Selling CDs at a movie theater
July 14, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Can I purchase CDs at wholesale cost, even though I don't own a music store?

I own a movie theater, and from time to time a movie rolls around that has an incredible soundtrack (we're showing ONCE right now), which makes everyone want to buy it. How could we go about buying 20 to 25 copies for resale? Is there some certain place music stores buy there CDs from? Is this even legal?
posted by bjork24 to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a Costco or similar retailer, you can probably get the CDs for a low enough cost to mark up and resell. Don't worry that your price may not be "the best" price, because people are buying from you on impulse and convenience. As long as your price is not out of line with what the regular retail cost is, you should be fine. You can also return the unsold ones.
posted by The Deej at 8:16 PM on July 14, 2007

Response by poster: That's a great idea, but our primary focus is on smaller films, which means the soundtrack probably won't be at any of the big box retailers. I wonder if Amazon has a return policy for unopened CDs.
posted by bjork24 at 8:20 PM on July 14, 2007

Since you're focusing on smaller films, you might be able to strike a deal with the studios themselves. Their PR people might see this as a good enough idea that it would be worth their while to help you out--after all, it would help them out, too, right? The PR contacts for Once, for instance, can be found here.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:31 PM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

cerebus19 has an excellent idea. You may even be able to get advance promo copies of upcoming soundtracks along with rights to play them in your lobby to increase awareness. It's for sure worth looking into. I'd be interested to hear how it works out.
posted by The Deej at 8:42 PM on July 14, 2007

Do you have any independent music stores in town? Find out who owns your favorite one and become their friend. You may be able to order some cd's their their distributor if they are nice and cool and let you.

FYI: I've been following the Moxie blog since before y'all opened your theater and I don't live anywhere remotely close to you at all. But I intend to one day see a movie at your place, somewhere, somehow!
posted by punkrockrat at 9:04 PM on July 14, 2007

You need a one-stop. One stops buy from the major distributors in bulk and then sell small quantities to independent retailers, mom and pop shops, etc. They're another link in the chain so you'll pay a bit more (which is why indie record stores often have higher prices than big chains).

Call the record company of one of the CDs you're looking to sell and speak to the sales department. Then ask them to refer you to a one-stop to purchase product.
posted by gfrobe at 1:08 AM on July 15, 2007

I don't have an answer to your question (sorry) but I wanted to say that this is a great idea and maybe give you another one: our local art theater also sells DVDs of movies they previously ran. Not bootlegs or anything, just DVD releases of movies they showed in the past.

This is an awesome idea since, unlike major releases, indie films aren't shoved down our throats for months, and I often forget how much I liked a certain movie...or just forget about it, period.

I never buy DVDs, and almost never make impulse purchases that don't involve candy, yet I've still bought at least ten DVDs this way since they started carrying them six months ago.

Good luck!
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:04 AM on July 15, 2007

Seconding the idea to use a multi-label distributor. When I was in college, my roommate and I ran a CD shop out of our dorm room, and we had an account with a distributor in Houston. Rather than carrying stock, we'd get all our orders together on Friday and fax them over, then go pick them up. The cool thing about that was that our sales rep would also let us pick through their room of promos, posters, etc.

However, you should be aware that for a lot of your bigger releases, you'll get them cheaper at retailers like Best Buy, etc., because they sell them at or below cost as loss leaders. There were many cases where people would want a new CD, and it was cheaper for us to swing by Wal-Mart and grab a copy than to order it through our distributor.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 5:14 AM on July 15, 2007

Oh, I'll also point out that our orders were never more than 10-15 tapes/CDs per week, max, and never more than two of a given title (we specialized more in hard-to-find stuff), so you should have no problem finding a distributor who can accommodate periodic orders of 20-25 copies of a given title.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 5:16 AM on July 15, 2007

Many record labels will sell their CDs direct to services called "one-stops", where smaller retailers have accounts and can buy through them instead of through the label directly.

Two of the biggest are AEC One Stop and Baker & Taylor. You might try contacting them.
posted by softlord at 6:04 AM on July 15, 2007

Talk to Les or Tim down the street at Stick It, though you'll probably have to cut them in.

How about at Well Fed? I bet they have access to published material in general, not only books, and since they don't sell CD's there would be no competition.
posted by sourwookie at 9:20 AM on July 15, 2007

Or, you could go directly to the record label -- since, in some cases, these indie films are hooking up with indie labels to release the soundtrack, making it easier to track down someone to talk to.

We sometimes wholesale small CD orders to independent retailers (like children's book stores, museums, etc); just call up the label and find out who the retail manager is. Other labels might operate differently, tho, and will refer you to the distributor.
posted by pfafflin at 8:26 PM on July 15, 2007

The small 'indie film' type theater in my city does exactly this. I always thought it was a great idea. Only the lack of cash in my pocket kept me from buying a CD the last time I was there.
posted by zoey08 at 12:11 AM on July 16, 2007

Get the contact info for zoey08's local theater, call the owner and explain you want to do the same thing they're doing.
posted by anildash at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2007

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