Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Quick Moment To Respond

Regarding Wayne Rosso's article: EMI To Mom & Pops: Eat Cake Bitch

It's hard to argue with poor reporting. It's hard, because argument isn't necessary. One must merely submit the actual facts and move on. Wayne Rosso made a small splash yesterday with a post on his blog entitled: EMI To Mom & Pops: Eat Cake Bitch. Classy. In this post, Rosso generalizes that:
"Last week EMI sales reps started making calls to many if not all of their small accounts, mostly independent mom & pop stores, to tell them that they would no longer sell them product!!! ... EMI intends to save money by not selling their CD’s to independent retailers... In making this policy change, EMI took the unusual step of notifying these retailers by phone instead of the standard letter. Could it be that they didn’t want anything in black & white?"

The rest of the piece is filled with, well, not much. So after speaking with actual sources within the music industry, these are the real life facts we gathered on the matter. EMI sent letters in February to a handful of small physical retailers (less than one percent of their physical accounts) and informed them they'd need to go through one-stops for product. They gave about four months notice and provided a list of options for one-stops. EMI didn't just call them last minute as Rosso states in his piece. Even Rosso's own commenters (an indie retailer) states: "This is sort of a false story. EMI closed a few accounts that were doing minimal orders. No stores in Seattle, or in our coalition for that matter, were closed. The ones that were closed got 3 months written notice."

It's true that EMI closed some physical accounts. Yet, as the market at large moves to digital, wouldn't one consider it a wise business decision to spend more money and man/woman power on digital distribution? One would think so. Isn't that what people criticize majors for all the time? Failure to change and adapt to market conditions?

In closing, it's easy to take shots at majors, and sometimes they deserve it for sure. We at Stark love indie retail and do our best everyday to drive business to their stores and give them the love they deserve. Personally, I support them by dropping hundreds of bucks a month into their stores. What up Other Music. Yet, to Russo, if you're gonna make a big deal out of, what seems to be, a fairly small thing, take some time to check your facts. Thanks for coming Wayne. We'll stick with Lefsetz. That's weird to say.

And now, we'll get back to contributing to the music world by writing about actual music.


Anonymous said...

Quick question:

Less than 1% of the NUMBER of accounts?

Or accounts reflecting less than 1% of their business?

I spoke to some retailers and they were told that they stopped selling direct to retailers spending less than $1,000 a month (slightly more than 100 cds). A small mom & pop retailer probably wouldn't spend that much. I am guessing Other Music might, but a similar sized store in the midwest in a non-major city would likely only spend $300-500 a month MAX.

Not defending Wayne Rosso, the lack of sources was lame. Just trying to learn more.

anthoNYC said...

shame shame shame

Starkny said...

Less than 1% of physical accounts (not locations) in the US.

Don't have much more specifics than that at this point. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you need to check your facts before you assume things that are not true about EMI.

Anonymous said...

@ Stark (from Anonymous 11:26):

I am not sure I believe that. My guess is that between 30-50% of their independent retailers are indie owned mom&pops in small towns across the country that do (well) under $10,000 of business (gross) a month.

Keep in mind that markup on music is horrible, often less than 30% and they have to cover their overhead, salaries, etc.

$1,000 a month from EMI seems easy, however, don't forget they have the other majors to order from, plus indie distributors like Groove, Fat Beats, Forced Expsoure, etc.

I have owned a retail store, and operated a small chain. I think much more than 1% of their total accounts would fall below this $1,000 per month threshold.

Something seems fishy to me. Even if Wayne's reporting was poor, I hope we hear a public statement from EMI about this.

Anonymous said...

I work for an indie affected by this.
EMI basically is saying ,thanks for 27 years of buying direct, now go buy our product at a higher price.
Great news for for us already struggling to stay alive.
Thanks EMI.
cue Sex Pistols...

Anonymous said...

I am certain that the facts were checked by Stark before assuming things were not true about EMI

Anonymous said...

I'm not

karp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S. Kirk said...

Mr. Stark, how are you a better reporter than Mr. Russo when you have no stated sources either. Stark cites
"actual sources within the music industry". Wha??
Who? You get these "figures" from whom exactly?
Right. Anonymous sources.
I'm a retailer who consistently bought lots more than the $1000/ month from EMI per month you cite as a cutoff amount. Bull, I say. I was cut off with a form letter dated February, but not received 'till mid- March. Do you always believe what you are told by "industry insiders"? EMI has cut off
lots more than the "handful" of accounts you cite.
Get some comprehensive reports before you go
public with your "industry insider" baloney.