A new article compares AC/DC and Guns N' Roses' exclusive deals with big box chains and asks the question: Do exclusive deals with big chain stores help?
The answer: Only if the band puts in the effort.
"Wal-Mart, for its part, went all-out in promoting the disc, and the band as a brand. According to independent music marketing executive Bob Chiappardi, who was involved in the strategy, 'it was an encompassing thing...they put a pop-up store in the men's department in all the Wal-Marts, at the entrance they had posters [and] postering throughout the store, they had stand-up racks in the aisles approaching the men's department, and then they had displays in the CD department, a whole top row on the VH1 rack. Not only back catalog, but video games, the AC/DC version of Rock Band and T-shirts.'You can click the link below for the full article.
The band, in turn, employed all the standard promotional strategies for a new album — it made a video for the first single, 'Rock N' Roll Train,' submitted to interviews and embarked on a massive world tour. Result? Black Ice (which is fantastic, by the way) topped the charts, the concerts sold out — and the band was back, any lingering image controversy surrounding its collaboration with Wal-Mart washed away on a flood tide of cash.
But what about the year's other big exclusive deal — Guns N' Roses' release of Chinese Democracy through Best Buy? In many ways, it was something of an apples-and-oranges comparison. Wal-Mart is a much larger chain than Best Buy, and it threw itself behind its chosen album much more vigorously. BB, which significantly reduced the amount of floor space devoted to music in 2008, offered no store-within-a-store. It merely set the album on cardboard towers on the sales floor, which were dwarfed in many outlets by similar displays advertising the complete Sopranos on DVD.
But according to a marketing executive familiar with the deal, this minimalist-seeming strategy was all that was arranged up-front: 'They're kinda just doing what they can do with what they've got. The only thing [Guns N' Roses] had to deliver was a video and the record.' (The video will be for the second single, 'Better,' and should be out sometime soon.)
According to industry scuttlebutt, the negotiations for the Best Buy deal were frantic and down to the wire. 'These guys didn't have finished music until a month before,' says one source. 'It was insane. In all honesty, Axl was working on everything — the art, everything — right to the end.' Indeed, in a recent web chat on a Guns N' Roses fan site, Rose (manager Andy Gould later confirmed that it was really him) stated that there were plans for multiple covers that may emerge in the future, that he has a favorite, and it's not the one currently in stores.