After the fury of the Grammy win — and of course, I mean that it the best way possible, one of the first things I left the house to do was check local music stores to see how many copies were available of Tingstad and Rumbel’s Acoustic Garden.
One of the best things I’d done during the Grammy process was hire a clipping service to measure the media hits throughout the Grammy process. This was the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003. Print media was still king and you could count the number of media impressions accrued.
The number was staggering. 100 million media hits occurred over about 3 months.
So you can imagine my surprise when the local Borders had just one copy of Acoustic Garden in the bin. Surely they’d have more coming soon. I wondered how many they’d sold in the past week or 10 days. Finding the manager, he said that title wasn’t familiar to him, so he’d have to look it up. I explained confidently, Tingstad and Rumbel had just won a Grammy award, and surely copies had flown out the door like hot cakes. Norah Jones won five Grammys and look at all the CDs available in support of that!
As intently as the manager was looking at his computer files, I was becoming a little concerned. Looking over his glasses, the frown lines got deeper the more I babbled about Grammy this and Grammy that, all the media attention in Seattle and Tacoma, Tingstad and Rumbel’s largest market in the country.
Finally the guy told me there had been only one copy in the store over the holiday season, and there were no more on order from the artists’ label. But they had a show that night I stammered. The Tacoma News Tribune just did a big splash in the Entertainment section in support of the win and the welcome home performance at the University of Puget Sound.
Without a doubt I was flabbergasted. What? One stinkin’ copy of a Grammy award-winning CD in a national chain who was selling music to everyone and their brother? How could that be?
Clearly the manager wasn’t at fault and I didn’t want to provide further proof of how ridiculous I could sound in a situation like this. So I went home a bit red-faced.
If you think I was a bit miffed and befuddled…that’s nothing compared to how Eric and Nancy felt. They pressed their label to get more product out as quickly as possible, but it was evident the emotional window for sales had closed. Their label wasn’t prepared for the win.
So here’s the lesson to take away. Media is more than happy to support such fantastic news and clearly when someone is nominated for a huge national award, there needs to be product in place far and wide. What most people probably don’t realize is media expects product to be easily accessible if they commit time and space to a new release in their publication.
This is sort of a lesson in reverse. If you go to media with a new release, a book, or some other time sensitive product with a shelf life, you better darn well be sure product is easy and accessible to the public.
Even though music is accessible instantly today, you have to make sure it’s in traditional as well as non-traditional outlets. Too little access equals little media attention.