Hog’s Head music shop set to close after 25 years

Tim Keppie, owner at Hogs Head Music

(c) Wullie Marr Photography
Tim Keppie, owner at Hogs Head Music (c) Wullie Marr Photography
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A SHOP at the heart of Edinburgh’s music scene is set to spin its last record after announcing it will close after 25 years later this month.

Hog’s Head Music is renowned for creating a unique community who all shared a passion for music and films selling CDs, vinyl and DVDs.

But an ever-changing industry and the internet has taken its toll on the popular shop, which opened in 1993, with owner Tim Keppie deciding to cease trading on December 23.

The 51-year-old said: “It was a very difficult decision but at the end of the day this is a business and it had to happen.

“We’ve had a great time and the shop has proved to be good for the area. It’s a classic case of use it or lose it and unfortunately we have fallen victim to it.

“We have done well to last as long as we have. The demographic has changed and we have done as much as we can to adapt.”

Hog’s Head Music was opened by John Edwards in South Clerk Street and took the Capital by storm.

The shop was bustling with customers and Tim got on board as a junior partner in 1997. He took over the reins seven years ago following John’s retirement.

Tim said: “Around 20 years ago, the south side of the city was vibrant with different characters and there was a flow of people. The highlight of my time at the shop is definitely helping to create a buzz and an environment that people enjoyed.

“It is saddening to have to close. The feedback we’ve had from our regular customers has been humbling. People are genuinely gutted we’re closing, as are we. A lot of friendships have been made through this shop. I enjoy the social aspect of owning Hog’s Head Music and it was a success.”

Streaming sites such as iTunes and Spotify have certainly had an influence on sales at Hog’s Head with a significant decline over the past two years. A number of reasons are behind the shop’s closure, which has resulted in Tim having to lay off four members of staff.

Tim added: “I have noticed in the last two years that the footfall has declined. People move on and that is understandable. People can buy or stream music anywhere now rather than just at their homes, which is why our vinyl and CD sales have declined. No-one is selling to us meaning we’re not getting new stock unless we buy brand new.

“Some people believe there is a vinyl resurgence but that just isn’t the case in places such as Edinburgh.

“This might be the case in Glasgow, London and Manchester but they are a different audience. People just don’t have £25 to spend on a new record. People are doing my job online by operating from home and having no physical presence. But it is very overpopulated. I did some work on eBay and there’s just so much stuff on there.

“The internet is a wonderful tool but it is costing jobs in the retail industry.”

The highest sale during Tim’s time at the shop was when a record called The Dog That Bit People sold for £600. Despite the sadness, Tim is looking to go out on a high note.

He said: “It has been a lot of fun, it’s been hard work, but it has been worth it. The shop looks great and we’ve got good stock in so we’re hoping to end on a high.”