Best-Buy and Indie Labels Sucker-Punch Small Record Stores

Pitchfork, indie music
s well-heeled music mag with its asymmetical haircut always just so perfectly accidentally coiffed askew, reports Best Buy undercutting mom n
pop record shops, with a coterie of indie labels as accomplices…

In their
Artists Outside the Mainstream
program, a clutch of artists, including Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Atmosphere, New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene were made available at the dungeon level price of $7.99, a price no independent music store could match.

This is the result of a
where labels exchange money and/or extra albums for feature placement, high initial orders and promo push.

Small record stores and non-participating labels were quick to lambaste the program.

The President of Carrot Top Limited, an indie distribution company, Patrick Monaghan said, “If there is no indie retail to help build new bands, we are left with MySpace, the unfiltered Internet, and ad/TV/movie placement to introduce people to new bands. Retail would be left to the Best Buy/Starbucks axis. That’s not too appealing of a scenario to me.”

Patrick, the Internet is not flat or unfiltererable. It
s just more approachable than your scenester snarking her way around a Pabst.

Some label bosses think differently, like Mac McCaughan, Superchunk frontman and co-owner of Merge Records wrote on the Saki Store blog, saying “if [Merge] announced to our bands, especially bands that sell a lot of records, that their CDs would only be available at the cool stores and no longer at any chains, the roster of artists that Merge fans love would evaporate. If you don’t think that’s true, then you’re living on a different planet.”

The promotion is now over and most of the $7.99 artists are back to $12.99.

Storm in a shot glass. Carrot Top is just pissed that his gatekeeping is getting jumped. Does this matter? Who shops for music at Best Buy anyway? Troglodytes?

We recommend Other Music in NYC. They have a fantastic selection, take web orders, ship to your door, and are knowledgable, helpful and awesome.

Best Buy to Indies: Drop Dead [Pitchfork] (Thanks to Tim!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. non-meat-stick says:

    here here about who shops for music at best buy. They never have the artists i want nor the albums i want by the artists they do have. It’s mostly crap pop music and a bunch of greatest hits collections. I’ve adopted my music purchasing to a few CD’s a month for a few extra $’s at the local Music store, and of course

    Best Buy makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable. How often do people have to say hello, offer to help (and fail), and ask how things are going? I’m Not going to steal anything, I know what you’re doing. And that d-bag at the door, he shove that hello up his fat ass.

  2. People Paula says:

    So they expect indie labels to favor small record stores over the opportunity to get their music to the masses? I love Mom ‘n Pop shops, but the artist should succeed too.

  3. konstantConsumer says:

    really, non-meat? it depends on the town, i think. i went to school in greenville, sc, and there is a GREAT indie record store there. they have everything and everyone. I’m not in jacksonville, FL, and they literally don’t have any independant record stores. NONE. so i do have to go to best buy if it’s a CD not offered on iTunes. they usually always have what i want, even pretty obscure stuff. i hate having to go there, but there really is no other choice.

  4. Permanent4 says:

    “The Unfilterable Internet?”

    Gee, Mr. Monaghan. I didn’t realize how low we music podcasters still were to people like you. Thanks for putting us in our place.


  5. Juancho says:

    I honestly shop both indie and chain stores. As far as chains go in terms of selection, YMMV. I listen to a lot of jazz and other so-called hipster stuff, and I also shop for audiophile-quality recordings and equipment, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

    I bought the new Cat Power and Twin Pornographers discs at Best Buy when they were on the $7.99 sale. I would have bought the Cat Power at full price (I was actually slightly disappointed in it), and the New Pornographers I bought because I heard good things about it and it was cheap (I ended up hating it, but I was only out 8 bucks). So Matador was going for some better positioning and Best Buy was using them as a loss-leader, big deal. This past weekend at Borders I bought the new KT Tunstall for $9.99. Later that day I saw it for the same price at BB, and this week it is $7.99 at BB with a national ad mention. Target does similar things with their “emerging artists” section.

  6. I would think Amazon would’ve been accused of that before Best Buy. They collected all the mom & pops up like Pac-Man and can offer used for 1/3 the price. New at pretty good savings in a lot of cases too. Best Buy has a decent selection, but I go thru amazon or even ebay. Barring that, Coconuts here in the east also sells used and I’ll stop in.

    Worst for prices though? FYE and Sam Goody. Freakin $17-19 for a CD? Yeah right.

  7. flyover says:

    I have a number of local favs – Underground Sounds, Encore, Schoolkids in Exile. Wazoo Records is local & on myspace, so I can just message to find out if they have what I want and otherwise, they’ll order it & let me know when it’s in. Generally a $10-$16 price tag, but worth the ease.
    For chain, I go to Borders, but it did originate in my town & is headquartered here as well so I never feel too guilty. They’re better for DVDs and music books than CDs I generally look for though.

  8. officedrone4 says:

    Sometimes I hit up Target’s Emerging Artist Section, but a lot of times they don’t have what I want.

    A lot of the time I just wait until going to my parents’ and shop at Tunes, which is an amazing store in South Jersey. Rarely do I find another store that beats their prices, and they have a fantastic selection.

    In NYC Kim’s has a large selection of music but I seriously dislike the hipper than thou attitude of their employees and avoid shopping there at all costs.

  9. L_Emmerdeur says:

    Who shops at any of these stores anymore? They always have some horrible pop/rap/skippetyhop/othercrap playing on blown-out sound systems, the heat/AC is always turned way up, and they never have anything you actually want in stock.