Indie Labels Plan Their Big-Box Assault

Maura / April 9, 2007

gimme.jpgAccording to an Entertainment Weekly report, a few independent labels–including Vice, Matador, and Sub Pop–are planning to court the Wal-Mart crowd with compilations designed to reel in people who aren’t refreshing the Hype Machine hourly. Indie has gone the K-Tel route before, but this time, the focus will be on newer songs:

These bands’ records sell really well to a particular audience,” says Adam Shore, the publicist for Vice Records, which aims to release the first volume this July (they’re already the American home to high-profile acts Bloc Party, the Streets, and Charlotte Gainsbourg). ”But even though these artists are getting all this media exposure, they’re not necessarily crossing over to a very casual record buyer.” The plan of action? ”We’re partnering with MTV2, and the focus is going to be Walmarts, big box stores, red states, and TV advertising — to really go beyond…. We don’t really expect indie-rock stores to support this record. It’s for the casual fan.”

So how will these casual fans get inspired to buy these comps? Our strategies after the jump.

Bargain-basement prices: Sure, slashing the cost of music is the nature of the big-box beast, but what if you made these comps really cheap, like $2.99, and stuck ‘em in the checkout aisle?

Front-loading the comp with more popular tracks: Slap your biggest bands’ most brooding moments on the front cover, and voila–you’ve got a 12-track maxi-single for the Postal Service song that people heard while picking up the season-five Law & Order DVDs at Target.

Bundling copes with the latest edition of Now: Just think of the pitch: “If you liked ‘My Love,’ you’ll love that song where that English dude talks about being coked up at 11:15 in the morning.” (Okay, maybe the exact pitch needs some work.)

Telling Kele Okereke to keep quiet about politics: At least until Volume 2 comes out–after all, a prominent place in Wal-Mart means that he’s inching ever-so-closer to the Limbaugh radar.

Now That’s What I Call Awesome [ew.com]