What do you want to become?
Alternate Career Titles:
Merchandising Representative, Field Representative
Career Overview: Distributes merchandise and promotional materials to retailers and wholesale departments.
Career Salary Range: $27,000 to $42,000+
Become a Field Merchandiser
The Field Merchandiser works in a variety of record company departments, including merchandising, marketing, sales, and promotions, depending on how the company is set up. (Want to get in touch with some record labels? Get your contacts list here.) His or her major responsibility involves visiting record stores and record departments of retail stores, distributing promo displays, posters, and merchandising aids. Displays might include posters, window displays, CD holders, pictures, CD covers, T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and more. In terms of setting up the displays, this might be done by the Field Merchandiser, or the responsibility may be given to the Record Store Manager, with the Field Merchandiser giving advice on what kind of setup would be most effective.
Because of the vast amount of music stores, the Field Merchandiser does quite a bit of traveling. Staff meetings also take up part of the Field Merchandiser’s day, where topics of conversations include new promotions and merchandise. They might also discuss which retailers are effectively using displays, and which ones are not.
It is also important that the Field Merchandiser check store inventory. If the supply is low, the Field Merchandiser would contact the Record Label Salesperson or Sales Manager responsible for that area.
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Depending on their responsibilities and the size and location of the label, a Field Merchandiser can expect to earn a salary of $27,000 to $42,000 or more per year.
Because of the many markets, prospects for the Field Merchandiser are pretty fair.
To move up the career path, a Field Merchandiser may look at work within the marketing department. They might also consider becoming a Merchandising Coordinator, a Record Label Sales Rep, or a Sales Manager, etc.
Education and Training
Small labels may only require a high school diploma for their Field Merchandisers, but larger record companies prefer or require a college or degree (see our list of music schools here). Useful majors that will help prepare an individual for a job as a Field Merchandiser might include advertising, marketing, or communications. There are also a number of colleges offering music merchandising or music business degrees.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
While it is not necessary, it is a good idea for an individual to have some sales experience prior to taking the job. Someone who is easy to get along with, who can establish a good rapport, and who is articulate should flourish as a Field Merchandiser. A good knowledge of the music and/or record industry is necessary.
Unions and Associations
Field Merchandisers can belong to the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), which is an organization that represents those in the recorded music industry. Regular membership is open to record stores, distributors, Rack Jobbers, etc., while associate membership is open to others in the industry.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- A job in a record store in a large market will provide a great opportunity to meet with Field Merchandisers, Salespeople, and people in Promotions. This provides the chance to ask questions and build connections with those already in the business.
- If you do find a position within a record store, ask your Manager to reach out on your behalf to their Field Merchandiser contact at each record label.
- Always consider becoming an Intern in the marketing or merchandising department of a record company in order to get your foot in the door.
- Send your résumé and cover letter to the Personnel Director so they’ll have your information on file.