Home > Uncategorized > David C. Cook Canada Cancels Music Loyalty Program with Only Six Weeks Notice to Consumers

David C. Cook Canada Cancels Music Loyalty Program with Only Six Weeks Notice to Consumers

The company that controls distribution of well over 90% of the recorded Christian music sales in Canada, David C. Cook Canada, has canceled its Buy-5-Get-1-Free loyalty program, a staple of music sales and every bit as much a tradition in this country as Hockey Night in Canada. The company claims that “changes in the marketplace” force this and that “some of the record labels we represent no longer support the program.”

But in a letter which begins, “Dear Retail Partner,” the company is asking us to spread this word to customers, who have only until April 30th to redeem the stickers. With a diverse, scattered customer base, it is totally impossible to inform the number of people who will be impacted by this, and they will in turn vent their frustration on us, the front-liners. Retail partnership indeed.

Dealers are going to have people coming in all summer and into the fall, walking up to the counter with CDs and reaching in their pocket for coupons which were obtained and retained in good faith.

As of mid-week, our bookkeeper informed we have about 48 such coupon sets sitting in a drawer, and absolutely nothing urgently needed that would cause us to redeem them anytime soon. But we’ve already given away the product. Even at a lower price of $14.99, that’s nearly $750 in retail tied up in little bits of paper and plastic, not to mention the cost of shipping the original units we gave away, plus the cost of shipping replacements.

This sudden move lacks grace, and grace is the hallmark of our faith.

Furthermore, with stores known to “buy around” the Canadian distributor, eliminating the consumer loyalty program effectively ends any hope of vendor loyalty. But that’s if you decide to stick with music at all. The second time around redemptions are actually a Buy-4-Get-1-Free because the customer kept the coupon from the free item. That means it’s at least a 25% saving in the mind of the customer, even more so, if they bought less expensive discs, but redeemed the scrip for a more costly one. So basically, you’re eliminating the advantage at a time when physical music sales already face fierce competition.

Christian music sales in Canada will drop significantly.

Any company that would do this to the very consumers who have stuck with and supported physical music shows absolutely no respect for the people who have supported it all these years. While I know I will be told, “you don’t know all the factors that went into this,” I do know that the manner in which this is being carried out is just mean.

You can hurt me, do anything you want to me; but when you hurt my customers, you cross a line. Six weeks is insufficient notice.

…Tonight we started the information process:

Our customer notification of music program cancelation

UPDATE: With no previously published expiry date, or any posted terms of service, pulling the plug on this program without actually shutting down the company may contravene Canadian consumer law.


  1. March 7, 2015 at 12:21 am

    I was stunned to hear this announcement- Its totally unfair to our customers, we need at least 6-8 months to shut something like this down. We have no competitive edge now.

    • March 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      This reminds me of an article a friend of mine wrote years ago about “High-Risk and Low-Risk Transitioning.” In every organizational change, there are low-risk ways to do things to avoid losing people. As this stands, this is not the case. Customers will blame the local store, and will tell their friends that “the bookstore” is now refusing their coupons. That’s inevitable.

      With everything taking place in our industry right now, the one thing we need to keep is a level playing field. This announcement changes the whole scope of what is, for many stores, a key part of their bottom line.

      Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot…

      I agree with you, Lando; 6-8 months is needed.

  2. March 7, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    This was indeed a shock. Obviously they are watching their bottom line but we are indeed the ones that bear the brunt of customer reaction.

    Another Canadian distributor we are having trouble with is Foundation Distributing. Since they stopped sending sales reps to the store and then stopped sending monthly new release lists in a timely manner (3-6 months ahead) we have been in an ongoing struggle to get these lists even a week of two before the month in question. That means we are at times unaware of new titles releasing from well known authors and that leaves us without stock and without the knowledge there is even a book to order when a customer asks about it. Who looks bad then? The store of course.

    I have emailed and talked on the phone to FDI for almost a year now and keep getting the same refrain – we’re too busy to get that out yet/We’re doing our best/we can’t do that early because some stores order 3 months ahead and then cancel those orders so we are only sending them during the month they are releasing. This month, after the usual struggle to get the titles releasing, i discovered there was a John Ortberg and a Karen Kingsbury book listed that had actually released in February!

    I would be interested in hearing what other stores are doing about this situation and if indeed they are experiencing the same situation we are.

    • March 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      This article isn’t really about Foundation but their Telesales Rep (Debbie) sends out new release lists. Personally, I prefer to not buy too far ahead. I start my day on the “Latest Releases” page of STL, to make sure I haven’t missed anything; and at the end of each month, I scroll through a large number of pages in the “Forthcoming” listings at Ingram (under ‘Religion’) for the month to follow. I catch a lot of interesting things this way, including stuff from small publishers.

      As to the topic of the day, you’re right. The loyalty coupons are going to hit the fan and we’re going to be the ones standing in the direct line of fire. See the next comment here for another perspective on this.

  3. Michele
    March 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I would think this is quite a surprise to everyone….and too short a timeline for the customers and merchants to benefit from the coupons. Another ‘sign of the times’?

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