Welcome to EvO:R Entertainment
The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
Independent Record Distribution-Marketing & Promotion
by Open Distribution
Independent Record Distribution
Record Distribution is the 'process' of getting records into retail stores. Most major labels use
their own distribution, and Indie labels usually use regional independent distributors and sometimes,
national independent distributors - depending on the product popularity and the label's promotional dollars.
This is how it works
- Distributors buy CDs from the labels and then sell the CDs to the retailers.
This is done usually by PO (Purchase Order) or on a consignment basis. The retailers then sell the CDs
to the public. If you are running your own indie label, normally you will sell your CDs to a distributor
for 50% of whatever your retail list price is. The distributor will add a fee on (around $2.00), and
then make the CDs available for purchase to retailers. Some smaller retailers may also purchase through 'one-stops'.
Retailers can also buy through 'one-stops', which is to some extent like a centralized store
that sells product from different distributors to retailers. One-stops make a way for retailers to
purchase all of the different CDs they want to order or stock... all through 'one' store & one account
- as opposed to having many different accounts through many different distributors.
A condition that payment is expected only on completed sales and that unsold items may be
returned to the one consigning. Purchase Order? A commercial document used to request someone to supply
something in return for payment. (Courtesy of dictionary.com)
Now getting Distribution as an Indie can be pretty difficult... but it's important. In the beginning,
you can sell a lot of your product directly to the retailers ...in your own area, but when it comes to
getting your record into the larger chains and to the masses, you will need distribution. One of the
last things you want to happen is to have your song finally being played on the radio or getting lots
of street attention from your promotional campaign... but people can't find it! This means that the
consumers don't know where to buy it, and the retailers won't know how to buy it. So getting a distributor
at some point should be something every Indie Label should seriously consider.
Marketing & Promotion
Now it may not be so easy to convince a distributor that your CD is going to sell, or that your company
is the next Def Jam. Depending on your market and audience, one of the major influences in getting
distribution is having some radio play (radio play article). It's radio that will normally make a demand
at retailers and the retail orders for your CD.
You should also be aware that many distributors won't even touch your project unless you've been in business
for a while or have made some impact on your own at first. This means that you've had success selling your
CD at your live shows, on the Internet (this means 'selling' - NOT how many people downloaded your song for
free), and also selling direct to retailers on your own (probably by consignment). You will need to be
out working your street team and doing live dates as much as possible. You will have to make certain you
get the distributor a very clear picture of your promotional campaign, along with whatever positive reviews
and "independent" success you've had. If you've got some hustle in you, a great plan, $ and a little luck,
you'll stand a shot of having the distributor take on your project. Oops, almost forgot... you may also
be required to send the distributor any past SoundScan information.
Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks the sales of music and music video products
throughout the United States and Canada. Sales data from point-of-sale cash registers is collected
weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.)
outlets. Weekly data is compiled and made available every Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales
source for the Billboard music charts. (Courtesy of Soundscan.com)
Please make sure you contact someone at the distributor before sending anything. This
will mean getting on the telephone and selling yourself! If the distributor is not looking for your
package, then they will probably not see it! If you don't take this advice, you may be in for a very
disappointing experience about the laws of correspondence (By the way...this is a rule for
any company solicitation)