This is all anecdotal, but according to music industry veteran Wayne Rosso (via punknews.org) EMI Group has been contacting some of their smaller accounts (aka independent record stores), and telling them that they’re no longer selling them product. Apparently, they’re asking the smaller stores to go to one-stops to get product in a cost-cutting move. Some of the metal labels EMI distributes include Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Season of Mist and Earache.
We’re of two minds on this. Reading the comments on the post, some from independent stores, it seems like former industry heavyweight Rosso might be stirring up controversy where there isn’t a ton. Many distributors have stopped selling directly to smaller accounts, not just EMI. And if a store is doing so little business that it doesn’t make sense for EMI, or any other label, to sell directly to them, why should they? And as evidenced by their “March is Metal Month” campaign a few months back (I think it was in March), they’re obviously showing a commitment to both metal and independent record stores.
On the other hand, every week there are less brick and mortar stores that sell music. If huge outlets like Circuit City and Virgin Megastores are shuttering, the indie mom and pop stores – that need every advantage they can get - are definitely feeling the squeeze. They might not be able to beat Best Buy and Wal Mart on prices, but will always beat them in selection. By giving the mom and pops more work to do to get niche music on their shelves, this definitely isn’t doing them any favors. EMI didn’t respond to our request for comment.