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Distributors: How to Get 'Em Begging for Your Music

Aug 17, 2007
There are few things more satisfying than having a ready market, client, customer or buyer strongly interested in your business, product or service.

But, in order to get that interest, your business, product or service must not only be considered a hot commodity by the end user, but it must also have heavy buyer demand.

And, in the marketing and distribution of music releases, it goes without saying that one of the most important elements of music's commercial success is distribution, in successfully moving music via sales.

Distribution is important because, without it, your sales will be very limited and you won't make much money. Alternatively, with it, every aspect of your life and career can be dramatically enhanced and, particularly, financially.

But for independent musicians, distribution has long served as a, sort of, curse for quite some time in the sense that it has largely evaded them.

Online distribution is great, but what about consumers who expect to find your music in their neighborhood music stores after hearing it on their area radio stations, reading about it in their area newspapers, or hearing it in their nightclubs?

More importantly, after hearing it via one of these media, what is their perspective of you as an artist when they fail to find it in retail stores?

One way to eliminate this faltering scenario for your next release is to 'get the drop', so to speak, on distributors and manipulate your desired result with them well before they know what hit 'em.

Consider this...

Many artists believe that the number of sales is the most important aspect that makes distributors sit up and take notice, but that is not necessarily so. Even though sales are very important, distributors place far more emphasis and value on the frequency of those same sales.

In other words, how often your music sells out of retail stores, and how often those stores place re-orders for your music, weighs much more in your favor.

It is the element of "selling out" at retail that makes distributors do double takes, in terms of their acquiring an interest in picking up and including your product in their distributor line.

So, how do you do that...how do you make that happen?

Here is one way...

Whether you reside in a metropolitan area, or rural area, select ten retailers, major chain or independent, that are "Indie" friendly, and will allow you to consign product to their stores.

As I've stated in previous articles, limit your number of units to five per store (no more) per 30-day period.

Get any promotion and publicity on radio, in print, on cable, and otherwise, going to drive consumers to stores to purchase your music.

On your website, be sure to list all ten stores, along with their complete contact information, along with the store telephone numbers, websites and email addresses. This is also a good thing to do because you can provide distributors with a direct contact to those retailers for sales verification.

For your area radio stations that air your music format, get in touch with the specialty and mix show producers. Then, ask them to consider you for an interview on their shows, as well as their consideration in adding your music to their playlist.

For your local cable companies, do the same by finding locally hosted video shows that may allow you to come on as a guest or allow you to guest-host the show as a local celebrity. And, if you have a video, by all means, entice them to add it to their playlist.

For local print media, naturally, get a press release to them that addresses your music and request their consideration of a feature interview or music review. But, also include the list of stores in your news release where your music can be purchased.

If you are performing live in your local area, even though you may sell your music at your gigs, be sure to also announce that your music is in area stores, and that the audience can get the list of stores from your website.

Use any additional promotion and publicity efforts that you can think of to further drive local consumers to local retailers. By doing so, you will assuredly create local store demand for your product with repeat retail orders.

When your product begins its "re-order" phase, this will signal a demand for your product. And, since radio is in constant touch with retailers as to what is selling, retailers will inform radio of your demand.

When this cycle has been in effect for a number of weeks, and as you now have documented sales of re-orders, distributors are going to take your music far more serious than if you were simply approaching them without any sales history.

Your re-orders will indicate strong consumer interest in your music, as well as pique distributors' own business interest. Their assumption will be that, based on your local sales interest, this result would only be magnified successfully on regional, national and international levels.

Actually, if your re-orders are at a certain frequency, it is very likely that some distributors will discover your sales results and approach you first.
About the Author
Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com, a promotion and media publicity firm for musicians. Get complete details at MySpace.com and at the MuBiz.com website.
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