Music doesn't account for a large portion of Hot Topic's overall business.

In fact, CEO Betsy McLaughlin says, music CDs and DVDs are only "a single-digit part of what we sell."

Still, the teen apparel and lifestyle retailer has made judicious use of marketing partnerships with record labels and film studios to drive traffic to its stores-and, yes, to sell the occasional CD.

In October, Hot Topic expanded its music retail operations with the launch of a new digital storefront called, which sells music downloads and licensed merchandise and incorporates social-networking features throughout the site.

In an interview, McLaughlin talks about Hot Topic's approach to music retailing.

1. Some retailers have announced plans to cut back on the amount of floor space devoted to music. Is Hot Topic planning a similar move?

No. We are experiencing double-digit increases in [sales of] CDs. We have more market share because so many of the record stores are going out of business. Last summer we repositioned the inventory to be about small bands. We want only 20-25 of the [albums] we sell to be really big bands and the rest to be small, regional bands, the kinds of bands people want to support and are willing to pay for a CD.

2. Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target continue to score exclusive album releases for big-name artists. Does Hot Topic have any interest in vying for album exclusives as well?

Click here for the full article, which includes Hot Topic's interests in exclusives, details on its partnership with Atlantic on the "Twilight" soundtrack and more.