Selling Independent CDs On Consignment

By: Jerry A. Greene

Question: What is the easiest way to get my CDs into stores?

Answer: The cheapest, and often easiest way to get your CDs into stores, is to put them on consignment.

No Risk For Record Store Owners

You have to remember that your CDs aren't generally going to have the same value to a record store owner, as a heavy seller on the Billboard charts. Music store owners need to sell product to make money and only have a limited amount of shelf space. If your CD is going to be a relatively small-end seller, then it's not going to have the same priority as CDs that are going to sell 20 copies a day. These CDs are generally product that record stores have to pay for, on credit, to the distributer so that they can carry that title in their store. It's a very risky situation since the store owner needs to sell those CDs, or they may never get their money back.

Since independent CDs don't generally sell in high numbers (at least at first), record store owners would prefer either not to carry them at all, or in very small quantities. Allowing independent artists and bands to put a few CDs on consignment is a no-risk situation for them. They will usually take about 5-10 copies from you and put it in the store with no up-front payment. If they sell something, then you both profit (you have to negotiate a sale price and percentage with the record store owner). If they don't sell any of your CDs, then they simply give them back to you. No risk for the owner, means that it is an easy sell for you to get your CDs in the store, as long as you are doing enough promotion to warrant having your CD on the shelves (you want to show the record store owner what it is that you are doing to promote the CD if you want them to take them).

Do You Need Your CDs in Stores Anyway?

You want to make sure that you have a reason to put your CD in a store to begin with. Is your CD getting radio airplay in the area? Are you playing lots of gigs in the area? If you aren't promoting your music in that area of the country, then getting your CDs into stores is going to be a waste of time.

With all of the competition out there, your CD just looks like a needle in a haystack at a record store. If there is no way of previewing the CD, that'll be even worse. Make sure that you are set up to promote your CD before considering getting your CDs into stores.