One of the things I’ve been asked for over and over again by customers is for a website they could go to to see all that was available from Scottish artists. Commercially it just doesn’t work as so much is now only available from artists directly but I’ve never given up on the idea.
A fan of Scottish music in the States would like to buy maybe four different albums but if they are all from artist sites they will also have to pay four lots of expensive shipping. Now this is not something I can solve completely but with the new ScotPop MEC (I’m trying this out as an abbreviation for the Scottish Pop Music Exhibition Centre) website the customer will be able to either see on the site or find a link to a very large, curated selection of Scottish artists and labels. By curated, I mean that if every artist who has put a song on Bandcamp was included the customer would be overwhelmed with choice, which has become the problem with finding music online. However as with the shop – when we never refused to sell a local artist’s release – I would hope to include anybody with a physical release and many without for whom, of course, the shipping is not a problem.
From a shop viewpoint, this would be a stupid thing to do, directing business away from their website but from the centre’s perspective if the point is to provide the customer with choice then it’s fine. The site will hope to sell as much stuff directly as it can, providing fans with the ability to put all they want in one basket. But realistically, for many reasons, artists and labels won’t get involved in which case there will be links instead.
Both music and merchandise will be included and I will start to contact people over the next month. There are many places that have expressed an interest in supporting Scottish music if they can be provided with a curated selection at no risk and certainly we couldn’t have started any bigger than Waterstones.
What it will do is hopefully give more opportunity to a wider range of artists than currently regularly feature in the media. It has to be said that these days people absolutely have to love music to want to buy it and most artists don’t reach that level but at least the chance will be there. Visitors to the site will be able to discover not just new artists of course but music from all eras of what is very loosely being called Scottish pop that maybe they have never heard before or possibly just forgotten about.