DIRECT SHOT: Indie Retailers Complain of Breakdown in Getting CDs & Vinyl Delivered to Record Stores

Indie Retailers Complain of Breakdown in Getting CDs & Vinyl Delivered to Record Stores.….

By Dawoud Kringle

The Franklin, Indiana based company Direct Shot has been used by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to fulfill physical product orders to retailers and wholesalers. In theory, Direct Shot should function as an invisible pipeline to get product from the major label distributors and their labels to record shops and wholesalers around the country.

However, since Direct Shot started managing orders for all three major labels, stores haven’t been getting their entire product.

In April, WMG switched to Direct Shot from its previous manufacturer and fulfillment house, Technicolor. As a result, the U.S. industry distribution system became overloaded, and the entire pipeline was thrown into chaos. This affected not only all the major distributors, but also the independent distributors they own. This resulted in music from record labels (which comprise almost 85% of U.S. music sales) being misshipped to stores; and sometimes not shipped at all.

This is probably a severe form of gallows humor, combined with a generous helping of paranoia (despite being a perfectly admissible argument). But it eloquently expresses the situation that is hurting them financially and ruining relationships with customers.

The merchants’ frustrations at Direct Shot Distribution’s incompetence has become so bad, a music industry conspiracy theory arose to explain it. The majors, it is believed, want to completely eliminate all physical formats of music. Using Direct Shot as a fulfillment house to ship all their CDs and vinyl to stores is seen as a deliberate attempts to destroy the physical music format, so the majors can gain control over all forms of music distribution.