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Street Savvy

Thursday, May 17 2007

Highway Records Music Store, the brainchild of local hip-hop artiste, Richard “Chromatics” Raj-Kumar and his manager/business partner, Stuart Fortune, wants you to make more room on your music shelf.

“We recognised that there was no established place in the country that specialised in providing local music and merchandise,” said Fortune. “So we decided to fill that void with a store that caters to our local music lovers and supporters and can offer the products they desire at competitive prices.”

Based at Evans St, Curepe Junction, and opened in early April where local music lovers, supporters and scores of artistes were on hand to witness its official launch, the store aims to be the main source for local music on the local scene. The store will feature an exclusively local range of CDs, clothing and other music-related products, such as DVDs, flyers and posters.

For these ambitious entrepreneurs, the intention is to expand and create a more viable music industry for artistes of all genres in Trinidad and Tobago.

Having a clear understanding of the importance of artistes, their fans and the purchasing power of their fans, the business duo said they intended to create a more efficient and affordable means of purchasing music.

“Highway Records has employed a youthful, energetic, skilful and determined staff,” said Fortune, noting they were gong to utilise unique sales techniques to woo customers and try to combat piracy while doing so.

The company said their “unique sales tactics” were visible immediately after the store’s opening and guarantee that artistes will receive their just earnings, even as their products also become more visible to consumers. If you’re wondering exactly how they intend to achieve this ambitious goal, the answer could be standing right in front of you, as you make your way to your favourite mall or shopping centre — The Highway Records Street Team. This team, explained Raj-Kumar, consists of a group of young adults dedicated to bringing local artistes to the consumer. He said he tested this technique last year with the members of the local hip-hop group, Spotrushaz and found it to be successful.

“Not only does the Street Team enable a more convenient way of purchasing music by bringing the product to the consumer, it can also offer more affordable versions of artistes’ products,” he explained.

“These more affordable versions are produced and distributed in accordance with the copyright laws of Trinidad and Tobago,” Fortune said, noting all artistes will still receive their respective royalties and percentages. “When anyone purchases music from a HR Street Team member, they can rest assured that they are supporting their favourite local artiste directly,” he said.

The Street Team members will be easily recognisable, he said, and will be dressed in Highway Records-branded clothing and operate in many of the nation’s town centres. Team members will be equipped with CD/MP3 players, so customers can preview the music before purchasing, a service which is globally accepted, he said, noting that such a facility is not even offered in most of the established local record stores.

“This is the opportunity for the entire population to support local artistes and local fashion designers via the Highway Records Store,” said Raj-Kumar. “We offer a convenient location, where fans and local music lovers can find and purchase the latest music from their favourite local artistes at competitive prices.”

“We have quality products in all genres, including rap/hip-hop, rock, reggae, rapso, R&B, gospel and of course calypso and soca,” Raj-Kumar said.

“To artistes of all musical genres we offer a place to distribute, market, promote and sell your products and to all local urban fashion designers,” noted Fortune, adding that the music store offered an outlet “to help distribute, sell and create brand awareness for your line.”

The duo was optimistic that the Highway Records Music Store will be recognised as the nation’s premier outlet for local music.


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