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
co-op
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!)