Independent Oban shop to shut and go online

Oban Music is to go entirely online in the New Year

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The owners of an independent traditional music shop in Oban have announced they are moving the business entirely online.

Jean and Arthur Gillies of Oban Music at 20 Argyll Square have said it will stay open for the time being while its popular website is redesigned and expanded to offer a wider range for online purchasers.

No date has yet been set to close the doors of the shop, but it is expected that by January or February 2021.

Mr Gillies said the retail side is no longer viable, while the website is performing stronger than it was pre-Covid.

It is believed that Oban has had a music shop on the site for at least 45 years.

The business has long been the place to go for instruments, accessories, CDs, music books and more, with a strong emphasis on traditional Scottish, Gaelic and Celtic music.

The Gillies, originally from Campbeltown, have run it for a total of 13 years after taking over in 2008.

But 2020 has seen a double whammy for music retailers – the pandemic hitting the high street and Scotland’s thriving live music scene also being decimated by Covid restrictions.

Mr Gillies said: ‘It’s very sad, there’s no doubt about it. Music shops on the high street are quite rare. People thought it was great that Oban still had a music shop. Tourists would come in and comment on it, so it’s a sad situation.’

He added: ‘The high street has been hit and hit for a number of years now and Covid has just come along and compounded that and then accelerated it by two or three years.

‘That’s the situation we find ourselves in.’

Mr Gillies said everyone from bands, artists, dancers and choirs had seen music grind to a halt – pipers, fiddlers, brass bands and accordion players – including those who have sang in church for decades, right up to performers in the Royal Ballet.

‘People don’t realise how fundamentally music has been destroyed – it may come back in time,’ said Mr Gillies.

Instead, the newly-revamped website will be expanded to include extra products.

It will endeavour to sell as wide a range of items as possible including CDs, DVDs, sheet music, guitar, whistle, chanters and piping accessories, he said.