Published Jan 01, 2006A bona fide veteran of the Canadian music industry, Kim Cooke brings more than 30 years of senior level experience to his position as the general manager of Maple Music Recordings. "Done everything from soup to nuts," he jokes. Among other things, he currently oversees Maple Core's distribution wing, Maple Nationwide.
What is Maple Nationwide?
It's a distribution company, which distributes physical units to bricks and mortar retail and will also be involved in the digital distribution business. We do this via our partners at Universal who do the heavy lifting in a sense; the warehousing, pick, pack, ship, and sell. We've been at it at a year and most of our repertoire has been Canadian either independent artists or independent labels.
Who determines with whom you'll work?
Right now Maple Nationwide is primarily two people: there's the day-to-day manager, Jennifer McLeod and myself. There are all kinds of artists and labels knocking on our door every day looking to have an association of some sort. We kind of pitch the overall company (Maple Core) as a musical services operation and we have various lines of business. So, if you're me, there's music crossing my desk every day and part of my job is seeing if and where it fits. Sometimes people will call wanting just distribution and we'll either agree or disagree. Sometimes they want to be with the label and we'll offer distribution. It's a matter of matching what their needs are with what we can do for them.
What can a band or label do to woo Maple Nationwide?
Contact us, send us some music and show us where there's some demand for your act, so we can spread some units out at bricks and mortar retail. It's very tough to ship records these days and retail is not of the mind to order just because we say so. Any band that has shown the ability to generate some demand, we're happy to work with as long as they're good, responsible people.
What are some common misconceptions about major label distribution?
The biggest misconception is that it's some kind of panacea, the be all and end all. If you're an independent act or label, in many ways it should be the last element that comes into play. These days especially, we have to give retail a real reason to order a title because there's so much music coming at them from so many different sources. Whether it's via a track on the radio, a video, playing 300 gigs, amazing press, or a combination of all those things, an act needs to generate some demand. Generally they might have all of these things going on and be selling all kinds of units at gigs before there's any real demand in stores. So, in that sense, distribution to retail is a completing piece of the puzzle, as opposed to a starting piece of the puzzle.