More on Taking Your Distribution Seriously

by SaskMusic

July 31, 2009 in Doing Business

No major retail store, with the exception of CDPlus, is going to put your product in the forefront, or your posters, or your advertising campaigns. If you want to succeed at retail, you MUST create awareness. Have friends, family and fans on their daily or weekly shopping sprees request a copy of your music, making sure the retail employee writes down the title of the album and the artist name. If they get enough requests, they will be more open to carrying the album. This is time consuming, but necessary.

Create a weekly schedule for emailing and/or calling your fanbase. Your supporters are often willing to work on your behalf. The one challenge in the marketplace for any artist is the decision to sell the majority of product from the live stage, or from retail. Example: You have worked hard at getting your product in retail stores. Then, the majority of your fans buy albums at your concert - cheaper than in stores. The store has no demand, and will soon become disinterested in carrying your album. You can help create that demand by ONLY selling product such as t-shirts, and trinkets carrying a marketing gimmick referring the fans and potential customers to the chain of retail outlets. These will be reminders that they did not get the music yet, and should get down to the store. If you want to get into a major market, you have to work with the department stores, not against them. An idea would be to negotiate some kind promotional campaign where you post the store's banner or wear their clothes at live concerts. This way, the fans that do not shop retail, but are more than willing to drop a few bucks in person, will still be potential supporters of the store, and you do not lose potential business.

Pre-planned acoustic performances and autograph signings when you are touring in the area are an asset to both parties, and, if the store knows this advance, they can put your product at front counters or at a better level of consumer awareness. Another thing to consider is that stores such as CD Plus are looking for more customers. Don't simply tell them you're going to promote their logo or their name - do it! Talk about them on radio interviews, on the microphone, in press releases, wear the clothes, and promote the fact that you are teaming up with them. This is a good practice for a healthy and successful partnership. The store needs you as much as you need the store.


Alain Belisle, the Music Buyer at head office for Chapters, asks that independent artists contact him with their product. Independent albums are put into an inventory system, thus all albums must have bar codes. (Most, if not all, manufacturers can supply these.) Artists still have to contact individual stores in the chain, and sign individual consignment contracts with each store. Their head office scans the bar codes into a computer system for control of the overall inventory and sales nationwide. Artists must go to each individual store to collect sales revenue and left over product. The company does not handle this on behalf of the artist. Unfortunately, the sad reality is many artists drop their merchandise in stores, and then forget to collect product and money. This creates more paperwork for the Chapters chain, and creates a negative reputation for independent artists in general. When artists do not collect, the company must do return slips and mailouts, and it is more work than needed or wanted. So, if you are going to distribute through retail/local stores, please take it seriously and have a monthly schedule set aside to check in and collect product and funds. This will encourage more stores to accept indie product!

Saskatchewan Stores that will distribute Indie CD's

Note, this is provided as a starting point, but may not be an exhaustive list. If you have some good locations to share please email them to


CD Plus
Contact Cheryl Perry, Midtown Plaza or call 306-664-7099. Head office contact is Carol Dufault, 204-633-1412.

Contact Grant Sotnikow, 306-244-6319. Handles, and plays over intercom in store.

Long & McQuade
Drop by 437-2nd Ave. N or call 306-664-1966.

McNally-Robinson Bookstore
Drop by 3130 8th St E or call 306-955-3599.

Mother's Music/The Drum Shop
Contact Brian, 617 8th St E or call 306-655-9900.

Presto Musique
Contact Irene Lacoursiere, 306-244-0509.

Tramp's 2nd Avenue
Contact Brent, 306-652-7175.

Vinyl Diner
Contact Stu, 306-244-7640 or drop by 628B Broadway Ave.

Apocalypse Music & Books
Contact 306-569-0022, or drop by 2016 12th Ave.

Audio Warehouse
Call 306-525-8128 or drop by 1329 Lorne St.

Bach & Beyond
Contact Frank, Golden Mile Shopping Centre or call 306-347-2224.

B-Sharp Music
Contact John Bidochka, 306-757-2531. NO consignment charge - just want one free copy for in house play.

Buzzword Books
Drop by 2926B 13th Ave or call 306-522-6562.

Contact Alain Belisle, 416-364-4499 ext. 4285 (Head office music buyer). Local store 2625 Gordon Rd, 306-569-6060.

Cobb Swanson
Contact Dianne Swanson, 306-569-3255. Limited room for display, but willing to accept product.

Long & McQuade
Contact Jamie Gass, 306-569-8501.

Production Lighting
Contact Bruce Lozinsky, 306-347-8222. ('Not a high traffic area', but will accept product.)

St. John's Music
Contact Corey Taylor, 306-757-7272.

Tramp's Music & Books
Drop by 1828 Scarth St. or call 306-757-8616

X-Ray Records
Contact Dave, 1841 Scarth St or call 306-525-4040.


Music Craft
Contact Cleo Coderre, 1-800-667-4901.

Fort Qu'Appelle

Radio Shack
Contact Jeff Huber, 306-332-6711


Briercrest Book Store
Contact Ken Thiessen, 306-756-3379.

Prince Albert

Frank Almer's Music Store
Contact John, 306-763-5442 or deliver to 61 River St. W.

Prince Albert Music Academy
Drop by 1202 1st Ave. W, or call 306-764-8101.
Moose Jaw

John's Music
Drop by 37 Main St. N., or call 306-692-0860.


Shannon's Music House
Contact Shannon by e-mailing, or call 306-862-2841.

North Battleford

T F M Music Store
Call 306-446-2566 or drop by 11429 Railway Ave. E.


Center Stage Music
Drop by 514 Main Street or call 306-682-2490.

Meadow Lake

Radio Shack/Music Stop
Contact Sandra or Jinny, 306-236-6122 or drop by 110 Centre Street.


AVE Entertainment
Drop by 400 King St., or call 306-634-4131

CD Plus
Call 780-871-4699. Head office contact is Carol Dufault, 204-633-1412.

CD Plus is an amalgamation of Music City, Music Baron, AVE Entertainment and Big K Music. Consign product at individual locations. In order to get distribution at a national level, you must already have status with a recognized national distribution company, major or independent. CD Plus will promote the band, put up posters, provide in-house spins, and wall display. They consign at the cost the artist sets and mark up 99 cents per copy. A focus on smaller markets, smaller towns.

Alberta Music Distribution works with CD Plus stores. Contact Mykal Ammar, 780-417-2810. This company will contact each store on behalf of the artist. AMD works provincially and takes a percentage (as opposed to the artist dealing directly with CD Plus.) CD Plus also deals with Spirit River Distribution, and stocks product from Spirit River directly in their warehouse.

By Stephanie Thompson for SaskMusic. Originally published August 2003.

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