While the world was shutting down in response to the pandemic, the team at AMPED Distribution dug in, rolled up their sleeves, and improvised with their labels to seize all available opportunities to maintain product and revenue flow, while bringing a much-needed escape to music fans around the globe.
As a result of its bullish approach, AMPED reports that it is celebrating its most successful 12 month run to date. AMPED’s high-water mark can be attributed, in part, to the addition of a multitude of new distribution deals with some of the hottest independent record labels, including Better Noise Music, Earache Records, Nuclear Blast, [PIAS], Polyvinyl, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and Tommy Boy Music.
AMPED’s growth is the direct result of having the largest sales force of any indie distributor in the U.S., coupled with the ability to ship product just about anywhere on the planet. Those attributes, leveraged with a network of global partnerships provided uninterrupted product flow across AMPED’s label base even during the height of the international shutdown.
Head of AMPED Dean Tabaac sees nothing but upside for AMPED. “AMPED just finished another record breaking fiscal year (7/1/19 to 6/30/20) and we are defying and defining what physical sales can do on and offline. We were just about even with prior fiscal on CDs while the industry was down 30% and the industry was up 10.5% for vinyl while AMPED was up over 30%!
“In the new year, we think a critical campaign needs to focus on moving the new release street date back to Tuesday. The Friday street date has proven to be detrimental to maximizing sales across physical and digital platforms. Streaming remains strong and we feel it is actually helping physical sales since there are no longer cultural borders preventing anyone from listening and learning about any genre or artist they want.”
“We maximized our online presence as well as traditional accounts leading up to and during the COVID shutdowns. As a consequence of solid new release set ups at retail, and the ability to pivot to online and consumer direct fulfilled accounts, AMPED was able to continue to capture sales without skipping a beat. Without service interruptions, we continued to supply and meet the demand for great music through our online channels, traditional ecommerce and even brick and mortar that had curbside pickup service. If the appetite from consumer was there – we were able to fulfill the order,” adds VP of Sales Pip Smith.
While President of AWAL and Kobalt Music Group Ron Cerrito proclaims, “Our relationship with AMPED has always allowed us to be nimble, flexible and efficient with our artist's physical business. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, these strengths have proven even more valuable."
“The last couple years have been tough for everyone in the music industry,” declares Roy Culver, Head of North American Sales and Distribution at Nuclear Blast Records and Sharpetone Records. “Last year it was the distribution debacle at Direct Shot and this year the virus. Nuclear Blast is grateful to be working with a partner like AMPED who has been communicative, straight forward and on top of retail during this crazy time.”
Even with closed brick-and-mortar storefronts during the shutdown, AMPED’s artists led the way in supporting the growth of Broadtime, an aggregator and back end webmaster of more than 100 indie ecommerce websites. By providing solutions for online selling to more than 100 indie record store accounts, product was fulfilled by Alliance Entertainment (AEC) which preserved product flow and sales at independent record stores across the country. For retailers with closed physical storefronts, AEC was able to fulfill orders taken through the retailer’s online stores.
“To me, this was one of the biggest success stories in the physical business part of the industry, that emerged during the pandemic”, said Jocelynn Pryor VP of Marketing at AMPED. ”Not only were they [Broadtime] able to assist stores they already worked with, they were able to onboard new retailers and integrate their back end ecommerce sites within 72 hours, and in the first weeks of COVID shutdowns, that was a saving grace for some stores. Since then, they’ve been able to advance the work of the coalition marketing programs like CIMS and AIMS as well as assist with hosting virtual concert events and more.”
When Merge Records artist Waxahatche’s latest album, SAINT CLOUD, came out March 27, it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s “New Artist Chart” and was singer Katie Crutchfield’s strongest first week debut ever. Meanwhile, Testament’s TITANS OF CREATION, released April 3 on Nuclear Blast Records, debuted in the top ten on Billboard’s “Top 200 Albums chart. Also having impressive chart debuts at #5 on Billboard’s “Current Rock Albums,” “Independent Albums,” and “Current Albums” charts was the latest album by Danzig, DANZIG SINGS ELVIS, which was released April 17 on Cleopatra Records.
Other new titles from Adam Lambert, AWOLNATION, M. Ward, and Nightwish released over the last four months, all achieved significant chart positions and commercial success, proving that great music was still very much in demand by the fans. While the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, AMPED is proud of the performance of its retail partners, and its ability to adapt and preserve product distribution without interruption.