The New York Times reported yesterday that Adam Kidron at Urban Box Office has figured out an innovative way to create alternative retail channels for Latino hip-hop, dance and rock bands. Kidron is making use of bodegas, the seemingly ubiquitous corner stores that populate many New York City neighborhoods, as points of music distribution. Basically, he has worked out an arrangement with the city’s bodega association that will enable him to sell music CDs in up to 3,200 stores by the end of the summer. Because the urban trendsetters tend to be African American and Latino, music in the UBO pipeline will end up front and center for a coveted demographic.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. On one hand, I’m not sure if it’s a true “first”. As a student of guerrilla marketing, I know that lots of people in the African American community have leveraged the network of barbershops and beauty parlors in order to spread the word about various social, political and commercial activities.

However, where props seem to be in order is that Kidron has formalized what, in my experience, has been an informal arrangement.

The bigger point is that anyone with a retail network could do the same. In its purest form, retail real estate is a point of distribution. The more points that exist, the larger the network. It’s as simple as that. You can sell anything your customers want. For example, why can’t don’t they sell movie soundtracks at Loews Cineplex theaters? Why can’t you get concert tickets at Burger King? Believe me, there’s some entity out there that wants to take advantage of these networks. And they will.

Is this is the kind of thing that Seth Godin calls a “soft innovation” in his latest book “Free Prize Inside”? Maybe I should ask him.

In the meantime, you can read more on CDs at the bodegas here.

Posted by Rob Fields