What The #&@$ Do You Do, Bob?!?

BobArdreyBob Ardrey
Director, National Sales
Joined The Orchard in July 2008, when The Orchard bought TVT Records

As an Orchardite adopted via TVT Records, can you please give us both a short history lesson and tell us what the #&@$ you do?!!?
Simplified, TVT was bought by The Orchard seven years ago. I worked for TVT Records from 1995 until 2008 (although there was a 2 year break in there to do A&R/Sales direction for a developing label). TVT sold more new releases than any other independent label/distributor from 1999-2006, and we had a great time doing it.

In my role as Director of Sales, I am the conduit between stores, specialty shops, one-stops, sub-distributors and online retailers and The Orchard Physical department, which sells CDs, vinyl and the occasional cassette. My accounts include well-known entities such as Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, Hot Topic and Hastings, and chains like Dimple and Zia. Indie retail is our bread and butter — I love dealing with them. In the quest for new places to promote and sell our music, I’ve also established successful sales partnerships with Popmarket and Groupon.

Believe it or not, things move fast in Physical. We launch brand-new products every 2 weeks or so. The digital initiative really helps our side move units and the publicity that vinyl gets now is, likewise, aiding sales and streaming numbers for our labels. We’re all in it together and now that we’ve joined the Sony family, I’m looking forward to even more success.

Can you give us some examples of some products you’ve launched, what makes them unique/sellable and how you go about selling them?
Each record is introduced and marketed differently according to genre, sales estimations and demographic reach. Best Buy brings in hits only but indie retail embraces acts like Ringo Deathstarr. In the case of RDS, we were able to get indie retail interested just by the name and initial press; once we serviced them with promos, it became fairly easy to get favorable positioning for street date. The store buyers & employees wanted to like this and fortunately, they make some great music in the vein of Tame Impala, et al.

When we first got the Rocky Horror Picture Show OST from Ode Records, we knew we wanted to keep the greatest cult movie soundtrack on top, so we went whole-hog into Walmart, Best Buy, B&N and everywhere big. I even opened up Groupon with it to widen the audience. Now with the 40th anniversary release of RHPS Absolute Treasures on CD and red vinyl, we’ll be getting mainstream help with the Fox TV movie version in October that Ode president Lou Adler is consulting for.

You look like you were in a band once. Yes… in fact, we’re willing to bet on it. Can you take us back to that time of your life?
I was in a few good ones: Everlounge, who did lounge-y covers of Brian Eno and Bugs Bunny songs and played live on WFMU; Summer Nationals, whose 7″ was produced by Alan Douches (Animal Collective, Mastodon, Sufjan Stevens) and Whirling Dervishes, who recouped 1/2 our publishing advance from Almo Irving on a network TV synch by writing “your worst song ever” (quote from our A&R person). Gotta love the music business!

Ha! You’ll have to play that for us one day. You’re a legend, Bob. Thanks for all the #&@$ you’ve been doing, 20 years strong!

craziest TVT Records memory: We had some gangsta rappers on the label so there were a few incidents of minor violence. Mike Tyson came in (he has a label like everyone else); his bodyguards were seven feet tall… does Mike really need bodyguards?!?
Orchardite you’d trust your life with: I’m not going to pick one because I believe that everyone here would have everyone else’s back if the chips were down.
most anticipated record coming this Fall: Definitely the London Symphony Orchestra version of The Who’s Tommy rock opera on Ode with lots of special guest stars.
random fact: I’m the token American in my family; my mom is from Colombia, my wife Catherine comes from France and our daughter Elena was born in Russia. Oh, and my great-grandmother was a Native South American in the Chibcha tribe.

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