In 2011, approximately 300 million CDs will be sold in the U.S.. So if there are fans that want to buy your CD, what is to be done?  

Welcome to the BIG QUESTION. On one hand, the world is rapidly moving towards digital formats, and at the same time, the outlets for buying CDs are shrinking.  The big record stores are all but gone. There are certainly great indie stores out there, but not a ton left. The mass market retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy have cut way back on inventory.  But there is money to be made right now, which means, you can make rent money right now. 

This isn’t lost on a number of entrepreneurs, including the CEO of Thump Records, Bill Walker.  In a partnership with LA-based Mall Jamz, Walker started stocking 7-Elevens with CDs.  It provides consumers with a new outlet for his products.   “It catches people off-guard,” Walker relayed, while noting that all discs are under $10.  “CDs at 7-Eleven? Really? It never occurs to them that they could find their favorite CDs on sale at 7-Eleven … until they see them. And bingo – an impulse buy!”

And this isn’t necessarily a bland selection of greatest hits and 80s compilations, simply because 7-Elevens exist across a broad variety of neighborhoods.  For example, a participating Long Beach 7-Eleven leans heavily towards old-school rap and freestyle.  “It’s all about niche marketing,” Walker noted.  “We stock CDs at these stores that cater to the types of customers that frequent that store and to their musical tastes. Whether it is urban, hip-hop, country, rock or whatever genre one can imagine, we find out, through market research, what the traffic (demographics) in that particular store requires and fill that demand.”

About 2,600 participating stores are sprinkled throughout the US, and cover spots like Chicago, South Texas, Queens, and the greater Miami area.  Drop a note to musicdistribution -at- if you want to make a deal.

So, if it’s all about niche markets, doesn’t it immediately make sense for our Christian market niche.  7-Elevens would be fine certainly, but what other retail outlets would make sense?  Cracker Barrel in the South comes to my mind.

What comes to mind for you?

(Inspired by and with excerpts from a recent Digital Music News article.)