Avalanche Manifesto

While Avalanche as a record shop will continue to be at the core of our business it has to be accepted that to be viable not just now but looking to the future all aspects of the music industry have to be embraced to utilise the international reputation Avalanche has built up over the last 27 years. Below is a list of things we will be doing and would like to do given enough time and money.

  1. We would hope to maintain the range of back catalogue and new releases we have become well known for. Currently shops are expected to buy in stock on terms that haven’t changed for decades and do not allow for the fact that titles now take much longer to sell. It is much better that stock sits in a shop’s racks than in a warehouse. Which leads us to

  1. We will seek to form partnerships with labels so that they are well represented in the shop. Our support for many bands and labels has been taken for granted in the past and we receive little in return with regards to price, terms and visibility for Avalanche on their websites etc. Sensibly in the future we can only afford to support those labels / record companies / artists who support Avalanche and in the wider context support all shops that stock their releases.

  1. We will be resurrecting the Avalanche label and supporting bands both old and new giving young bands the chance to have their music released on CD and/or vinyl while trawling through the archives to find older recordings yet to be released on CD or live gigs and sessions we think are of interest.

  1. We will also be providing advice and support on how young bands can both release their own recordings and get gigs both locally and further afield as well as encouraging bands to produce their own merchandise. Which leads to

  1. We will be offering merchandising deals to more established bands we feel will benefit from our expertise after many years of selling Avalanche merchandise.

  1. Again we will consider macro managing a small roster of artists that we feel will benefit from our contacts and knowledge. These artists will need to have their day to day management in place but we will deal with the “bigger picture” hopefully moving their careers onto the next level. We will also be available on a consultancy basis to help artists visiting Scotland to maximise their opportunities while they are here.

  1. Together with our neighbours Red Dog we will work with like-minded businesses in the Grassmarket to create a music/arts hub that will give focus to the many successful arts related businesses already established in the area.

  1. Our website will still continue to feature Scottish bands releases for sale though we find it is mainly used as an information resource so that will be expanded both within the website and by offering links to other sites. Bands will still be able to register their details with us and in future will receive emails with information that we think may be of use. There has been a growing demand for us to sell tickets online which leads us to

  1. We have been offered many more tickets than before to sell over the last six months but we would hope this side of things will expand dramatically in the future. As we have said before this is seen as a key requisite to the shop surviving in the future. We will not only advertise all events that we have tickets for on our website but in the future will offer all tickets for sale online as well as in the shop. This will in particular aid those visiting Edinburgh to plan their gig going in advance and enable those living outside of Edinburgh to have their tickets sent to them. 

  1. We will also look to promote a limited number of high profile gigs each year that will hopefully be successful and help with the financing of the shop.

  1. The shop itself will still very much be a record shop but we will have the space to offer cake and coffee as well as being able to offer others the opportunity to sell items in the shop on a commission basis be that works of art, vintage clothing or other things we think are in keeping with the feel of the shop.

  1. Given the huge success of our local/Scottish bands section we will be contacting our fellow record shops both in Scotland and the rest of the UK to see if they would be prepared to stock a smaller selection in their own shops. Some will of course already do so covering their own local bands. We have also had several offers from Europe as well as interest from the States and Australia for stocking Scottish bands and we will follow that up to see if it is feasible.

  1. We will also look into the possibility of providing other like-minded shops in areas where there is no record shop with a rack of CDs to give Scottish bands the best coverage possible

  1. After the success of curating the Scottish National Portrait Gallery gigs during last year’s Edinburgh Festival we have been asked to help with Scottish Festivals in both Rome and Paris. Again time and money permitting we would look to take up both these offers next year. Tentative offers from New York and LA would undoubtedly need some kind of funding to be feasible.

  1. We have to look at maximizing our income and we will therefore consider accepting sponsorship be it for the shop in general or for something like our popular listening posts. We have a new listening post currently in development that should be ready after Christmas. Any offer will be judged on its own merits. On the other hand we will be offering all other similar businesses in the Grassmarket area a space to advertise free of charge within our shop.

  1. One way in which customers can help is to bring in their unwanted vinyl, CDs and DVDs for cash or exchange. A constant good selection of second hand and collectable music and film will help bring people in during the quiet weeks when little new of interest is released.

  1. In-stores will still be available both to local bands and those artists visiting Edinburgh. However we will need to insist in future that it is a prerequisite that the band do their utmost to publicise it to their fans and that doesn’t simply mean telling their friends on MySpace ! Too often we can find no mention of an in-store except on our own website.

  1. If there is enough demand we would consider holding an auction of collectables maybe twice a year.

  1. Up until Christmas the shop will very much be a work in progress and we will welcome all ideas people might have as to how the space can be best utilised by having a dedicated email address people can send their thoughts and ideas to. Please send any thoughts you may have to avalancherecords@hotmail.co.uk with the subject being shop ideas. We also have two large rooms currently sealed off at the back of the shop. The one on the left will be our office but we will remove the front wall to the room on the right early January to reveal a large space that we have yet to determine a use for. Feel free to ask to see this.

  1. We are well aware there is an awful lot here to take in and it would indeed take a small army of people if we were to achieve everything we have detailed. Many of the ideas are great but not cost effective. To try to achieve as much as we can we will look to put together a “street team” of helpers who have interests or skills relevant to the various projects. We may also offer internships. We will look to work with more formal bodies where that may be relevant. Anybody interested in becoming part of the team should email us @  avalancherecords@hotmail.co.uk with the subject being one of the following – website, other online presences (facebook etc), other online sales (eBay etc), label and distribution, merchandise, recording in-stores or gig promotion. For any of the other ideas raised above please use the same email address clearly marking a subject.   

Clearly all of this is very positive but it will need the support of musicians, record companies, labels and most importantly the public if it is to work. At a time when many cities have seen their record shops close down or move to back streets to survive Edinburgh has the chance to show that there is a positive way forward where those who still prefer their music on vinyl or CD can find what they are looking for while others will still find plenty that will interest them.

This manifesto is itself a work in progress so don’t be surprised to see the odd change from time to time as we develop the ideas involved.