This month’s issue •
Come Write Me Down
Minutes Of Meeting Between The Various 'World Music' Record Companies And Interested Parties, Monday 29th June 1987
- IN ATTENDANCE:-
- Chris Popham, Ben Mandelson, Roger Armstrong, Ted Carroll (GlobeStyle/Ace Records); Jonathan Rudnick (Crammed US/freelance); Amanda Jones, Thos Brooman, Steve Haddrell (WOMAD); Charlie Gillett (Oval); Mark Kidel (Channel 4); Ian A. Anderson, Lisa Warburton (Folk Roots/Rogue Records) ; Anne Hunt, Mary Farquharson, Nick Gold (AWW/World Circuit); Scott Lund (Sterns/Triple Earth); Iain Scott (Triple Earth/Sterns - Triple Earth); Chris Stapleton (Blues & Soul); Joe Boyd (Hannibal).
Roger felt that the main problem in selling our kind of material lay with the U.K. retail outlets and specifically the fact that they did not know how to rack it coherently. This discouraged them from stocking the material in any depth and made it more difficult for the record buyers to become acquainted with our catalogues. The initial purpose of the meeting was to encourage the retail trade via various concerted efforts as follows.
1. It was agreed that we should create a generic name under which our type of catalogue could be labelled in order to focus attention on what we do. We discussed various names for our type of music(s) and on a show of hands 'World Music' was agreed as the 'banner' under which we would work. Other suggestions were 'World Beat', 'Hot...', 'Tropical...' and various others. It was suggested that all of the labels present would use 'World Music' on their record sleeves (to give a clear indication of the 'File Under...' destination) and also on all publicity material etc. There followed a discussion on whether or not 'World Music' should be presented as a designed logo or simply as a specific type face. Discussion followed as to the extent to which this might engender exclusivity of elitism, thereby begging the question of how any other label/organisation may be able to join the club. The discussion centred around the possible conflict between the short term commercial aim of promoting 'World Music' (sponsored, promoted, and paid for by us), and the longer term aim of establishing 'World Music' as the generic term for this kind of music as with Reggae/Soul/Disco etc. (non-exclusive and open to all). Artists designs solicited for the next meeting.
2. A representative of each record company present spoke about their various methods and problems with distribution. Almost all companies used Sterns one way or another. Other distributors used are Pinnacle, Cartel, Projection, Topic, Charly, Cadillac, Celtic and Harmonia Mundi. Those who used the larger distributors were unhappy with the lack of specialised knowledge resulting in poor pre and after sales, and an apparent inability to penetrate a wider range of retail outlets, both independent and chain stores. Sterns, as the only distributor represented, admitted that the larger distributors reached more shops initially with bigger sell-ins on new releases, but felt that they were better placed to develop catalogue sales which is important to us all.
We need to change the idea (as related by Ian) that because we are involved in the same sorts of music, we are necessarily rivals.
3. Five possible sales devices were discussed. They are as follows:-
- Browser card containing 'World Music' heading and individual logos of companies involved.
- NME 'World Music' cassette to which each company would contribute material.
- Music Week advertorial.
- Counter Leaflets/joint Catalogue/Poster.
- Hiring a joint PR.
- World Music chart.
A browser card was felt to be a useful tool to help the dealers focus attention on World Music. However, it needed to be used in conjunction with a retail campaign. It was suggested that the distributors supplied a special offer catalogue pack drawn from all labels available to that distributor. Initially these would be records from the labels who pay for the browser, but with the ultimate aim of establishing a racking category for all World Music releases. It was suggested that Sterns could supply the browser together with a pack from virtually all labels involved, in order to expand the amount of retailers stocking our product in depth. Probable cost for 750 two-colour browsers will be £585 (on hardboard).
Roy Carr is willing to do a World Music NME cassette. All were keen on the idea and Roger suggested that each label forward their choices of tracks to GlobeStyle who will prepare the master for production. Each label should propose two tracks each (running time of these cassettes is 80 to 90 minutes). The cassette package will also include a mini-catalogue showing our releases. Probable tape pre-production cost will be around £250. Could everyone please forward a cassette containing their track choice(s) as soon as possible.
A Music Week advertorial was discussed briefly, but was considered premature, so Chris proposed a joint ad instead. Probable cost (with discount available) for a double-page spread would be £1600, and a single page would be £890. Advertising to the consumer press was also considered.
A counter leaflet featuring all companies is to be costed for possible use in a World Music retail promotional campaign.
Ian suggested that we hire a joint PR person. WOMAD suggested Suzanne Parkes, Arts World Wide suggested Sue Steward and GlobeStyle suggested Adam Isaacs (Spike). The outlay was suggested at around £1000. Further candidates for the job should be forwarded to Roger before the next meeting.
A World Music chart was felt to be a useful idea. Sterns were to come up with a list of 50 suitable shops. Iain suggested that NME might be better than Music Week for this. Anne asked why not both of these and City Limits as well. This would not have to be weekly. It was also suggested that Andy Kershaw might be persuaded to do a run down of this chart on his show regularly.
This whole campaign would start mid September and run through October, which would be designated World Music month.
Formalising the organisation was discussed. Most of those in attendance were worried about not having sufficient time to fulfil a formal position. Chris at GlobeStyle agreed to take on the treasurer's role to co-ordinate the various (scaled) contributions to the various projects. Roger achieved the post of chairman.
It was agreed that contributions towards the budget would be scaled in accordance to catalogue size and resources.
It was agreed to meet again as soon as possible to allow plenty of time to produce the necessary items. To this end we suggest Monday 13th July at the same time and same venue (if available). Please let us know if this is suitable by ringing GlobeStyle on 453 1311 and speaking to Chris or Roger.
We should also invite representatives of the various distributors concerned. This will be up to the individual companies to contact their own distributors and invite a suitable victim.
This letter is also going to Earthworks, Disc'Afrique and Lucy Duran who were unable to attend this meeting. Cooking Vinyl, Andy Kershaw and Topic are also invited to the next meeting. Tony Engle at Topic has contacted GlobeStyle and expressed an interest at being involved.
Mark Kidel from C4 was present and broached the subject of lobbying the MU on behalf of non-Commonwealth artists, who face difficulties in getting clearances for TV work. WOMAD and Arts World Wide also mentioned the problems with the new tax situation for visiting artists where 27% levy is imposed on all their income. There may be ways in which record companies can help.
DON'T FORGET TO CONFIRM 13TH JULY WITH GLOBESTYLE ASAP.
DON'T FORGET TO SEND GLOBESTYLE YOUR TWO TRACKS ON CASSETTE TO COMPILE THE NME PROJECT.
Please note Cartel's 'New Routes' idea in current issue of Music Week! Comments?
We'll summarise these minutes and send out a press-release to Music Week.
Thanks to everyone for coming!
This month’s issue •
Come Write Me Down