7-Eleven, Whole Foods Come Together for Fab 4


The Beatles will get a little help from new corporate friends on Sept. 9 when EMI Music embarks on the global launch of its digitally remastered Beatles catalog on CD to coincide with the release of videogame The Beatles: Rock Band.

It will be hard to miss the push this fall as Restoration Hardware, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Ralph’s, Pathmark, 7-Eleven and Blockbuster all promote the CD collection.

The label sees the move as a chance to use an artist with major muscle to open up new channels for the sales of CDs since record stores are becoming about as extinct as the 8-track tape. The Beatles—a notable holdout on iTunes—have the broad appeal that opens retail doors.

“It will allow us to reach the everyday places people shop,” said Bill Gagnon, svp, catalogue marketing for EMI Music North America. “We’re bringing the music to where they are.”

With one Beatle boot in the retail door, EMI sees a possible inroads for a roster that includes Coldplay, the Beastie Boys and the White Stripes along with classic artists such as Dean Martin and Nat King Cole. Gagnon is currently approaching food, drug, mass and other alt-retailers with the Now That’s What I Call Music! brand. “But it still needs to be a pretty significant project to get these outlets’ attention,” he explained.

Terry Dry, president of Los Angeles-based new media marketing agency Fanscape, said such retail outlets are a great channel for the label. “The Internet’s the ultimate distribution mechanism, but [labels] haven’t quite figured out how to monetize that well or how to still sell their shiny plastic discs. When you look at a place like a 7-Eleven or a supermarket where you can get that impulse  buyer who’s spending $100 on groceries, they might buy the Beatles remastered instead of US Weekly. EMI also has the Beach Boys and Sinatra and some pretty cool catalog stuff that makes sense to that shopper. My mother hasn’t totally figured out her iPod yet.”

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