Here's how it will work: RCRD LBL will use Topspin's direct-to-fan tools to market and sell limited-time retail offers to its email list of over 3 million people. The products and experiences will include things like concerts packages and box sets, according to a press release.
There are two interesting aspects to this partnership. First, the items sold will include experiences as well as record music. Artists have used Topspin to offer a wide range of unique experiences (everything from VIP sound check access to drum lessons). So if history is any lesson, RCRD DEALS could offer some interesting things. Second, marketing will be centered on emails. Twitter and Facebook could also be used to send daily alerts about limited-time sales, but email is better at converting an impression into a sale.
RCRD DEALS is the latest example of music-specific flash sales. In late 2010, Sony Music launched PopMarket, a retail site that offers one-day sales on select music products (lots of box sets and collector edition releases). Warner Music's Rhino Handmade has offered limited-edition specials for more than a decade. On a larger scale, flash sales have become more prevalent as group discount services like Groupon and LivingSocial have exploded in popularity.
Brick-and-mortar retail has flash sales, too. RCRD DEALS, Pop Market and the others mimic the limited nature of the pop-up music store, a brick-and-mortar retail tactic of opening a store in a location for a very limited time. In the U.K., HMV has set up pop-up stores during the holidays. And bands such as the Flaming Lips and Jack White's Third Man Records have created pop-up music stores. In fact, Third Man has a record store-on-wheels that's at SXSW right now.