Stones CDs yanked from Cdn. stores
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.
“If our customers aren’t good enough to have access to their new release in our stores then maybe (The Stones) aren’t worthy of having any products in our stores,” said Humphrey Kadaner, president of HMV Canada.
This is the first time the CD and DVD shop has made such a bold move with an artist, but Kadaner said it won’t be the last. The chain, he said, has to take a stand against major artist new release “retail exclusives” or risk not being able to service its customer base.
Next in line is John Mellencamp, who made a similar exclusivity deal with Best Buy for the release of his upcoming DVD Trouble No More: The Making of a John Mellencamp Album, he added.
“It’s not just the Rolling Stones, any artists that choose to exclude HMV as a retailer for selling the product, this will be our response,” he said.
The chain said it stands to lose up to $1 million in sales between now and Christmas. Canada is a particularly strong market for the Stones, who in July showed their appreciation by playing a special concert after Toronto’s SARS outbreak.
Best Buy Canada defended its deal with the Stones saying the music industry is in a state of flux and companies have to find new ways of getting people to buy CDs.
“We support and applaud any innovative ways that retailers or artists or labels can create to create excitement around music,” said Lori De’Cou, a spokeswoman for the company from its offices in Burnaby, B.C. “Music as we know is really a changing industry.”
Sunrise Records became Stones-free on Tuesday in hopes of persuading other artists not to enter similar deals.
Tim Baker, head buyer for the southern Ontario-based chain, said the deal perhaps makes sense in the U.S. where big box stores like Best Buy account for 70 per cent of music sales. In Canada, however, the reverse it true.
“The traditional music retailers account for 70 per cent of the business,” said Baker. “In other words (Stones’ promoter) Michael Cohl has made a deal for Canada without thinking.”
Cohl, a Torontonian, said the Rolling Stones wanted to offer their fans a deal for holidays.
“Best Buy made this possible with a four DVD set for $29.99 in the U.S. and $39.99 in Canada,” he said in a statement.
Baker said the chain will keep all the merchandise, which includes Rolling Stones hats and wallets, for a few weeks in case the band’s management changes its mind, otherwise the product will be sent back.
Seriously, do you know anyone who’s actually bought a Rolling Stones CD in the past decade? How about the last two decades?!?
Stones CDs yanked from Cdn. stores