Biz Buzz: Drivin’ Your Way to No. 1

Jim Reed Chevrolet, located just a block away from Music Row near the intersection of West End and Broadway in Nashville, stopped selling Chevys this year.

The famous dealership is now Jim Reed Hyundai and Jim Reed Subaru. Jim Reed opened as a Chevy dealer way back in 1917, which was during World War I and eight years before the Grand Ole Opry debuted in 1925. It dropped Chevy briefly during the 1920s, but from 1930 to 2010 was one of the country’s top Chevrolet dealers.

For fans of American-made cars, the transition of Jim Reed Chevrolet into a dealership for a couple of Japanese makers is depressing. But from the standpoint of country radio and country artists, this kind of development can create loads of opportunity to get their music heard.

Radio has used live remotes for generations, and very often these remotes have happened at local auto dealers. A live remote takes place when a station sets up a location to broadcast all or part of a show from somewhere in its coverage area, giving both the station and the location wonderful visibility and boosting sales for both the sponsor and the station.

So when a dealer like Jim Reed or one in your own local area makes a major change like Jim Reed has, or when it wants to promote a Labor Day Sale or another special event, what’s a better way to attract traffic to its lot than to have live music?

If you’re an artist or label or artist manager, how could this help you?

Well, potentially this kind of live appearance takes place at a time of day when the sun’s out and bands and clubs often are not working. These remotes happen during the days, when the artist would rarely have an opportunity to perform his live show.

Besides, let’s say your artist and the car dealer agree that the artist will appear, for instance, on an upcoming Thursday from 1-4 p.m. at the dealership. In return for appearing, which usually will be an unpaid gig, the artist should insist that the dealer promote the heck out of that appearance in advance. That way, they can greatly enhance your potential merchandise and CD sales at the appearance.

And if your artist is appearing as part of a radio live remote, make sure the station also helps promote the show as well. The station will usually be doing part of its programming that day from the live remote, and if you’re smart you’ll make sure they include a segment where your artist gets to play a song or two on the air and have the DJ interview the artist about his music and upcoming shows.
This would be an outstanding opportunity to get radio airplay, perhaps on a station that reports to Billboard or Country Aircheck, without having to shell out the usual thousands of dollars that such a spin would normally cost you.

Another exciting radio opportunity is slated to go online soon, when launches. This site will be a remarkable chance for artists and songwriters to get their music or their songs heard.
Besides, car dealers are just one opportunity for you to take advantage of the live remote potential in your area.

Think, for instance, of how much an appearance at an area Wal-Mart might help your country artist. Wal-Mart is a hugely important partner with Music Row for CD sales. They are always one of the biggest sellers of country CDs.

It’s recently been reported that 140 Million Americans go to a Wal-Mart at least once a week. If your artist played an hour or two in a Wal-Mart parking lot, how many CDs and T-shirts do you think you might be able to sell? If you’re considering this, contact the management of the Wal-Mart store in your area.
The point of all of these suggestions is that they give you the opportunity to create what the radio stations call NTR – non-traditional revenue. Just about every artist is going to try the conventional venues in your area, the clubs and bars and state fairs. But how many would ever think of adding an auto dealership or Wal-Mart appearance every once in a while?

This can help your artist build buzz, sell merchandise, and even get radio airplay—all at places most bands and artists drive by every day without ever thinking of playing.

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