View from a Record Store #2
The weirder the better, or it's at least got to be orchestral, for our man down South.
The thing about music that so many companies fail to understand is that there is always someone out there that will buy it.
My best sellers are classical, blues and reggae (on CD) and 60s psych, blues and hard rock/metal on LP. Go figure. Small town in Somerset and I sell shed loads of reggae. But why is this the case?
Well hugely I sell what no other bugger bothers to sell. Hence classical. I have a huge section of classical CDs, loads of decent labels and a big variety; marry this with an older population and bingo. I turn over the stock every month, making it appear different at every visit. And have you ever heard of anyone downloading Bachs Sonata No 2? You haven't, because you can't!
Classical is still a 'Hi Fi' medium, the listeners demand quality and the MP3 format will just not deliver it. The listeners of classical are also the worlds biggest hoarders. So they just keep buying.
But the 'what sells well' thing is an ever moving feast. And this is where I do better than any large store chain. I can adapt my whole stock in about two weeks. For HMV and in many ways even Amazon, it takes months, in fact we can see with the vinyl resurgence, it takes years for the stores to adapt.
Also, patience is a real gift in this business. You have to reliably have stock in the shop for the odd customer. Because actually, we are now at the stage where we are all 'odd customers'.
I don't sell multiples of anything very much. I sold 25 copies of Jack Whites album, I sold 30 copies of the Mark Laneghan. But in the last year I've sold close to 100 copies of 'Dark Side of the Moon' on vinyl, 2nd hand mind. I could not give away a David Bowie LP three years ago, and had a huge build up of 2nd hand, now however, he sells quicker than cheap drugs at a free party.
What doesn't sell... Anything with the words 'readers digest' on it. Embassy, MFL and other 70's budget brand vinyl is a tough sell, even in a pound bin. On CD, I can't give away Robbie Williams right now, and have about 200 CDs! But come that day when Robbie is big again, and I'll be there! Skint, but I'll be there.
But you know what I said, there is a market for everything. Well, Amazon Marketplace has created a very odd market for deleted CDs. So stuff that I simply would not sell, ever, has a great market online. Like some sort of musical version of 50 Shades Of Grey, deleted Sandy Nelson CDs, or Jim Reeves are selling for £30 a pop on Amazon. Bonkers.