CMDistro was born when Century Media Records compiled our first mail-order catalog around mid 1995, printing about 5,000 copies of a basic catalog listing all the CDs, LPs, cassettes, hats and posters that we could find in our office, and then gathered as many addresses as we could to send our catalog to. Then we started to bring over some of the hard-to-find titles from our German office that hadn’t been released in the States, and through this we already had a few hundred titles we could offer fans at a reasonable price. We knew what we wanted from a mail-order (great prices and great service), and although it was a bulky, slow system, with only a couple of people writing out each mailorder invoice on carbon paper by hand, we started to get a good amount of orders, since finding something like the Moonspell "Wolfheart" Digipak for $12 or the Tiamat “Gaia” Digipak just wasn't possible in the United States at that time.
Once we moved to a new office (actually a house) a few miles away in 1996, the warehouse was actually a one-car garage attached to the house, but it had some extra space, a feral cat, and a ton of Black Widow spiders. Around this same time we also started selling some records here and there to Mexico, Chile, Australia and the like. Slowly we started faxing all the labels we knew asking if we could trade some of our titles for some of their titles which we could each sell through our respective mail-orders. Some of them responded favorably and soon we were not only offering the CM products, but some titles from labels like Pulverizer, Necropolis, DCA, Very, Victory and others. We also noticed other mail-orders at the time charging up to $20 for an import disc which we thought we could get at a better price. We began reaching out to all the foreign labels we could, trying to negotiate the best price we could, and then in turn keeping our selling price down, going for volume over profit. Soon we were selling import CDs from Europe for as little as $12, which was unheard of at the time, and once we picked up those labels, things really started to fly, to the point where we had a hard time keeping some of those records in stock, no matter how many we ordered. We were selling imports from labels like Moonfog, SPV/Steamhammer, Voices Of Wonder/Head Not Found, Cacophonous, and whatever else we could get our hands on.
By 1997 we had outgrown our garage/warehouse and had to move into a proper warehouse location a few miles from our main office. Our warehouse manager knocked himself out (almost literally sometimes) keeping everything running as smoothly as he could with just a skeleton staff. We continued to bring in as many hard-to-find titles as possible as well as offering a series of low-priced label compilations called "Identity" and the "Firestarter" black metal comp, which we just sold at $2 each to move as many as possible out the door and bring exposure to those bands, and we sold thousands of those discs as a result.
Currently we are in yet another, even bigger warehouse, but we continue to try to follow the same ideals that we originally founded our mail-order on, great prices and great service. This is why we have hardly raised our prices at all over the last 15 years and continue to offer many low-priced compilations as well as throwing in free samplers whenever we have them available. We believe that if we can continue to turn fans on to new music then we will continue to have those fans come back to purchase from us year after year, especially if we continue to offer the best prices available. Remember, CMDistro has been your premiere store for the heavy music lifestyle for over 15 years!