‘£50 man’ has got younger... and buys vinyl - Kevin Buckle
This was somebody who came in the shop and on the whole bought five CDs at £10 each. Avalanche certainly had customers like this but it was not our target market.
I rarely was in the same room as Gordon but when at a record company event I said to him our focus was on students as well as the office workers FOPP targeted Gordon replied “students are good for nothing except leaving half-eaten pizzas in the street.”
Later as the price of CDs dropped with the advent of mid-price we did actually attract £50 Man with our three for £20 deal.
What reminded me of this is the number of young people these days who think nothing of buying two T-shirts for £40 or two LPs for £50. Certainly in the eighties and nineties we had more young people but spending considerably less.
Of course today’s youngsters have far easier access to music so I suspect many now buy next to no music at all while others who do in particular buy vinyl see it as a fashion choice.
What I have been keen to do at Avalanche is make physical product available at affordable prices and CDs are definitely the answer. The extremely popular Gorillaz album Demon Days we sell for £35 on vinyl but £6 for the CD. The My Chemical Romance album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is £24 on vinyl but £5 on CD.
It has now reached the point that we sell something like Tayor Swift’s Reputation CD at £6 and in an attractive slipcase by the box while still selling plenty of vinyl copies at £28.
Avalanche has just entered its 40th year and it is interesting that young people have not changed as much as the music industry seems to think. They still want to own things be that physical music, a T-shirt or a poster and yet generally the merchandise on offer online from artists is quite poor and overpriced and not available to shops.
Interestingly both Radiohead and Gorillaz made their T-shirts available for sale in shops just before last Christmas and as might be expected there have been a huge number of fans who would never get round to buying online but will buy something if they see it in a shop.
There are also many parents in particular looking to buy their children presents who want to come in a shop and browse what is available and not to be having to check several websites and be paying multiple shipping
I’m always amazed when visitors from abroad tell me the highlight of a child’s visit to Edinburgh was finding a Lana Del Rey record they wanted. One Norwegian lady who returned on her own to buy Christmas presents after her children had already spent all their money in the shop told me that on Christmas Day I should take a moment to remember the happy children of Oslo.
One thing is for sure and that is if I’d told FOPP’s founder all those years ago that one day £50 Man would be replaced by £50 youngsters buying vinyl he would never have believed me.