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How do I Get Music in Stores?
- Bero Records
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Seriously... getting a record into Walmart? Sorry, but you haven't a hope. Talk to some distributors and get a reality check. Do you at least have a six-figure promotions budget? (Not that I expect you do, 'local band' and 'six-figure promotions budget' don't really go together).
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Bero Records wrote: how would I go about getting an album in a store such as Walmart, Target, FYE, etc?
Well, let's see now. There are some 4,000+ Walmarts in the US and then there is Walmart on-line. Even if the buyers for the music and DVD section could be persuaded to stack your stuff, but only want just ten CDs for each store, that's 40,000 CDs that you would have to supply and ship out on sale-or-return. Because it is sale-or-return, you would not be able to get credit for that shipping, so with shipping costs, you need to find about $40,000. And you have to pay for the return shipping if they don't sell.
But that is of course the smallest of your costs, as you will sell just squat if you don't get airplay, video play and marketing sorted. And Walmart will not be able to take your CD without those beans all in a row. The agency fees for national airplay are going to be about $2.5m and the video fees to MTV etc., are going to be somewhat higher.
The truth is, CDs on the shelves of Walmart comes at the end of a long road of development that starts with live gigs, selling CDs and DVDs at those gigs, getting an agent and a manager, putting together some regional tours, getting signed with a major development label and then slowly being able to go national.
If your band has a really strong local following and gets some local radio play and press coverage, you could approach your local stores and ask them if they could stock your CDs. Some are allowed to do this and some cannot. Ask nicely if they will do a sale-or-return - but CD space will not be yours in the pre-Christmas period. That's for the big boys only!
- The Red Bladder
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Bero Records wrote:how would I go about getting an album in a store such as Walmart
If you have a tangible product, you can setup an appointment and meet at the Walmart corporate headquarters for possible inclusion in the store. But it has to be a good product (better than what they already have or unique) at a very cheap price. Even then it's a miracle if they decide to carry your product. They'll put it in a few stores and if it sells, order more from you.
A tangible product, someone can pick it up and compare it with other items right on the spot. So Walmart will buy items from unknown companies if they think it will sell. They can't listen to music on the spot.
NOW, when it comes to music, if you take every single song sold in 2012, 99.9% of the songs were already known by the customer. They knew the artist and the song and bought it. For every unknown Indie song blindly purchased on the net, Taylor swift sold 1,000 of her latest song.
So basically, if no one knows who you are, no store is going to sell your CDs. How do enough people know who you are to end up in Walmart? Get in the radio rotation in the entire U.S. and have your song hit. How do you do this? You need about $1.5-$2 million (that's just payola for the radio stations alone) or a major label record deal....
- Big Label Sound
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The Red Bladder wrote:...you could approach your local stores and ask them if they could stock your CDs. Some are allowed to do this and some cannot.
The usual excellent advice notwithstanding I was surprised by this because I thought everything destined for Walmart's shelves was decided in Bentonville, Arkansas? My wife had to take a meeting there once when she, a colleague who now works for Warren Buffet and an ex EU competition commissioner were advising them on some antitrust issues regarding their then European expansion plans - they were seeing the CEO and CFO and to get there had flown down from Chicago in a chartered jet. All in all about as Wall St as it gets. They were sat down on the same old school chairs, in the old school hall to wait for their meeting as all the other hopefuls. They guys sitting next to them were selling water melons! Conversely at another meeting where the CEO and CFO had come to London they shared the same hotel room to save shareholder money. My understanding is that there is a sort of flat hierarchy and a 'cent saved is a cent earned' ethos that runs deeply through Walmart's culture and informs pretty much every business decision they make - thus the 'sale or return' policy and why they would make you pay for the shipping for the return if it didn't sell. I did not know that some individual store managers had a degree of autonomy.
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