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EMI Quits Selling CDs to Indie Record Stores

EMI Quits Selling CDs to Indie Record Stores

Wants to cut costs, says must buy from “one stops” like Wal-Mart to sell instead.

The music industry knows how to hang out itself, even if it lacks the correct length pf rope. EMI, certainly reeling from declining physical album sales like the other Big 4 record labels, is now apparently telling independent album retailers that it will no longer sell them CDs.

That’s right, EMI apparently told them over the phone a few weeks ago, an oddly perverse means of notification, that henceforth it will no longer sell them physical albums and that they must go to “one stops” like Wal-Mart or Best Buy to buy product like everybody else to then in turn sell.

“Several I have spoken with are so upset that they vow never to buy any EMI catalog again”or any new artist releases either,” says Wayne Rosso, former president of the P2P program Grokster, on his blog. “Only the certifiable hit product that they know will sell. They will no longer take chances on new EMI artists.”

It’s a odd turn of events for EMI, adding another blow to its physical CD sales while inversely arguing that illegal file-sharing is the real culprit behind declining revenues. If its concerned with losses then why get rid of customers? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that one stops don’t have nearly the selection needed to maintain an indie retailers bottom line, nor could they ever hope to have a price point necessary to make a living.

In short, the loss of EMI’s catalog means the job of indie record stores to stay in business just got even tougher.

Nice job EMI.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Ray
Ray

The bottom line is always what interests the music corporations. They have variously shunned and embraced independents over the years. When an independent label finds an act that becomes popular then the corporations move in. Independents have collaborated with the major labels to promote their acts since recording began. In the UK the distribution system of physical media is controlled by the majors. What frightens them is that they have much less control over the movement of digital media. Hence their desperate and draconian attempts to hobble the sharing of music that has always occurred long before the internet came into being. In contrast, artists have always embraced the sharing of images and digital media. The issue of copyright is still relevant but the sharing of images by the public is seen as promoting art rather than damaging it. Copyright only has relevance when advertisers try to make money off of an artists work without compensating them. In the art world copyright is enforced against companies who try to exploit artists for financial gain rather than against those who consume art. Musicians need to realise that they can benefit greatly from the model that artists follow. They need to drop the old commercial model and try other options. Culture cannot exist without public participation and this includes funding. Most of the greatest art and music works have been subsidised by public funds. The difficulty for musicians is that society will not fund everything and commercial avenues of funding are often restricted to a very narrow field of music. It's time for musicians to realise that not all of their noodlings in the studio are worth buying. An artist may sell only 10% of a collection of work if they are lucky. Yet many musicians believe that everything they produce has value. Rewarding lack-luster music has been fostered by the major record labels and it's finally being exposed as a sham. File sharing isn't destroying the music industry. The majors are still are making huge profits. What is destroying the music industry is the commercial model that is restricting choice for the public and opportunity for musicians.

Matt
Matt

Does seem a strange thing to do.

jay
jay

EMI is still selling to indies - just like all the labels they look at their accounts and make changes to a very small number of retailers.

don
don

The story is false. EMI works with lots of independent retailers - they are still pressing vinyl out of the Capitol Studios for indie retail and have a huge vinyl re-issue program!

musicguy
musicguy

most indie stores buy from a one-stop anyway. And best buy and walmart are not one-stops necessarily. The biggest one-stop I remember when I was working in music retail was AEC. A one-stop is an aggregator. Stores typically buy from them anyway because a small store doesn't want to account to thousands of suppliers they buy from one supplier called a one-stop. This article is just sensationalistic. It doesn't mean EMI doesn't want to sell to indies...

Bryan
Bryan

This is exactly why artists should stay indie and not sign to big labels.

Rob
Rob

Sounds like other industries who have dumped their business models and tanked their balance sheets and for what...oh yeah...those banks and automakers were all bailed out. Maybe EMI thinks it is too big to fail?

MC Lepus
MC Lepus

This isn't just affecting Indies. My ex is a classical pianist who releases through EMI. They just screwed him as well

Eric
Eric

I work in my friends indie shop every once in awhile and my biggest question for the distributors is why are they still using CD's? Why can't we get a kiosk in the store that is connected to the internet and just download files to iPods or burn them right there? There are lots of customers that come into the store looking for new music and will take my advice when I recommend a band based on other bands they like. But we have a limited selection and I often recommend bands that we don't carry. If we could legally download and sell songs, it would mean more sales for them with zero distribution costs and happy customers that would come back more often. The major lables are so behind the times it's pathetic. The sooner they go away, the better.

Johnny C
Johnny C

@chpthrils: Thanks for the clarification, as that makes all the difference. @all: I have no affiliation with anyone here or in the the record industry. Just a digger that sees that the author has an agenda and is about as honest as Michael Moore.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

_High Fidelity_ vs Pandora... And yeah, EMI are cunts. As are all other members of RIAA, they are all tainted by RIAA cunt sauce.

middle finger
middle finger

...and the picture is showing a kid browsing for vinyls? FTW!

StarvingMusician
StarvingMusician

Ok, I get the whole hurt the corporate thing, but where does the sharing model include some way for the musicians to support themselves? I'm a very tech savvy (software engineer) musician with a sweet Protools digital studio. If I record a CD at home, how do I promote that to a national audience to a large enough degree to survive? The internet is great for distributing information and purchasing, but it takes money to reach the size of audience that artists are able to reach through labels.

ashok pai
ashok pai

veryone is growing lazier and lazier ... and lazier. nobody wants to work hard, and people certainly only want one big ticket, easy money.

chpthrlls
chpthrlls

this really isn't such a big deal. First of all "One Stops" DOES NOT mean Wal-mart and Best Buy. A one stop is a distributor that buys from the labels and sells to retailers. Most indie stores get their product from one stops anyway. Some labels do sell directly to larger indie stores that have a large volume, but this, and only this, is what EMI is halting. I should know, as I am an indie retailer. We have always used a one stop distributor, and will continue to do so. And F*CK Wal-mart!

Dr Smithers
Dr Smithers

It's all about marketing now. Get off your duff and market your band....build the fan base and find distribution. Indies' dying..??..far from it!

ejonesss
ejonesss

how stores will either go to walmart and load up a shopping cart with a bunch of cds and sell them at their own store or sell used cds or commit fraud and say that they are a walmart like store and order the cds and risk getting stuck with the unsold ones.

malcolm hume
malcolm hume

Distribution costs money. Printing CD's is an investment. Duh! This is the fault of file sharing as well. Thanks guys! You're killing the last real world places you can go to learn about music, hear whatever you want, and meet people who care like you do. The last outlets for local artists on local stages. 'Sharing' has ruined everything now, everyhting you claimed to love, becuase of your greed. Drew, they are signing fewer artists - and supporting fewer artists. More and more indies are turning into vanity presses that demand investment from artists. If the majors go, the distribution networks for legal product go too, then the indies go - because indies need money too. It's all interdependent, always has been. I wish you guys would wake up. This is all so sad and you are to blame, me too, everybody who ever championed file sharing.

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

There's further possible cost-cutting measures that EMI can do. I recommend they stop signing new artists. It's really expensive promoting them after all and they then turn around and can't wait to get out of your contracts anyway. Maybe they should try that next. Leave the whole business of signing new and talented artists to the silly independent record companies. ;)

mPony
mPony

"It's about money." Certainly no big change for a company like that. Go rot, EMI. You are over.

Chris Rushton
Chris Rushton

Sickening, truly sickening. I hope they go bust as soon as possible!

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

EMI and the like don't like indie stores. Many of them sell used albums, meaning a cut in the labels sales, they don't order in bulk making it more expensive and time demanding to do business with the stores. So in the end its about money, they don't make much, or don't make any money off indie stores. So rather than find a way to make a profit off them, they rather kill them off. Thankfully it makes them look like twats and further strengthens the negative image they have developed.

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

Our sales are down. To fix the problem, let's sell less! Brilliant!

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

After reading the comments on that blog post you link to, LOL!

soulxtc
soulxtc

Nobody said anything about records, only CDs

D.AN
D.AN

I sense no sincerity in your post whatsoever.

D.AN
D.AN

Hey, malgre, remember me?

Jox
Jox

"Distribution costs money. Printing CD’s is an investment. Duh! " With the internet, distribution is free and printing CD's is unnecessary. "This is the fault of file sharing as well. Thanks guys! You’re killing the last real world places you can go to learn about music, hear whatever you want, and meet people who care like you do." The internet has recreated all of those features but on a global scale and does a much better job of it then any indie store ever could. "The last outlets for local artists on local stages. ‘Sharing’ has ruined everything now, everyhting you claimed to love, becuase of your greed." Quite the opposite. File sharing has given small independent artists more opportunities and options then they ever had. The single most important factor for an indie's groups success is having their music heard. The internet allows for that on a massive scale that was never possible before.

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

"If the majors go, the distribution networks for legal product go too, then the indies go – because indies need money too. It’s all interdependent, always has been. I wish you guys would wake up. This is all so sad and you are to blame, me too, everybody who ever championed file sharing." Uh, last I checked, indie record stores sells music from indie artists too. I personally know someone who owns an indie record store and she believes that this is now the time to start an indie record store. Discovery is far easier and stores can always market themselves online. Music discovery stopped being at MTV years ago. Distribution networks aren't going away, they are merely updating. Music sales in a number of countries have been going up for years now and many thank file-sharing for making more music enthusiasts.

Norm
Norm

"Thanks guys! You’re killing the last real world places you can go to learn about music, hear whatever you want, and meet people who care like you do." NOT TRUE. You can still do all those things. Just join a private tracker. ;-) "they are signing fewer artists – and supporting fewer artists. More and more indies are turning into vanity presses that demand investment from artists. If the majors go, the distribution networks for legal product go too, then the indies go" Good. We don't need labels. Let them all die out. They are obsolete. Think about what a label does for artists. They record artists, distribute their work, and promote them. Technology has made all these functions obsolete. Artists can now record themselves at home for less money, and get a better sound. Likewise, the Internet has proven to be a more powerful medium for distributing and promoting music than record stores ever have. There is no reason to be on a label anymore, unless your lazy, or masochistic.

traey
traey

"Music sales in a number of countries have been going up for years now and many thank file-sharing for making more music enthusiasts." This isn't true. It is true that more money is being spent on music in general, mainly concert tickets and merch. Recorded music is still taking a nose dive. And it is definitely true, file sharing has wounded the recorded music business. True the majors have shot themselves in the feet by putting out sub-par product with ridiculous prices for years, but that doesn't mean file-sharing isn't partially responsible. Also, they're probably pulling CDs from indie stores because indie distributors, and I would be willing to bet a few indie stores, are notoriously slow to pay and risky. Trying to collect from them sometimes is an exercise in futility and you could easily spend more money chasing down your revenue than you would make from the sales. Quit blaming just the "music industry." There is room for blame in declines in sales and in quality on both sides.

malcolm hume
malcolm hume

Yeah file sharers always thank themselves it's part of the rationalization process. Ask her who her distributors are. Anyway, indie CD's are the ones that cost an arm and a leg. That's becuase they are a niche product. I like them, but we are in the minority.

Tor
Tor

"Artists can now record themselves at home for less money, and get a better sound." ... and a vocalist find a professional backing band and a gifted producer to create the "new" sound??? I wish it was that easy, but in reality it is not that clear cut.

malcolm hume
malcolm hume

re: tracker , Yeah, it;s just not the same. "Artists can now record themselves at home for less money, and get a better sound. Likewise, the Internet has proven to be a more powerful medium for distributing and promoting music than record stores ever have." All of that was theoretically true ten years ago but it hasn't worked out that way. It just hasn't.

D.AN
D.AN

From now on you are the new malgre.

D.AN
D.AN

Yup, you are definitely malgre with another name.

gp
gp

Yeah because they were nothing before the Internet!

Traey
Traey

I agree with you that they can record at home for less money, the get a better sound part is not quite true. Take a listen to something recorded in the eighties on a decent stereo and I mean "stereo" system. There is a depth and character there that is absolutely not present in 99% of home recordings. Definitely agree with the second part of your statement. the internet is a powerful medium for distribution and promotion. It's hard for these majors to embrace it, simply due to the fact that the communication style is so personal. People don't want to hear from so and so's label. they want to hear from the band or artist themselves and you can't pay a marketing person to do that and you can't have a marketing team promote in that manner.

ec
ec

It seems to be working well for Trent Reznor and Radiohead.



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