gnr–>dr. pepper and big “rock” bands exclusive at “big box” stores

You may recall that earlier this year, for some inexplicable reason, Cadbury-Schwepps (now Dr. Pepper Snapple Group) offered a free can of Dr. Pepper to everyone in America[1] if Guns N’ Roses’ long in-production Chinese Democracy came out in 2008. Well, Chinese Democracy is coming out exclusively at Best Buy later this month and Dr. Pepper has confirmed they’ll hold up to their end of the offer.

While I don’t think I need any more GNR, I’ll take free Dr. Pepper for sure, so maybe it’s not all bad. (I’m a bit of a Dr. Pepper fan–I’ve even been to the museum in Waco, TX.)

What’s interesting is that Chinese Democracy isn’t the only big rock band going the exclusive route: AC/DC’s latest, Black Ice, is available exclusively at Walmart.

With the efficiency of modern physical and digital distribution methods, it seems to me like the best way to get music to the most people is to make it easily available to the most people. It puzzles me, then, what bands/ labels see in these exclusive deals. Are they getting money from the retailers? Or are they just getting premium placement and added promotion?

While smaller labels and self-released bands seem to be getting better with regards to making logical choices about promotion and distribution, big music continues to puzzle me.

[1] Except Buckethead and Slash

One response to “gnr–>dr. pepper and big “rock” bands exclusive at “big box” stores”

  1. Will says:

    I remember when Smashing Pumpkins last year did exclusive deals with Target and Best Buy and everyone was like, “Billy Corgan’s a dick.” I see their point as it was the indie stores who championed Smashing Pumpkins way back and he was repaying them with that. I don’t think Axl’s ever quite had that indie spirit so perhaps he won’t be as despised by the indie stores. My guess is that GNR and their label are getting a significant portion of the profits – more significant than through standard distribution. For Best Buy this is just a loss leader hoping to draw people in to by stereos and gaming consoles and whatnot. The Eagles made their reunion album exclusive to Wal Mart as well. I can see artists on that level doing an exclusive deal, but in the case of AC/DC – I’d imagine most folks are unaware that AC/DC is still making new music. So, the exclusive deal, maybe good for Axl – would probably not be good for Sufjan or the National if they wanted to go that route.

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