Canadian Retailers Boycott Alanis

Canadian music retail giant HMV is following through on its threat to boycott the new Alanis Morissette record, which is being sold in Starbucks coffee shops six weeks before its regular release.

Morissette’s new album – an acoustic rehash of her 1995 hit Jagged Little Pill – was released in Starbucks stores through an exclusive deal between its Hear Music division and Maverick Records June 13th. The same day, HMV announced it was pulling all copies of Morissette’s albums from its shelves and returning them to the record company.

HMV Canada President Humphrey Kadaner told the Toronto Star Canadian music retailers are disappointed with Morissette, having “supported her well before she became a star.”

Kadaner and other retailers told the paper that American record companies don’t understand the Canadian market, where smaller retailers rule and only about 35 percent of music sales come from big-box stores.

“We’re upset about the fact that it’s being made available on an exclusive basis to a chain of stores that doesn’t really sell music and we’ve been selling Alanis Morissette records for almost 20 years,” Tim Baker, a buyer for music chain Sunrise Records, told CBC News. “We’ve helped to make her a household name in this country.”

Morissette told the Boston Herald she is simply looking for creative ways to share her music.

“My intention certainly was not to ruffle feathers in that department, although it’s inevitable obviously,” she said. “I have had a really sweet and positive relationship with retailers my entire career.”

Another Canadian retailer, Trans World Entertainment, announced in March that it would not carry the new version of the album or the old version in protest of the deal.

Several years ago, HMV, Sunrise and other retailers removed all Rolling Stones albums in protest of an exclusive DVD deal the group made with Best Buy and Future Shop.