What do you want to become?
RECORD COMPANY SALESPERSON
Alternate Career Titles:
Sales Representative, Sales Rep
Career Overview: Works to sell the label’s albums and merchandise.
Career Salary Range: $30,000 to $50,000+
Become a Record Company Salesperson
A Record Company Salesperson is responsible for completing sales of the label’s CDs, DVDs, and videos. To make a sale, the Salesperson visits accounts, makes phone calls, and mails out letters and other collateral. Accounts include retail stores, Rack Jobbers, one-stops, and online venues. To keep accounts satisfied and in order to make sales and meet quotas, the Salesperson must constantly visit his or her accounts. In order to maintain credibility, the Salesperson must also have a total and complete understanding of the company’s catalog. This includes all new releases, along with previously released albums that could be re-released on CD.
After a sale is made, the Salesperson must inform the purchaser of costs, the available discounts, and how much volume must be purchased in order to qualify for the discount.
A typical day calls for a Salesperson to visit a number of different accounts, and certain days may only involve catching up on correspondence and/or phone work. Depending on the size of the record label, the Salesperson might also be asked to take record store inventory of CDs and videos, while suggesting which products need to be ordered, setting up promo displays, and more. A Salesperson’s job is not complete once a sale is made, as a good Salesperson follows up to make sure orders were received and fulfilled as promised.
The Salesperson works directly with the Director of Sales, meeting regularly to discuss a number of different things such as strategy, etc.
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As is the case with most sales positions in a variety of industries, Salespeople can be compensated in a number of different ways, usually earning a straight salary, a salary plus commission on completed sales, or a commission against a basic salary. Because of all of this, and taking into consideration the many different sizes of record companies (contacts at record companies), it is difficult to estimate the yearly earnings of a Salesperson. But generally, earnings for a Salesperson might range from $30,000 to $50,000 plus per year.
For a Salesperson, employment prospects are fair, because of the fact that good Salespeople are hard to find in any industry. Major and smaller, independent record companies employ large numbers of Salespeople across a variety of music markets, including big cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Nashville, Atlanta, and Miami, among others.
A successful Salesperson with superior skills can be promoted to Sales Manager, or even to another supervisory position. A Salesperson’s skills speak for themselves, as it leads to sales, and quotas being met.
Education and Training
Educational requirements vary widely for Salespeople. Smaller labels may only require a high school diploma, while major labels generally require their Salespeople to hold a college degree. Useful majors to prepare an individual for a sales job include marketing, communications, and advertising. Now, more and more, colleges also offer music business and music merchandising degrees.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
To be a successful Salesperson, one must have a very specific skill set consisting of assertive, articulate communication and interpersonal skills. He or she must also be able to meet deadlines, and work under heavy pressure to meet sales quotas. They must have a knowledge of music and records in order to be successful.
Unions and Associations
Salespeople might be members of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), which is an association that offers a forum for those in the music business.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Apply to major record companies in large markets like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, and more.
- Why not send a résumé and cover letter directly to the record company? Your best bet would be to send to the National Sales Director and the Personnel department. Your materials will always resonate more if they are addressed to a specific person as opposed to just sending generally.
- With your resume, remember to quantify all of your sales accomplishments to paint a more complete and clear picture of your skills
- Always be sure to check out label websites for employment opportunities.