The nice thing about being a type of department store for Christian merchandise is that the whole enterprise doesn’t rise or fall on a specific product type. Sure, it’s disheartening hearing about what’s happening in Canada with HMV stores, but most of us probably continued placing CD and DVD orders, right? Just because the guy running the marathon next to you just crashed into the grass next to the sidewalk doesn’t mean you have to stop running.
Even if these sub-sections don’t have specific signage, staff should know how to locate all of these for customers.
Where to put things? For example are mass choirs a subset of choral music or urban gospel (black gospel)? At the very minimum, books are displayed spine-out, but CD spines are harder to find, and in flip-bins, a small subsection of music can easily be missed.
- Bluegrass Music — This should be distinct from country gospel or southern gospel
- Wedding Music — Usually found among the soundtracks; if you’re still carrying those.
- Celtic — A tricky genre that almost always involves some cross-filing, since the group Iona (which we still get asked for) belongs in contemporary, but many of the generic Celtic music aligns better with the traditional and worship sections.
- Chants and Liturgical — Tracked more in stores which are responding to a distinct Catholic market; but for stores that don’t, you should be able to locate the Taizé and John Michael Talbot quickly for that small market segment that wants them.
- Mass Choir — There’s a disconnect here between people who ask where the section is and people who actually buy. We found the word “gospel” resonated more with our staff, so it ended up as subset of southern gospel, which objectively would be my very last choice. Probably better in urban or a choir section if you have one.
- Budget samplers — Anything under $5 really belongs at the checkout. You’re trying to introduce non-music customers to new artists, not lose a sale within the music department itself. Keep impulse music at the checkouts.
- Music parody — Really there’s just Apologetix and most people would ask for them by name. Are they still doing new albums?
- World Music and Jazz — You probably don’t have enough of anything to form a section, but if you do, staff should know who and where they are in the store.
- Local artists — Music you’ve taken in on consignment from local bands and artists deserves to be featured within its proper style, not placed in some independent ghetto. If it’s rock, put it in rock. If it’s worship, put it in worship. They probably left you a quantity so just put them face out where people can find them. True, they’re taking up space where you’d rather display things you actually own, but hopefully you negotiated a decent margin. (We are so blessed in our store because YouTube’s David Wesley, with his album of acapella worship songs, is also a local artist. Let me know if you want some CDs!)
- ‘Tween music — Hate to say it, but in our store it’s a subsection of the children’s department, which is physically as far removed from the rock/contemporary section as possible. Ideally, it would be located in contemporary, but we’re really full there, and the parents are more comfortable when it is still part of the kids section.
- EDM — Electronic Dance Music is still the rage (or should that be rave) with some customers and would probably be happy in a section of its own.
- Spoken Word — Sorry, these aren’t music. Yes, some of the scripture medleys have a music background, but they really belong with your audio books.
What specialty music sections are unique to your store?
Since Eddie got there first, we’ll give him a free song spin here. After the second chorus, the bridge always reminds me of Coldplay.
I don’t want to be an alarmist, but the May 2013 page at YourMusicZone.com currently consists of only 13 items, and two of those are in Spanish and two are instructional DVD/ROMs. Hey guys, I need product to sell. I need product to attract customers into my store. That leaves us with two DVDs and seven albums, two of which are “best-of”s and one of which is the new Amy Grant.
What got me going on this was sitting in my car today with nothing to read but the last two music charts from the M&M (music and media) division of David. C. Cook Canada. Eighteen albums disappeared from last month’s chart. Several of the ones that replaced them were chart re-entries of older titles, a few were new. That’s one third of the chart turning over every month, which shows the volatility of the contemporary Christian music market. You can use the chart to check inventory or plan new purchasing, but it’s possible 30% of the titles won’t appear there 30 days from now.
Such are the times. But hey, Amy Grant is back. That oughta count for something — usher in a new age of music department prosperity, perhaps? Then again, maybe not with the new generation of music buyers, be they wholesale or retail.
We’ll have to check next month’s chart.
>>> Elsewhere this week in music news, EMI Gospel announces a joint partnership with Motown.
A new Hillsong title releases July 3rd.
From Your Music Zone:
…The idea behind Cornerstone was birthed out of an international tragedy last summer in Norway when more than 70 innocent victims, many children, were killed. Hillsong’s worship leader Reuben Morgan shares his response to this frightening shooting as he was visiting the Scandinavian Peninsula.
“When you write songs that people sing as part of their worship to God there is a bit of your soul that shares the aches of those around you. When there is tragedy, the song of lament wakes up with you, and when there is joy, the sound of praise fills your ears. To some it might seem really odd to reach for a guitar when tears are falling on scuffed up shoes, but I really don’t know any other way of being.”…