I’ve been in retail a while now, and it’s not as easy as people think. In fact it’s actually quite hard, in music retail I mean. On one hand you’re facing the wholesalers, filtering through their messages and priorities, and turning 180 degrees, you’re facing the people that make it all worthwhile-the public. Sometimes.
I think the one thing the music industry forgets, is that we’re not in control anymore. We used to have defined channels for our messages. We had Sounds, Countdown or Uptight, there was Juke and RAM, and most importantly, radio stations that were run by guys with “ears”-not accountants, and jocks that lived and breathed their artform – yes being a disc jockey was an art form -one that took many years to develop and many air-checks to be gone over.
Now, the public get their messages and instructions from thousands of sources and in very small time bites. This is where I come in, and all the other retailers around the world. We have the punter there in front of us. We have their eyes and ears we have their time, and most importantly (if we have credibility), we have their attention.
I use this opportunity very carefully, and when the right album comes along, I’m in the right position to join the dots and make the sale. That sale is crucial. It’s the end result that ties together the songwriter, the performer, the producer, A&R person, the TM and even the courier delivering the boxes. Recently, I’ve been utilizing this opportunity to sell lots and lots of “Sharkmouth“.
I’m on air every week with Mark Parton (2CC) and John Kerr (2UE). They, being jocks with “ears” trusted me to get behind this project. In fact the first few times they played tracks from “Sharkmouth” I didn’t tell them who the performer was. playing the record instore, with every enquiry we got, I didn’t tell the punter either-and there was a reason I did this.
After playing “Black Dog Blues” everyone was hooked. When I played “Walking My Blues” they were getting their money out-even though the record at that stage was even being released for another month. When John Kerr played it on his show, he had over 50 calls attempting to guess who it was. I played it at a Leading Edge meeting where I reckon the cumulative experience in the room would have been over 300 years. Still no one got it.
Once they were sold on the quality of the music, that they’d convinced themselves about how good it was, i told them who it was.
That was the musical icing on the blues soaked cake, and it’s now our biggest seller of the year. I’m planning on getting Russell back to Canberra for a gig in February having the Manager of one of our biggest clubs selling himself on the beauty of the record, allowing me to continue this process for another 4-5 months.
Like I said, retail can be hard-but it can be fun, and it is rewarding.
Have a listen and tell me what you think-then tell everyone. People listen to you.