March 12, 2007
Online store promotes
By Peter Passi
Northland musicians have a new way to get their
work to a larger audience.
The Rock Shop, an online store at duluthrocked.com,
opens the door for Northland artists to reach a global market.
“We wanted to provide a venue for Northland
artists to showcase their wares,” Web site co-creator Jeff
His business partner, Tracy Lundeen, said that
despite the site’s name, its offerings run the gamut of musical
“We have everything from country to jazz
fusion to good old rock ’n’ roll,” he said.
Lundeen said businesses such as the Electric Fetus
and Barnes & Noble provide bricks-and-mortar outlets for regional
musicians. “But there was nothing on the World Wide Web before
we came along.”
The Rock Shop serves as an electronic consignment
store. Artists can offer their recordings for sale at a self-determined
price, and the site’s operators typically collect a 20 percent
So far, the site supports itself financially.
“Jeff and I have probably made about enough
to fill a gas tank and drive to the Twin Cities,” Lundeen
But he still considers the Rock Shop, which is
less than six months old, a success.
“For us, this is about trying to support
local music, versus trying to make a profit off it,” Lundeen
The site has been averaging about 300 to 400 visitors
a month, and Lundeen said it has attracted attention from former
Northland residents now scattered across the country and around
Most of the site’s audience has discovered
it independently or via word of mouth. Jarvinen said he and Lundeen
lacked the resources to mount much of a marketing campaign for the
“It’s a real grass-roots kind of thing,”
John Heino, frontman for the Centerville All-Stars,
said his group decided to use the Web site to sell its latest recording.
“It seemed like a good idea to get local
music together in one place on the Web,” Heino said. “We
had the option of setting up our own e-commerce site, but we decided
we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
“It’s not a fun or easy thing to set
up a secure e-commerce site,” Heino said. “And a lot
of us would probably rather spend our time making music.”
Heino said the Centerville All-Stars’ Web
site contains a direct link to the Rock Shop, and duluthrocked.com
has links to the sites of the bands it features. He said traffic
between the sites seems to be strong and mutually beneficial.
The Rock Shop offers a selection of about 30 recordings,
and continues to expand.
“We’re barely off the ground, but
we see the site growing substantially over the next year or two,”
Heino hopes that the site will be able to offer
listeners direct music downloads, broadening the reach of local
Jarvinen believes small independent bands and
musicians need all the help they can get.
“It’s easier than ever to put out
a recording,” he said. “But with so much out there,
it’s tougher than ever to get it into people’s hands.”