but that is currently their only option. For “exclusive”new releases this will undoubtedly always have to be the case. Artists generally are unwilling to give up their advantage even if it would benefit the customer. However a site with an extensive catalogue would still be of great use to those wanting to browse what is available especially if the music is promoted sensibly.

None of this of course makes commercial sense as it is a lot of work for little reward but could feature as part of the Scottish Music Exhibition Centre. Realistically there would still be artists and labels who would prefer to deal with things themselves. Again treating this as a non-commercial venture would mean there could be links to all the other sites selling items not available directly from the site. Clearly things would not have to stop at music but could include other merchandise as well. So potentially there could be a site where you can buy a whole range of stuff or be one click away from anything you can’t find directly.

I do have to stress this is a non-commercial way of looking at things despite the aim is to sell stuff and only works as part of a bigger picture. Others can continue with their seminars and showcase gigs but I think all of the above is a different way forward that will benefit more bands and reach more people. We will see !

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