Our first appearance at the new Platform 2 market at Waverley station will focus on the things Avalanche is best known for so a wide selection of new indie vinyl, releases from dozens of local bands and a fantastic selection of posters of all sizes. There will of course still be a great selection of second hand vinyl both albums and 7″ singles and come July we will have a better idea as to the direction a new space like this should take. Managing our space in Cafe Voltaire has been a steep learning curve and helped enormously in planning for this new venture.
Avalanche is always trying to move forward in what are testing times for all those in the music industry and as I’ve often said the bottom line for all concerned is people need to spend money on music or things can not continue as we know them. At the same time I’m very well aware of how virtually all music is now available at little or no cost at all.
Luckily you can’t download a large Frightened Rabbit fly poster or replace the sound and physicality of vinyl so it is by no means a lost cause ! Add in the opportunity to browse lots of other stalls and grab something tasty to eat and hopefully the market will become a destination to more than those on the way to catch a train. Open from 11am to 7pm so plenty of time to pop along.
I’ve got in a lot of new indie vinyl especially for the launch so believe me you will be stuck for choice ! We will have the new CD from Avalanche favourites Broken Records for those of you who haven’t picked up a copy yet and I can highly recommend the new album from Hamish James Hawk which reminds me of Magnetic Fields and Belle and Sebastian at their best.
Must say I’m looking forward to this a lot
Time away from running the shop just about every waking hour has given me the time to think I was looking for. However I wasn’t just interested in market stalls, pop-up shops and curated spaces but also all the options available to artists these days when trying to firstly reach the public with their music and then monetise this music. You will see the word monetise a lot ! It is a lot more complicated than simply selling your LP or CD these days and the irony is that artists often weren’t even well equipped to do just that.
Even though at the coalface I was still well aware I didn’t understand “the big picture” fully. The many industry experts I hear talking blatant rubbish do nothing but cause damage yet if enough of them repeat the same lie ………………….
I really wasn’t sure if there was a theory of everything that involved shops in any meaningful way. I was quite prepared to accept that all the developments meant that shops had become an irrelevance good for nothing except selling Bowie picture discs, second hand vinyl and if lucky, tickets.
For all the twitter talk the Specialists (mainly HMV and Amazon) outsold the indies almost 9 to 1 on this week’s Cerebral Ballzy album and that is before we get to exactly what the sales figures were. The entire profit from that album would barely pay one senior member of staff in one shop. Indies sold 1.6% of the new Lana Del Rey album and that is doing well. 1% is more common for a really big selling album.
Don’t get me wrong there are shops out there doing well just not many. My interest is whether there is any possible way forward for a shop that wants to support and actually sell new music rather than depend on other revenue streams and Led Zeppelin reissues. And even if there is a way forward does that opportunity exist in Edinburgh.
Anyway I’m almost there and the answers have surprised me. I certainly couldn’t be accused of coming up with the results I expected. Sad that I am I found the whole interaction between crowdfunding and streaming/Spotify and bandcamp fascinating and there is without doubt merit in all these platforms but they are not without their weaknesses and coincidentally , or maybe not, they were often a shop’s strengths.
So a “theory of everything” that involves artists, labels, distribution, record companies, shops, online selling, bandcamp, streaming and crowdfunding. Not aiming too high then ! More Higgs boson than Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The two big sellers of the year battling it out at the top !
1. Withered Hand – New Gods
2. Mogwai – Rave Tapes
3. PAWS – Youth Culture Forever
4. Broken Records – Weights and Pulleys
5. Jack White – Lazaretto
6. Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
7. Hamish James Hawk – Aznavour
8. Temples – Sun Structure
9. Warpaint – Warpaint
10. Young Fathers – Dead
11. Swans – To Be Kind
12. Phantom Band – Strange Friend
13. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain
14. Beck – Morning Phase
15. Eels - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
16. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
17. Bwani Junction – Tongue Of Bombie
18. Damien Jurado – Brothers + Sisters of Eternal Son
19. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
20. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Good to see a new Scottish artist can still sell well when we get behind a release with Hamish James Hawk at number 7 but generally there are no big surprises with established Scottish bands doing well followed by the “indie” big boys.
As many of you will know Avalanche launched at Cafe Voltaire to coincide with their new opening hours and menu. However as some of you have commented there seems to have been a distinct lack of food ! Fear not the plans for food have not changed but have been delayed due to the classic “circumstances beyond our control”, Cafe Vol with have its own kitchen but therein lies the delay.
Consequently until everything is up and running the Cafe Vol staff will look after the shop leaving me free to deal with other stuff including the new Platform 2 market at Waverley station. You will still be able to pick up the new Broken Records CD, look through our promo posters and browse through the vinyl of course.
Depending on the timing we will reassess when the full menu is available. There would have been a rejig for the Festival anyway so it may be that that will coincide. I will of course keep customers informed as to what is available and orders will be able to be collected too. My thanks to the Cafe Vol staff and management for being so accommodating.
Loads of vinyl, small + fly posters + still some CDs. Looks the part !
The most interesting development in this “vinyl revival” from my perspective has been how people look through records and to some extent why they look through records. Yes we have new vinyl but you don’t need Avalanche for that. Every man and his dog has jumped on that bandwagon. Visitors want to come and buy “Tigermilk” from Avalanche and regulars want to support the shop and that is very much appreciated but what has exploded is the number of people browsing vinyl and in very specific ways.
When we got in the big collection of 3,000 LPs I discovered something very odd at least to me. I’d apologise that they weren’t sorted into any sort of order and people didn’t care. In fact given there was a big section at the back of the shop with everything priced and categorised by genre they preferred to stick with the never ending boxes at the front.
Now people are definitely split into two camps. There are those that simply like digging though all the records never knowing what is next very much the way the kids love looking through the posters and there is a new phenomena in which couples or maybe friends look through the vinyl and give each other a running commentary on what they were doing with their lives at the point in time they bought/listened to the record they have just found. I’ve seen people do this for an hour. I’ve seen mums and dads reliving their youth with their kids.
My own inclination of course is to get everything priced up and in their correct sections but then within reason I’ve always believed in giving people what they want. So for now it will be the boxes and then maybe more organised boxes and then we’ll see ! Certainly within the month i hope to have things knocked into shape I’m just not sure yet what that shape will be.
Every album £10 – p+p £3.95 for one, £4.95 for two, £5.95 for three or more. No charge if you want to arrange to collect.
Payable by PayPal to email@example.com
I’ll remove titles as they are sold
Low – Christmas
Bill Callahan – Have Fun With God
Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
Ed Harcourt – Time of Dust
First Aid Kit – The big black & The Blue
Guided By Voices – The Bears For Lunch
Maximo Park – Too Much Information
Cadence Weapon – Hope In Dirt City
Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic
Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes – A Cabinet of Curiousities
Adrian Sherwood – Survival of Resistance
Corin Tucker Band – Kill My Blues
Shearwater – Fellow Travellers
Neu ! – 2
The Replacements – Songs For Slim
The Pastels – Slow Summit
Fun While It Lasted – Various (pic disc)
The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland – Standards Vol. 2
Zoey Van Goey – Propeller Wings
Linden – Bleached Highlights
James Iha – Look To The Sky (blue vinyl)
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
Animal Collective – Centipede HZ
A Hawk And A Hacksaw – You Have Already Gone To The Other World
Beatles – Let It Be
Never Mind The Cossacks Here’s The Ukranians (RSD14)
Pussy Galore – Pussy Gold 5000 (RSD14)
Melt Yourself Down – Live At the New Empowering Church (RSD14)
BMX Bandits – The 53rd & 3rd Years (yellow vinyl)
The Who – BBC Sessions 2xLP
Rufus Wainwright – Out Of The Game 2xLP
This Many Boyfriends - This Many Boyfriends
Vaselines – sex with an x
TV21 – Forever 22
Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know The Remixes
Pixies – Bossanova
The National – Cherry Tree
Low – C’Mon
The Glove – Blue Sunshine
Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters Of The Eternal Son
Fly posters 60″ x 40″
Sent Folded – £6 for any number – payment as above so can be collected
Delgados – The Great Eastern £10
Emma Pollock – Watch The Fireworks £10
Phantom Band – The Wants £15
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse £15
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea £20
White Stripes – Get Thee Behind Me Satan £15
Nirvana – In Utero 20th Anniversary £15
Foo Fighters – Skin and Bones £15
King Creosote – Bombshell £10
Fratellis – Henrietta £12
Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir £12
Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger £15
Jake Bugg – Shangrila £12
Paolo Nutini – Scream £10
Oasis – the Importance of Being Idle £12
Oasis – Stop The Clocks £12
Kasabian – West Ryder Lunatic Pauper Asylum £15
Them Crooked Vultures £15
Primal Scream – Glasgow SECC £15
Primal Scream – Screamadelica £10
The Family Rain – Under The Volcano £8
Pixies – Field Day (text only) £8
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull £15
Stranglers – In Celebration of 40 Years Apollo gig poster £15
Metronomy – Love Letters £10
Paul McCartney – Ram reissue £10
Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour £8
You Me At Six – Sinners Never Sleep £8
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever £8
Kodaline – album cover £10
Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything £10
The Civil Wars – album poster £10
REM – Monster £10
Deaf Havana – London Clapham Grand £8
Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action £10
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes £15
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow £12
Stereophonics – Glasgow Hydro Arena £10
Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend $8
Mark Ronson – The Bike Song £8
Faithless – The Dance £8
Seasick Steve – Man From Another Time £8
30″ x 20″ or smaller
p+p £3.95 in a tube for one or more
The Libertines – What Became of the Likely Lads £5
Belle and Sebastian – The Third Eye Centre £5
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse £4
Biffy Clyro – Machines £4
more to come !
As I’ve said previously I wanted any new site for Avalanche to be radically different from what we had done before. I had a couple of enquiries from folk seriously looking at creating a venue, cafe, bar and potentially a record shop from scratch but even if they went ahead it would be some time in the future. Rather than try to create something as we had done in the Grassmarket it made sense to move into a ready made environment.
It is not uncommon now for record shops to be given space in a larger building be that cafe or arts centre but the problem is understandably they are often stuck in the basement or at the back. What we have been offered by Cabaret Voltaire is the prime space at the front. The trade off of course is that the space will need to be flexible but it is perfect for our needs.
It has become obvious from doing the stalls that when we have three tables with seven racks/boxes on each that that is just about as much as people are happy to look through. It is still an awful lot of vinyl ! If I could just add in a couple of CD racks and find some space for posters then that would just about be my optimum space.
So with Cafe Voltaire I have just that with the ability to change things as I see fit. It is as central as I could have hoped for so Avalanche’s many overseas visitors will find us easily and if we want to have a big poster sale or put out a lot more vinyl we can just take over all the space on a suitable day. Instores of course not a problem ! It is just the base I was looking for and I will be able to pursue other projects I have been offered at the same time without the pressures of the rents and rates of the Grassmarket.
This is not a pop-up shop. We will be open by the middle of May to coincide with the cafe’s new opening hours and we are committed to October when we will all assess how things are working for both sides. I’ll continue to look at other ideas that we may also pursue but so long as this works I’ll be happy to stay.
So I can finally reveal that one of the other projects we have been working on is providing the new Platform 2 market with a very special music element the fourth Friday of every month starting on June 27th. Approximately a third of the entire market will be curated by Avalanche and we will be inviting all our fellow record and music shops to get involved. It is a fantastic location and of course fully covered so no worries about the weather. Logistics permitting there will also be an opportunity to have bands playing.
In August of course it will be Festival time and there will be more of a record fair feel to our curation but again we’ll be looking to make this an experience for all the family and not just serious vinyl junkies. Expect some very special guests ! While vinyl will play its part each month we won’t forget the many people who still prefer CDs and most of all there will also be the fantastic selection of posters that Avalanche is so famous for.
In keeping with the rest of the market with its unique crafts from local designers and Scottish produce and hot food all local and Scottish bands and labels will be welcome to have their wares on sale via one of the stalls involved. There is huge potential with this new market to reach new people both in those who commute locally and of course the many visitors that pass through the station. Obviously there were lots of ideas as to what could be done with the weekly curated space and I’m extremely pleased to have secured one of those slots for Avalanche and the wider music community. Much more to come !
More about Platform 2 Market here http://edinburgh.stv.tv/articles/269126-waverley-station-market-due-to-open-in-may-2014-on-platform-2/