Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|A Renaissance In Record Store Retail!
By Maurice Ali, President and CEO: FOF Inc./IAIJ Inc.
Fortress Of Freedom is an experiment into media access. It can also be a think tank and testing center for new ideas and innovative ways of doing things. In the next few weeks I will be working on getting our CDs into retail outlets for "point of purchase sales." It is very hard for artists to get into mainstream retail if they are not aligned with a major label or distributor. Even well known online venues such as iTunes, are very hard to access for most artists. Online sales are also said to have decreased the bottom line of retail record stores by taking away sales by online purchasers who know what they want and can't be bothered to drive to the record store. But I think the retail record stores now have a chance to recoup those lost sales with a return to carrying the local artists in their area and helping them sell their music to their local communities.
Think about it, The local band playing local venues, not that popular to the world at large, but of interest to those in his city where he is known and has some following. Large internet venues would probably not bother with him, so where can he sell his music? It is my belief the local marque record store could offer that product better than the typical internet venue. By offering something not readily available online, that record store now offers the customer a reason to visit the store. A large local record store that devotes a substantial section of local artists would probably gain more browsers who in turn also buy the mainstream products as they are there anyway. What I am getting at is a way to increase your traffic by offering your customers something they cannot find elsewhere.
Lets us look at the economics of this for a moment. Buying a CD online also has the requisite packaging and shipping and taxes added to the final price and the delay in getting the purchase. Let us say that the CD is ten dollars with taxes added and five dollars for shipping and handling. If the record store sells it for the same price, it may cost the same or even less for the customer to pick it up themselves and get immediate access to the product. Now one may argue the relevance of this model when looking at well known artists, but the smaller artists selling online are another matter. Giving credit card information and such to unknown venders would quickly find the local store a better purchase and possibly the cheaper route as mentioned above. What I am saying is that local artists in the regional record stores can work and contribute to the bottom line of the retail music business!
Adapt or become redundant, see the changing market place and offer new and innovative products. These are strategies for success. A renewed acceptance of the local artist back into the local record chains offers the retailer the chance to recoup lost sales, increase their traffic and support the artists in their community. I see this as a win-win situation. Local talent and local vendors can offer that which can not be found anywhere else; all we need are those rare individuals of foresight to make it happen!