Target to distribute
exclusive series of music with Loggins new release
Target Corp on Thursday said it will release exclusive
CDs by artists like Kenny Loggins (view video clip) and David
Casidy in the latest example of stars "of a certain age"
bypassing music labels to partner directly with retailers.Target
on Thursday said it partnered with an independent start-up
music label, 180 Music (view video clip), to release 15 adult
contemporary CDs in all 1,449 stores on February 25 for $9.99
each. Similar releases are set to follow, according to 180
Music founder and chief executive officer Jim Brandmeier.
Other store operators like Starbucks Corp have made
a splash in the music business by releasing exclusive content
under its Hear Music venture, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently
reached exclusive distribution deals with music icons like
The Eagles and Garth Brooks.
Rock duo Hall & Oates also recently moved to
release an independently-produced holiday CD exclusive to
music retailer Trans World Entertainment Corp, which controls
chains like Sam Goody and Strawberries Music.
"A lot of legendary adult artists have been
ignored and the adult audience has been ignored as well, so
we're going to put those two things together for artists to
express themselves," Brandmeier said, adding that Target
plans only to release the series in physical form and not
make it available digitally.
Included in the first 15 CDs to be released at Target
are new albums by Loggins and Cassidy as well as a Phil Ramone-produced
CD with new songs by legends like Carole King, Brian Wilson,
Burt Bacharach, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Richard
Marx and others.
"Through 180 Music we are offering our guests
Target exclusive one-of-a-kind albums that are sure to have
something for everyone," said Darrell Tucker, vice president,
Many of the major record labels have been struggling
with an industrywide CD sales decline, forcing them to contract
and slash many jobs in marketing and promotion. Various artists
have also been dropped by labels as their sales have slowed
to where the labels can no longer support them profitably.
While the growth of digital music sales on services
like Apple Inc's iTunes has been the one industry bright spot,
it still is not enough to offset the drop in physical CD sales.
What's more, the Internet in certain ways has shifted the
focus away from major labels, by making it easier for artists
to sell directly to their fans without any middlemen.
For example, various artists have broken records
on social networking sites like News Corp's MySpace.com.
Going with an independent label or a nontraditional distribution
deal with a retailer can sometimes be more lucrative for an
artist than a record deal, offering a chance to reap a bigger
share of record sales than the standard $1 to $2 per album,
industry experts said.
Brandmeier of 180 would not disclose terms of the
artist deals, but said they were more flexible than standard
label deals, which often require multiple album commitments.
"Artists get more freedom. It's a change from
the regular business model. We don't want to tie people down,"
To be sure, many of the major labels are reexamining the way
they do business to address changes in the marketplace, their
relationship with artists and brands and retailers.
"For our survival and success, we need to get
familiar with all the ancillary revenue streams," said
David Ring, senior vice president business affairs and development
for Vivendi's Universal Music Group, the No. 1 music company.