Indies Artists Asked To Pay $250 To Sell At Best Buy

image from 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 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" 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".image from

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.

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Indies Artists Asked To Pay $250 To Sell At Best Buy”

  1. Simon at

    If someone can’t sell 40 CDs, they probably shouldn’t be involved in this program. That being said, I’ve been in touch with the guys at J Distribution and found out that they pay $5.15 per CD. At that rate, if I can sell 49 CDs, I’ve covered my investment. If I can’t sell 49 CDs, I probably shouldn’t quit my day job!

    Another poster asked how many Best Buys your CD is sold at. J Distribution will put my disk in stores in metros where I’m performing and promoting. (They ask for information like how much air play am I getting in each market and how many downloads have I had from iTunes and Amazon in order to identify markets in which to place my CD.) Personally, I prefer this approach. That way, I know I’m not wasting money burning disks for them to sit in markets where I don’t peform.

    Hey, at the end of the day, it’s the artists’ job to promote themselves with this program. If you want someone else to do their promotion, then get yourself picked up by a label. Just be prepared to have the label deduct all of their marketing costs from the amount you end up getting paid. I’d rather be in control. If I don’t sell any CDs, I have only myself to blame!

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