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Virgil's Headed To NARM. Are You?

The Ongoing Adventures Of An Indie Entrepreneur
Intrepid indie maven (Suburban Home, Vinyl Collective) and Hypebot columnist (You Can Always Go Back to School), Virgil Dickerson is packing his bags for SanDiego for next week's two headed mother of all music retail conventions - NARM (brick and mortar) and NARM Connects (digital).  He'll be filing regular reports for Hypebot; and if you're headed there we'd  both like to hear from you too. Stop Virgil in the hall and say hi; or write something and send it in. Or just add a comment to  one of Virgil's posts. Whatever works for you. And please buy Virgil a meal or a drink. It's his virgin NARM experience.

Virgildickerson VIRGIL DICKERSON: I am excited to report that for the first time in my 14 years of running a small, independent label and distribution company, I have decided to experience NARM. NARM (The National Association of Recording Merchandisers) is a not-for-profit trade association that serves the music content delivery community in a variety of areas including networking, advocacy, information, education and promotion. Each year, they host NARM Connects, a convention aimed at bringing together retailers, distributors, labels, artists, as well as mobile, digital, and technology companies.

I registered as a retailer, as Vinyl Collective, but my main goal is to meet with distributors with the hope of gaining better distribution. Since my label, Suburban Home, left Koch, we have been self-distributing ...

our releases and for the most part, we have been doing better than we have ever done. That said, I realize that we are missing some important accounts and could greatly benefit by having our releases in the one stops (currently, the only one stop we sell to is Edge Distribution).

In the United States, we currently work with Revolver, Revelation, No Idea, Cobraside, Junketboy/CIMS (on select titles), Hot Topic (on select titles), some regional chains (Newbury, Independent, Zia), Internet Retailers (Interpunk, Shockhound, Nerd Alert), and a handful of mom and pop stores. I am not sure that I want to get into the same situation I was in with Koch (or Navarre or Caroline before Koch) where we are exclusively distributed by one entity. And ideally, I will be able to get into a situation where we don't have to deal with return reserves (since a large number of our releases are on vinyl and the CDs we sell, we try our best not to over ship). I may be in dream land with that hope, but I plan to talk to everyone I can and soon after land some stronger distribution opportunities.

After telling Bruce my idea to write about my adventures in attempting to gain stronger distribution, he asked if I would be interested Hypebot's press pass for the event on the condition that I write about NARM. I was already planning on writing about my experiences, but this assignment will keep me a bit more focused. If you have something interesting worth writing about or are interested in offering me better distribution, please get in touch.

If there is an interesting event or panel worth seeing, let me know. My dance card is filling up quickly, but I have room to meet with more folks. Instead of publishing my email, you can get in touch with me through the Attendees link on the NARM Connects site. Just search for Vinyl Collective and there you will find my email. Will I contribute to Hypebot every day of NARM? Maybe.

Will Suburban Home / Vinyl Collective find new distribution opportunities? I think so. Will I make it to the Stone Brewery tour? God, I hope so. Please leave a comment on any restaurants, bars, venues, record stores I should visit. That would be very helpful. Thanks and expect more soon.