40 Under 40: Tifanie Van Laar-Frever


Senior Buyer, Music; Walmart


Now starting her third year overseeing Walmart’s music department, Tifanie Van Laar-Frever, 37, gets high scores from label executives who work with her for her knowledge of music and how to market it. Billboard estimates that Walmart has a 10% market share, making it the second-largest music merchant in America (after iTunes). While Walmart remains committed to its pricing message and is the master of high-velocity endcaps, some labels say its marketing focus has gained momentum, and that within the Walmart stores themselves, the music departments look 100% better than they did last year. Van Laar-Frever works with Anderson Merchandisers, which racks Walmart’s stores, often leaving the day-to-day buying and marketing decisions to the wholesaler’s team, label and distribution, executives say. But when something special comes along that can move the needle, a new marketing initiative or a major superstar release, Van Laar-Frever is quick to pick up the baton and run with it. While one label executive says she likes to work within the chain of command, they also note she’s great at delivering results for labels while getting the most out of the margin for Walmart.