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That’ll Show ‘Em

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Three of Canada’s largest music retailers take spite to a whole new level by pulling all Rolling Stones products from their shelves because Best Buy / Future Shop will have an exclusive deal on a forthcoming DVD set.

Toronto — At least three of the country’s largest music retailers pulled Rolling Stones CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other merchandise off store shelves Tuesday to protest an exclusivity deal with Best Buy and Future Shop.

That means anyone looking to buy Bridges to Babylon or Exile on Main Street at HMV’s 100 stores, Music World’s 102 or Sunrise Records’ 30 will be out of luck.

The move comes after the band’s management made a deal to sell the upcoming release of the Four Flicks DVD exclusively through the big box retailer.

The four-disc DVD, due out Nov. 11, documents the Forty Licks tour, which passed through parts of Canada earlier this year. Special features include behind-the-scenes footage of the band’s Toronto rehearsals. It will retail for $39.99 exclusively at the 16 Best Buy and 107 Future Shop stores across Canada until at least early next year.

That’s the innovative thinking which has made the music business such a shambles. Uhm, guys, when you finish your pissing contest, maybe you want to attract some, y’know customers?

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About Jim Carruthers

  • Eric Olsen

    “all or nothing at all” and you’ll be as dead as Frankie.

  • I agree with both of you, but what IS to be done about agreements like this? It isn’t particularly fair that Best Buy should be allowed to carry such an exclusive item before anyone else. What choice do buyers, especially hard-core fans who want everything, have but to go to those retailers that are going to give them this stuff? It gives Best Buy a really large edge over all the competition. Of course, they’ve done it before but nothing quite so significant as a 4-DVD set.

    I don’t know how many remember this, but Pearl Jam, or label Epic, really, had a deal with Best Buy when their Single Video Theory came out in 1998 (surprising, given Pearl Jam’s stance against similar tactics by Ticketmaster.) Best Buy was given the sole right by Epic to give away a free live album with every purchase. (More here. In fact, here’s the ad from the Best Buy flier the weekend before it went on sale.) Tower Records rightfully threw a fit and had the whole thing cancelled. I wonder if this can be considered a precedent in this case – being in America and not Canada, and not strictly being an exclusive (but damn close for a period of time)?

  • Ooh – new twist that I just found: it was the band and not the label that allowed the live CD to be given away. That puts a whole different spin on Pearl Jam’s anti-monopoly argument against Ticketmaster, doesn’t it?

  • san

    Exclusives are just a fact in the media biz, I think. You pay, you play. I’m surprised the Canadian chains reacted in such a drastic fashion since exclusive interview, music, film, etc., deals have been de rigeur in the industry since Mick Jagger was actually young enough to look cool in those tight pants of his.

  • Eric Olsen

    exclusives work because they focus attention at one time in one place, which is very difficult to do in this diffuse age – it generates “traction”

  • I guess it benefits us consumers in the short run as long as we’re able to get those exclusive goodies. It just makes me wonder what the long-term impact on the marketplace will be. Best Buy has the upper hand, period, exclusively carrying this DVD set for a number of months and, obviously the sweet-spot for buyer being not only around Christmas, but also being the item fans are obviously going to want right away. I think it’s probably obvious that the majority of sales are going to happen in the first couple months of a release (and probably mainly in the first week of most releases) so the other retailers have effectively been shut out.

  • Taloran

    Go to Best Buy and get the new set, and tell them the reason you’re not buying anything else there this Christmas season! Or, tell them you were going to buy it, but you’ve decided to wait and do all your holiday shopping elsewhere.

    That’ll get their knickers in a twist, if 6 million people do it. I don’t even live in Canada, and I wouldn’t buy a Stones CD if I had 50 bazillion bucks, but I might just go tell them that for giggles.

  • Mick Jagger apparently defended the Rolling Stones choice in making the deal with Best Buy. Here’s his main reason:

    “I feel bad for the stores that aren’t going to have the product, but they have lots of other products, to be honest, and music videos don’t sell anything like movie DVDs,” Jagger said.

    But the band had the fans in mind all along when it made the decision, he said.

    The Best Buy partnership will allow them to buy the DVD set for about $30 instead of $60, he said.

    That sounds reasonable. I usually buy my DVD and CDs from Best Buy anyway, not that I’ll end up buying this DVD though.

  • The silly part is that HMV has done this before in backroom fights with Sony and Warners. I suspect that negotiations with Micheal Cohl (the tour promoter for the Stones) went sour, and HMV got the other retailers to go along with a stupid campaign.

    HMV and other retailers are under great pressure since Future Shop – Best Buy can put them under great price pressure In fact in both today’s Eye and Now there is a Futureshop flier which says “No single CD over $18.99 ever”. HMV has already been through that price war 10 years ago when they bought into the market, they can’t fight that battle twice. The problem is that retail is so brutal and cheap that it drives out the innovative marketers and creative thinkers. Ten years in, they are stuck with third rate talent in a declining market with no prospects of building anything respembling a career.

    Do you know anybody who wants to work in music retail?