Monday, November 19, 2007

Eagles stick it to "the man"

In past posts, we have documented the changing relationships between retail stores and the manufacturers that supply them (see list of posts on managing vertical relationships). Now the Eagles are trying to bypass the recording industry by releasing their new album exclusively through Wal-Mart.

It’s possible that the Wal-Mart exclusive will translate to fewer total “Eden” CDs sold. Bostonians, for example, will have to travel to Quincy, Lynn or beyond to pick up the album. If you want to download it, forget iTunes; you can only access “Eden” from the Wal-Mart Web store.

What do the Eagles get in return for giving Wal-Mart an exclusive? A $40 million ad campaign and a much larger cut from every one of the self-released CDs sold.

Ed Christman, a Billboard magazine retail reporter, doesn’t know the details of the Eagles/Wal-Mart deal, but suspects that without having to split profits with a record label or distributor, the band could rake in twice the standard superstar cut of $4 an album.
After decades of artists singing about sticking it to the man, do we finally have an artist who figured out how to do it?

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