As threatened, throughout April - in celebration of Record Store Day - I offer up a daily post related to all things record shop.
And if any of it sounds like a manifesto, consider it good practice for my election campaign next year.
Day three's steaming pile of japery, kinghell boring bullshit and contentious nonsense...
Scoring Free Shit!
Before technology hijacked everyone's lives and COMPUTERS decided that Human Beings were surplus to requirements, music distributors and record labels had REPS - field representatives who visited the shops, CONNECTING with the buyers and selling in their product. Like with any industry, the good reps made a point of knowing your name, knew what sold in your shop, and tailored their selling to maximize your -and THEIR - profit. They also brought inducements - FREE SHIT - in the form of promos, white labels, merch and gig tickets. So far, so WIN WIN.
All that changed when the distributors and labels started making money-saving cuts. The field reps disappeared overnight...
Nowadays, an office based rep typically looks after hundreds of accounts. This involves forwarding presale Excel spreadsheets and one sheets via email. Reps don't have the time to invest their skills getting to know individual shops or tailoring their sales to match a shops particular needs, and it's very rare for an excited rep to actively sell-in a title they think will do well in your shop; music, that most Human of mediums, and the sharing of, has been de-Humanised...whatever next, computer algorithms telling you what music you should be listening to?!
I sometimes wonder how horrified a band or artist or label might be if they discovered how little effort their distributor put into getting their records into the shops. At the same time I wonder how many more great records would find their way into the shops -and into the CUSTOMERS hands - if reps had the time and inclination to connect directly and personally with the shops.
It's all gone a bit Jerry Maguire...
Anyway. In no particular order, here's my Top Ten of FREE SHIT I SCORED from the *sob* dearly departed field representative sales force back in the day...
1. An inflatable rubber shark for a Jaws video promotion.
2. A used pair of leopard print skivvies from a Liquid Gold film shoot.
3. An UNKLE promo pack complete with fully armed nuclear-powered UNKLE robot and a one-way ticket to Tokyo.
4. A Jamiroquai buffalo horned helmet .
5. TWO drum sticks marked L & R from Def Leppard's 'In The Round' concert video.
6. A twelve foot high bronze statue of Michael Jackson for the HIStory album launch.
7. A merkin from The Black Crowes Amorica album launch.
8. A copy of Dire Straits remastered Brothers In Arms CD for The War On Drugs introduction pack.
9. A frankly unlistenable cassette tape of singer songwriter BED WETTER types from Twisted Nerve.
10. A shrink wrapped suckling pig from the Deformed Wolf debut album launch.
I MISS THE REPS!