Meijer Promotes Local Music

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer is collaborating with new and local artists to enliven its music offering. Unsigned musicians from within the Meijer marketing area can send their CDs to the retailer for a chance to gain exposure. Through its new program, called Outside the Mainstream, which began late last month, Meijer will purchase 1,000 copies of an independent musician's CD for distribution in all

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is collaborating with new and local artists to enliven its music offering.

Unsigned musicians from within the Meijer marketing area can send their CDs to the retailer for a chance to gain exposure.

Through its new program, called “Outside the Mainstream,” which began late last month, Meijer will purchase 1,000 copies of an independent musician's CD for distribution in all of its 178 stores.

“Our recorded music buyer and his team were talking about the state of the industry, and how there are great musicians in our area who are working hard to get their names out to a broader audience,” Meijer spokeswoman Stacie Behler told SN.

Each month, the retailer will give one artist promotional space in its circular, which reaches 7 million households, and sell the artist's CDs in its stores for $7.49 each.

Merchandising will include signage about the program and the featured artist in the music and electronics area of the store, called E4. “There will be tons of content about featured artists,” Behler said.

“So right now, for Joshua Davis, who is the featured artist, the signage talks a little bit about his music style, so when customers buy his product for $7.49, it's not a complete gamble,” Behler said. The content will typically include the musical genre and comparisons to other artists, along with acclaim the artist has received, she said.

With CDs, retailers are losing core business to downloading, said Neil Stern, senior partner, McMillan-Doolittle, Chicago. “This is a way to fight back,” he said.

“We are living in the YouTube generation, and artists now are launching in nontraditional ways,” Stern said. “Another advantage for Meijer is the appeal of this promotion goes to a younger demographic, and retailers are always anxious to find ways to connect with that customer.”

Featured musicians will be chosen by Meijer's recorded music team. “We will try to get a good cross-section of genres, so we will have everything from country music to jazz to R&B, and across our Meijer footprint, too,” Behler said.

The stores will continue to carry each artist's CDs if they don't sell all 1,000 units during the month the artist is featured, Behler said.

Davis, the first artist to be chosen for the program, is a Lansing, Mich., singer and songwriter who also is the singer of the acoustic quartet Steppin' In It.