Vivek J. Tiwary
All aspects of music marketing are integral to developing your act, and the more you market yourself, the more you will realize that radio, press, retail, tour, lifestyle, Internet, and other forms of music marketing are all inextricably connected, each having an effect on the other. Don't be fooled into thinking you can completely ignore one aspect of music marketing, though of course certain areas will be of more relevance depending on the nature of your act (e.g. if you're a jam band, touring and tour support may be of primary importance). All that being said, let's assume you actually want to make money from your music (don't worry, we won't tell anyone). If that's the case, you will want to sell records. And sales obviously take place at record stores, both online and offline. Internet retail is covered in its own section, and the following will focus on offline "brick-and-mortar" record retail stores. So before we begin, here's a marketing rule of thumb: While no one element of the marketing mix is more important than the other, tie as much of your marketing efforts into retail as possible.
The First Step: Building A Retail List
You should start your retail marketing efforts with research to determine which record stores make the most sense for your band to work with-- i.e. find out where your fans are shopping. Start with the StarPolish Database for both references of great stores in your target market(s), as well as the important contact information. However, I also strongly recommend that you supplement whatever information you get from StarPolish with your own list that you've developed from scratch. While we update our database often, the music industry moves quickly, stores open and close all the time, and contact information changes rapidly; so you may uncover new information in your target markets faster than we do. Also, remember that you are clearly not the only artist who will be using the StarPolish Database. You should strive to stand apart from other artists by working with a personal, more comprehensive list specifically suited to your act. In other words, supplementing our database with your own retail list may be a tedious task, but it's worth the effort.
The Second Step: Getting Stores To Stock Your Record