RICHFIELD, Minn. (Hypebot) – Independent artists who want their CD's stocked in their local Best Buy stores are being told to pay a $250 non-refundable upfront fee and to use a preferred vendor, the RegionalCD.net division of J Distribution.
Best Buy's official web site instructs indie and regional artists: "If you are ready to take your band to the next level, find out more by visiting RegionalCD.net." On that site, founded by a "former regional buyer for Best Buy," artists are told to send a J Distribution a CD for review. If selected, the first shipment must be accomponied by a $250 non-refundable "start-up fee".
The J Distribution site does not tell artists what wholesale price it is paying for the CD's that Best Buy will sell or what the return policy is. But normal industry margins run $3-$6 to the artist after packing, manufacturing and shipping (not including recording and promotion costs) are deducted. At that rate, an indie act would have to sell 40 to 80 CD's just to recoup its $250 "start-up" cost.