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Career Overview: Provides CDs, DVDs, and music merchandise to stores whose main business is not music industry related.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $55,000+
Become a Rack Jobber
Many of the CD or DVD displays seen in supermarkets, department stores, book stores, and drug stores are put together by Rack Jobbers. Basically, it is their main responsibility to supply CDs, cassettes, records, videotapes, and DVDs to stores – all of which are not primarily in the music or video business.
The Rack Jobber may have a number of people working with them in the business or they may work alone, selecting CDs and DVDs to display and sell in a section of someone else’s store. Basically, the Rack Jobber pays a rental fee or leasing fee in return for shelf space. They may also be required to pay a percentage of sales in lieu of a rental fee. They are able to set up in a space that is already drawing a stream of customer traffic.
To get their product, the Rack Jobber buys records from a distributor, but the drawback is that it is impossible for the Rack Jobber to stock as many CDs or DVDs as a full-size store may be able to. So, they are forced to pick and choose, and will most likely stock shelves with the best-selling records that have high chart ratings. For store management, the benefit of hiring a Rack Jobber is that they are able to quickly and easily set up a CD/DVD department with essentially zero risk. If items do not sell, the Rack Jobber simply takes the products back.
After making sure that the selected CDs or DVDs make it to the store, the Rack Jobber must also make sure that they are displayed properly. Properly means the display should be visually appealing and organized in an intuitive manner. The Rack Jobber periodically comes into the store and takes inventory, taking back inventory that isn’t moving, and bringing in more best-sellers.
In a lease situation, the Rack Jobber must hire their own personal staff of salespeople. If the Rack Jobber wants to just train and supervise members of the store’s existing staff who will be working in the record department, then they must pay a rental fee and/or a percentage of sales to the store.
Additionally, the Rack Jobber supplies the store with advertising and promotional material in an attempt to help sell the records. It is also the job of the Rack Jobber (not the store) to keep inventory and accounting records for his or her rental space. He or she will also have the opportunity to get to know the distributors from many of the major record companies (looking for an A&R contacts list?), enabling the Rack Jobber to develop contacts within the recording industry.
To make sure contracts are renewed, the Rack Jobber must keep the stores happy and satisfied.
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The company, its location, and how many records are sold will determine salaries for Rack Jobbers. Earnings may be a straight salary or salary with commission, ranging from $25,000 to $55,000 plus per year.
Prospects for the Rack Jobber are good because there are many stores and shops that have album displays or relevant departments. In this position, he or she might take on a rack jobbing experience in its entirety or it may fall under the duties of a Field Rep, who usually performs many of the same functions as the Rack Jobber.
A Rack Jobber can advance their career by opening up their own record store, or by increasing the size of the business by widening the base of the operation. As mentioned, Rack Jobbers will be able to work closely with major recording company distributors who might be more apt to find a job for a Rack Jobber once the relationship has been established.
Education and Training
Rack Jobbers are not required to hold a formal education, but it may be preferred that he or she holds a high school diploma. Those who do go to college will benefit from courses in business, marketing, merchandising, and other related fields. Some schools, including music colleges, even offer music merchandising and music business majors.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
The Rack Jobber must stay informed on current trends in order to be successful. They must also have the ability to sell aggressively, but not in a pushy manner. Advanced organization skills are also helpful.
Unions and Associations
Rack Jobbers may belong to a number of associations, including the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) – which are both organizations that sponsor conventions, meetings, seminars, and conferences for members. These associations also offer books, pamphlets, and other information that is extremely useful in helping sell or distribute records, CDs, videos, and cassettes.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Visit various drug stores, department stores, supermarkets, etc., and find out who their Rack Jobbers are – then contact them if possible.
- Get a job as a clerk in a department store and move up from there.
- Call the distribution department of a major record company (buy a record business contacts list) to find out names and addresses of Rack Jobbers in your area. Then, send them your résumé and cover letter, and try to arrange an interview.