Through a partnership with Mall Jamz, the c-store giant is rolling out CDs at a time when demand for music in CD format is high but record stores are struggling.
Through a unique, national deal, 7-Eleven and Los Angeles -based Mall Jamz (in association with Thump Records) are bringing the CD business to 2,600 7-Eleven stores in the following markets: Chicago, the greater Los Angeles area, Lone Star, Texas, Mimi/Dade, Fla., Queens, N.Y., the Pacific Northwest, Plano/Richardson, Texas, southeast Dallas, south Texas.
The business model’s success relies on the ability to really know the neighborhood where the stores are located, said Thump CEO Bill Walker. “It’s all about niche marketing. We stock CDs at these stores that cater to the types of customers that frequent that store and to their musical tastes. Whether it is urban, hip hop, country, rock or whatever genre one can imagine, we find out, through market research, what the traffic (demographics) in that particular store requires and fill that demand.”
The move comes as record stores throughout the country have been in decline this past decade. The Wherehouse music chain brand and Tower Records are long gone and the Virgin Megastore is just a fond memory. The remaining national chains are struggling. Although there are fewer places to buy CDs, music in the CD format is still in demand and accounts for 300,000,000 units in annual sales.
For 7-Eleven customers, Oldies rank at No. 1, with Old School collections coming in at No. 2. For the industry at large, CD music sales are still 65% of sales, but for Walker and his Thump label, CDs account for 80% of sales.
“It surprises people,” Walker added. “This target audience is someone who usually goes to the convenience store down the street in their neighborhood. It catches people off-guard. CDs at 7-Eleven? Really? It never occurs to them that they could find their favorite CDs on sale at 7-Eleven … until they see them. And bingo – an impulse buy!”
Each market is unique. The Long Beach, Calif., store sells a lot of Old-School Rap and Freestyle (80’s Pop) CDs. In Fullerton, Calif., on the corner of Valencia and Brookhurst streets, customers need only to walk through the door to see racks of Old-School Classics and Oldies favorites on sale. Rock, country, urban, funk, hip-hop … all popular genres are stocked. Thump Records and Art Laboe’s Original Sound label is available. Customers can also pick up the OLD SCHOOL GOLD series, featuring the funk of the Gap Band, Zapp and Mary Wells, as well as the upcoming CRUZIN TO MOTOWN SERIES. Not only that, but they also carry the guitar virtuosity of superstar Carlos Santana, the infectious bilingual Latin pop of Rene y Rene, the Oogum Boogums of Brenton Wood and the neighborhood rhymes of local and regional artists.
“Everything is bargain-priced under $10,” Walker noted. “CDs are still your best value at $9.99.”