Many of the CIMS member stores have their own websites. Go to CIMS
STORES, call or hit any store's link, and order that artist's
CD to receive the free toy. You may wish to call the store before
ordering online, because supplies on many of these collectibles are
Normally, a label will contact CIMS to work an artist for a given
period of time. In most cases, CIMS HQ will poll the stores and vote
on that release's inclusion on a project. Factors that decide whether
or not a release is voted in depends on available space, whether or
not the stores like the release, and what other support may lend to
a release's success.
Yes, CIMS charges labels to run promotions. There are a lot of office
expenses involved with setting up nationwide promotions with CIMS
accounts, such as office space, phone, DSL, and fax lines, and the
personnel to coordinate these efforts. The cost of our programs covers
those expenses. Through a vigorous voting protocol, CIMS has turned
down hundreds of thousands of dollars in years past, simply because
member stores did not believe that the titles met the standards of
a CIMS program.
Although it sounds simple just to make one call and get your release
in all the stores, CIMS realizes that not all titles make sense for
a national program, whether it be due to the budget or potential audience.
For localized cases, we highly recommend direct contact with member
stores to set up local marketing efforts. Numbers and addresses are
available under the CIMS STORES page.
Unfortunately, CIMS does not have an internal distribution mechanism
to get your release into all of our stores nationwide. Each CIMS member
is owner-operated, and each makes its own purchasing decisions. Therefore,
you would have to contact each individual member store to get your
music into the stores.
One thing many of us have learned from our experiences: we always
recommend building a local story before trying to go nationwide. There
is little need to have your product sitting on a shelf if you are
not able to actively promote it in a particular market, whether it
be through touring or radio airplay. As an independent artist, it
is ALWAYS best to focus your energies on a handful of areas in which
you can build your audiences and develop relationships with the right
club bookers, store owners, and radio staff. New technologies now
allow you to have your music heard around the world via the internet,
but nothing beats human interaction to get the word out about your
labor of love.
CIMS began its charter membership through a roundtable discussion
of independent music store owners at a convention in 1995. Since then,
CIMS has cautiously grown its membership to include stores that have
the reputation as "button pushers" both within their communities
and within the music industry. The slow-growth practice of CIMS has
been largely dictated by a search for quality members in markets that
help impact sales of releases. Just because a store is not part of
CIMS does not mean it is not Coalition worthy, but rather the result
of the Coalition’s deliberately slow, judicious process that
concentrates on quality over quantity.
The main basis for deciding if a store joins CIMS is whether or not
it is a button pusher both within its community and within the industry.
Does the store have a reputation for helping develop an artist's profile
in the market? CIMS is currently looking for new members, and encourages stores that meet such standards to develop a portfolio to submit to be voted in. Anything to show the store's role in breaking artists
helps: charts, store pictures, newspaper and magazine articles, promotional
recaps, industry recommendations.