Indie Stores Are Being ‘Strangled’ By Major Label Distribution: ‘Things are a complete mess.’
Independent music stores are demanding action from all three major labels over repeated missing and incorrect shipments handled by their primary fulfillment partner Direct Shot Distributing. "We need help right now on this issue or you will begin to see stores fold simply because their supply chain strangled them," says Michael Bunnell, Executive Director Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS).
Direct Shot maintains warehouses in Indiana and California offering supply chain services and fulfilment of CD, vinyl and other physical goods for Universal, Sony and WMG.
"The CIMS store experience with Direct Shot is a total disaster," wrote Bunnell in an open letter to the industry. "They cannot get new releases to the stores by street date. They cannot do tracking of missing orders or partial orders." The Coalition of Independent Music Stores is a collective of 43 independently owned record stores in 25 states.
"Yesterday my store received a pallet from them, two boxes were part of our Sony order, the rest was sent to us but an order from a completely different store" he continued. "We have yet to receive the balance of our order."
WMG recently shifted its distribution to Direct Shot and that only seems to have made things worse. "The service from all the majors has suffered tremendously," maintains Bunnell. "Universal service has taken a huge dip recently which has affected new releases and catalog orders… The time we used to spend supporting your artists is now spent trying to keep any products in the stores. You are punishing your best customers."
"It’s honestly hard to believe that multi-billion dollar companies can’t even exert enough control over their own production partners to see that they handle distribution properly." he concludes. "Is this the way you intend to rid yourselves of that troublesome physical retail sector, by destroying the machine from within? Because that’s what it looks like."