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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Demystifying the music-merchandise connection

    Ever walked into a store and suddenly felt the urge to buy everything off the shelves because the music makes you feel so ecstatic to be engaging in the capitalist experience? No? Well, merchandisers are doing everything they can to make you feel inclined to shell out cash, and music choice is highly effective. Stores play specific music to match their target demographic —it’s been proven to increase revenue. While it might sound like mind control, it’s also pretty humorous and telling about where bands playing at certain stores fit on the style continuum. Here are a few examples of what it means if your album is playing at those ever-coveted trendy merchandise monoliths.



    If your album is being promoted at Starbucks, your music is probably a safe bet for most people. If you’re not a classic artist who’s already famous, you might be “”edgy,”” but let’s face it — entrants into the shop will feel the same level of satisfied trendiness regardless of their own music tastes or age. Reaching the level of Starbucks cool might be an achievement if you’re trying to communicate to a pop-friendly base, but your music will probably end up on that hits radio station twenty years from now — and cause a lot of grumbling from music snobs in the process.


    Heard at Starbucks: John Legend, Colbie Calliat


    Urban Outiftters:

    Pat yourself on the back, you hipster fiend — your album has reached a special level of achingly hip that most bands are already too well known to reach. As the budding hipsters (who happen to have enough money lying around that they haven’t already spent on PBR) shop for some canvas shoes, they’ll hear your album and sigh with contradiction — they loved you way before everyone else, but now that you’re playing at Urban … But don’t worry. You’ll probably become more famous in exactly the way you want — people will snatch up your album as a representation of the coolest, hippest thing on the market (that’s playing at a store, at least).


    Heard at Urban Outfitters: Girls, Discovery



    If your album is playing at Anthropologie, you’re either a tried-and-true retro artist who makes us all feel a little classier, or an extremely trendy pop band that is so eclectic most people have never heard of you. But your music is probably upbeat, or at least chirpingly twee. Your music is best consumed on a retro floral couch, while drinking a cocktail and assembling hors d’oeuvres.


    Heard at Anthropologie:  Zuco 103, British Sea Power


    Your music is pretty “”cool”” right now, especially among teenagers whose favorite hobbies include surfing, wishing they were surfing and buying trendy clothes. Get excited — you’re probably going to get a fairly wealthy base of tweens and highschoolers interested in you, and their parents will probably shell out oodles of cash to buy your next album. At least you’ll get a lot of recognition, since a lot of people walk through the store and don’t buy anything.


    Heard at Hollister: Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend



    You already know you’re popular if your music is playing at Abercrombie — in fact, your agent probably begged you to let Abercrombie play your music (it’ll sell even more records). Your music is most likely dance pop — you have to have a good baseline to use those mysteriously powerful woofers in the showroom. Go ahead, bask in your unbelievably fast climb to superstardom (or wealth, or both) — you’ve definitely hit a high point in your career with a large portion of the population.


    Heard at Abercrombie: Lady Gaga, Junior Boys


    Hot Topic:

    Your music has something to say, and it’s not always pretty. In fact, you scream about it a lot, usually on your album. But if it’s reached the speakers of Hot Topic, you’ve attained a level of fame among your like-minded fans that is pretty significant. Buy yourself a new pair of gauges already, you have plenty of cash with all those rebellious dreamers buying your album along with their mesh gloves and black t-shirts or nail polish.


    Heard at Hot Topic: My Chemical Romance, Disturbed

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