Leveraging retail marketing power to support music
Since coming in as the lead music executive at Target, Anne Stanchfield has differentiated herself by becoming more engaged with the industry than her two predecessors, according to label sales and distribution executives.
While she may not be an expert yet in music buying, her appreciation and participation in big releases heartens the industry at a time when physical sales continue to decline.
Last year Target’s market share was 5.5%, and while 2013 numbers aren’t yet available, the discount department store’s music market share is expected to pick up steam. Earlier this year, a sales executive said the company “still has a very aggressive music stance. When they focus on an artist, they win big for that artist.”
For the last three years, Target has become the dominant player in obtaining exclusive versions of albums—if not exclusive windows, which had been the domain of iTunes.
In an effort to counteract the labels giving iTunes exclusives, Target took a public stand on Beyoncé’s recent self-titled album, refusing to carry it because iTunes had a first-week exclusive on the release. Other music merchants estimate that Target’s stance has hurt Beyoncé to the tune of 50,000-100,000 in lost sales.
On the other hand, when Target gets an album exclusive, the merchant has been known to build TV campaigns around the release that benefit both the artist and the brand. Such campaigns typically result in spends of $6 million-$8 million.
But its everyday marketing is also a boon to the industry, be it key in-store placements for big titles or the halo effect from the Target circular, which helps inform consumers of new releases.