Are CD Prices Coming Down?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | 06:00 PM

We have long criticized the absurd Retail pricing of CDs. A few years ago, we asked the question Are CD Prices Getting More Dynamic?

It seems that some people in the industry have actually read The Long Tail, and figured out that they are better off pricing older catalog CDs aggressively, and actually selling them, rather than maintaining an absurd list price for 20, 30, even 50 year old recordings, and letting them sit in some warehouse somewhere unsold.

At the same time, it must be mentioned that the preponderence of utterly brain damaged morons in positions of authority in the Music Biz has not attenuated one tiny bit. They are the anti Long Tailers, also known as The Fat Heads.

The latest evidence of blunt head trauma syndrome is via this little piece of advanced rocketry: To sell used CDs in some states, at the behest of the industry, you are required to: 1) have your fingerprints taken; 2) endure a 30 day waiting period; 3) only recieve store credit for used CDs (not cash).



Meanwhile, in the world of online retailing, Amazon has done a decent job taking CDs and recordings that are Long Tail -- either via age, or obscurity, or just overdue -- and making them available at more competitive prices.

As traditional CD sellers disappear, the long tail catalog will be found increasingly at Online retailers, while the Big BOx (Wal Mart, Best Buy, Target) only carries the latest top 50 hits.

It makes smart business sense to use Amazon to blow them out.

After the jump, there's a handful of Discs I pulled from Amazon -- most are $7.97 . . .


NARM Coverage: New Laws Threaten Used CD Market
Ed Christman, Chicago
Billboard May, 01, 2007 - Retail

Record shops: Used CDs? Ihre papieren, bitte!
Ken Fisher
Ars Technica,May 07, 2007 - 01:23PM CT


: Blue Train

John Coltrane Blue Train

: Time Out

Time Dave Brubeck Out

: The Sidewinder

Lee Morgan The Sidewinder

: Our Man in Paris

Dexter Gordon Our Man in Paris

: Go!

Dexter Gordon: Go!

(We covered Dexter Gordon extensively last month)

: Moanin'

Art Blakely Moanin'

: About the Blues

Julie LondonAbout the Blues

: Embraceable You

Chet Baker Embraceable You

(Chet also got the treatment not too long ago)

: Love Songs

Etta James Love Songs

: Ella Fitzgerald 3 CD Set (LP edition packaging)

Ella Fitzgerald 3 CD Set (LP edition packaging)

There are so many great Ella sets -- I never heard this one -- but 3 CDs at this price?

Classic Rock

: Are You Experienced
Jime Hendrix Are You Experienced

: Boston

: Outlandos d'Amour [Digipak]
Police Outlandos d'Amour

: Zenyatta Mondatta [Digipak]
Police Zenyatta Mondatta

: Ghost In The Machine [Digipak]
Police Ghost In The Machine

: Crowded House
Crowded House

: Too Old to Rock: Too Young To Die
Jethro Tull Too Old to Rock: Too Young To Die

: The Who Sell Out
The Who Sell Out

: Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



One of the reasons that CD prices haven't come down is that artist contracts in some cases don't allow it (certainly in the case of superstars or even those who have had good success along the way). Artists historically have been reluctant to be put in the bargain bin as it was a sign their careers were over. Some of it is vanity, some of it is to protect against, e.g., an old label undercutting new product on a new label after an artist has moved, and some of it is that the volume increase isn't enough to make up for the per unit royalty loss (not only is the price upon which the artist is paid reduced, but generally the royalty rate is also reduced on the lower price units, so it's a double whammy and a triple whammy if you're an artist that writes your material because your mechanical royalties for the songs are also reduced). The issue from the label's perspective is different, of course.

Now, as the front line prices have been moving lower of late, the business dynamic is changing. But I have at least one superstar client who routinely declines all reduced price requests from the label. And having seen the numbers, from this client's perspective is just isn't worth it.

Posted by: Gene | May 8, 2007 6:24:06 PM

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