How can I get those free goodies if I don't have a store in my town?
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 EXTREMELY limited.

How does a label work with CIMS?
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.

Does it cost money to work with CIMS?
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.

Can I work with individual stores?

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.

I just put out my own CD. How do I get it in you stores?
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.

How come there is not a CIMS store in my town?
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.

How does a store become a part of CIMS?
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.