Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: One Million Tunes

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  • Paul Campbell,

    When CDs came out they came with a price about 50% more than vinyl (this in the US where I was living at the time) and CDs seemed to keep this base price for a long time evenwhen they became so much cheaper to make - it was a great scam for the record companies - they're selling the same bits after all.

    I buy a lot of CD, an awefull lot of CDs, I'm probably one of the few people with a large size iPod that's mostly full and only contains stuff I actually own - I'm the sort of customer the music industry really wants to cultivate - I don't do DRM and I live in a linux world, I have an iPod but don't do iTunes - if they want my money they are going to have to cater to me - so Amazon's store is potentially something I really want to work .... time to open an account I guess - easier if you actually have a US credit card ...... (but they'll want a zipcode that matches the card and will use that to charge me sales tax sigh)

    Moving back to NZ a few years ago I didn't stop buying CDs but they are SO expensive - since the cost of manufacture is a $ or so the price should have gone down with the rise of the NZ$ vs the US$ (roughly 20% at least - not so for NZ titles of course) - I travel to the US 2-3 times a year and always fill a suitcase with CDs and paperbacks (I just hit some magic frequent flier mark and from now on I get and extra bag - woot!) - books are another than that are terribly overpriced in NZ

    I suspect the real reason is that there's an extra layer of middlemen somewhere that have to make their cut - or maybe it's just that there just isn't enough competition

    I tried discussing this out on the manager at the local Real Groovy the other day - why hadn't CD prices come down by 20% with the $? after all I bought that latest MIA album over there you want NZ$36 for in California last week for US$9.99 (in Borders no less). She bitched at me about people buying stuff online and the cost of brick-and-mortar stores - wouldn't hear that I wasn't buying online (yet)

    Funny thing about RG are the cheap second hand bins .... looks to me like they are buying the unsellable stuff from Amoeba (at least from the stickers they've forgotten to remove) and maybe other places

    One good thing about buying CDs in NZ - someone else gets remove the evil CD packaging for you ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    That's weird. When my family brought its first stereo with a CD player (1988 I think), the salesperson left Brothers in Arms on CD in the CD player accidentally, and we kept it.

    Maybe it's the only way they could offload that CD?

    Frighteningly enough, much of white middle class New Zealand bought CD players in the 80's so they could listen to Brothers in Arms - only the superior technology of the future could do justice to Knopflers masterpiece.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Compie,

    She bitched at me about people buying stuff online and the cost of brick-and-mortar stores - wouldn't hear that I wasn't buying online (yet)

    Lame lame lame excuse. How does she account for me wandering down to one of the priciest streets in Vancouver to find more or less any CD 1/3rd the price of NZ (and not just the new releases).

    The majority of RG stores I know aren't situated on the most expensive pieces of real estate in NZ, they hide. Can anyone really stumble across the CHCH or Dunners real groovy stores? Is this anti marketing, or is it just cool to hide from your customers?

    Someone (to quote Ferris Bueller), Anyone? why do we pay double if not more than many many places for Cd. I mean how many CDs at $36 each do they think we are going to buy? It's almost worth the air ticket to Vancouver to buy music (notice the protruding tongue in cheek).

    Dunedin/Vancouver • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Frighteningly enough, much of white middle class New Zealand bought CD players in the 80's so they could listen to Brothers in Arms - only the superior technology of the future could do justice to Knopflers masterpiece.

    BIA was the launch CD for the hardware / software, as designated by Philips. It was marketed that way by PolyGram which was a part of Philips, and was explicitly tied to the new fangled machines. That it was left in the CD player was no accident, as it was usually given away with those new, $2500, machines back then.

    Ironically they later sued PolyGram for screwing them on the royalties of that record. The big record companies, until the early ninties, deducted up to 75% of royalties from artists as a "new technology" levy. It was a clear scam, and is a another reason not to feel too sorry for record companies as it all turns, every day, increasingly pear shaped.

    And the $45 discs would've been the limited imports that a few shops stocked when it was brand new technology, rather than local releases.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Stuff n Things,

    That's weird. When my family brought its first stereo with a CD player (1988 I think), the salesperson left Brothers in Arms on CD in the CD player accidentally, and we kept it.

    Maybe it's the only way they could offload that CD?

    From Wikipedia:
    Brothers in Arms was one of the first albums to be directed at the CD market, being the first full digital recording. It was also released on vinyl and cassette. This was also the first album to sell one million copies in the CD format and to outsell its LP version. Indeed, when the disc was released, it was said that more people owned a copy of the CD than owned CD players.

    more

    Wellywood • Since Apr 2007 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Prior to 1986, there was a, what, 40% sales tax on records (thanks Knobz)?. When GST was introduced, at 10%, the retail price remained the same.

    When I was working in record retail hell in the early-mid 90s, I was told that the day that GST was introduced, the wholesale record price went up by enough to leave the retail price unchanged.

    When I was in the UK CDs were around 10-13 quid each as a rule, the basic price didn't seem to change much. Depending on the strength of the pound or of the dollar, that worked out as cheap sometimes, expensive others. Canada is the place to go. I bought 40 Licks for around C$16, when the price in London was around 16 pounds. Not even close.

    I have no sympathy for the music industry when it charges what it thinks it can get for a product, not what it costs to produce, and treats consumers with utter disdain (special tour editions anyone? the only way to get that rare track). The 75% markup we put on tapes & CDs didn't help the price either, but I have no idea about the cost structure that retailers were living with.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Charging whatever the traffic will bear is the cornerstone of the free-market economy. Why sell for $10, when people will buy nearly as many units for $20?
    Where the record companies are falling down is in their assumptions about what the market will currently bear, and that it will continue to bear what it has always borne with nary a whimper.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Where the record companies are falling down is in their assumptions about what the market will currently bear, and that it will continue to bear what it has always borne with nary a whimper.

    where the record companies fell down was succumbing to lawyers and accountants who fail to understand that it's an industry, unlike baked beans, largely driven by personal passion and perceived bonds to the artists.

    CDs in themselves, in real terms of where they sit in the marketplace are globally cheaper now than they've ever been, even when CDs were called LPs.

    But the perceived value is much lower, and the record companies, for a multitude of reasons are responsible for that. They've made their bed, and continue to do so.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    There were some screengrabs from the Bebo page in question here

    I was reading his anti-emo rant, and thinking, "Man, he knows a lot about 20th century pop culture to be able to write all that."

    Then I got suspicious and googled it, which lead me to Encyclopedia Dramatica's emo entry. Cut 'n' paste, baby!

    Evidently young master English is down with the lulz.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Hmm, looks less like raw naked hatred, and more like plagiarism.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    CD's are a complete rort by the record companies re pricing. Ditto for downloads. How do they determine those prices?

    Second hand stores? Interesting. You buy the disc new for $30. Take it back 3 months later and they offer $18 for a trade or $12 cash. You take the trade and buy a newish second hand disc for $24. Take it back 3 months later and they offer $12 for a trade or $8 cash. You take the trade and buy a second hand disc for $18. And so on.

    The store does very well out of recycling those same discs, presuming they manage their demand and supply. Many stores have fallen by the wayside, but those that have survived have sophisticated computer programming that tells them what stock of your title (the one you want to trade) they already have, how many copies they should be holding, and what your copy (to trade) is worth to them. They also have access to the cost to ship in that 2nd hand disc from overseas.

    Which is why they sometimes can't help laughing (in front of you) when you protest that your copy is worth waaaay more than they're offering, even as a trade. Which is why they love TradeMe/eBay. Why leave their store disgruntled? If you're not happy with their offerred price they'll cheerily suggest you try an on-line auction site.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Ack! Beaten by the master.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Ack! Beaten by the master.

    Fear our google skillz!

    But it looks like his anti-Wellington College rant is original, though.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Fear our google skillz!

    But it looks like his anti-Wellington College rant is original, though.

    I was trying not to mention that. It freaked me out a bit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    It freaked me out a bit.

    It might be (symptomatic of) a bit more than the usual expression of teenage tribal loyalties.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    If my 14 year old posted comments like that I'd certainly be doing a bit of serious talking to him as well. But would I tell the world about it? No way in hell. I'd die in a ditch before I would publicly condemn my 14 child no matter what he/she said. Thats what family means, FFS.

    Late to the party, entirely agree with sentiment above.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh okay. I hadn't looked up the thread and seen David's link to the scans of Master English's pages. It's one thing a link being posted somewhere, another us being a primary source for it, which is undoubtedly what would happens. So I deleted it, sorry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    We need to address real crime.
    Bloody students have nicked my letter box.
    Not a huge issue I know but not nice for a 10yr old to wake up and realise someones vandalised their home.
    Off to Mitre 10 & build a box of bricks. Then bill their landlord.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Bill and Tom need a hug. I get most of my best dad skills from Family Guy. King Of The Hill is good but Peter Griffin just understands kids, you know. We had a bebo incident in our family, no biggie, gave us all a chance to talk about privacy, boundaries, manners and sex, so a pretty good catalyst for a group (lecture) chat.
    The web is conditioning us, obey.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So I deleted it, sorry.

    Ah, could you please delete my comment in reply? While I'm quite happy to remind David Herkt of his own offensive net activities before he gets to comfy on the moral high horse, it really looks like a random flame-bait (not exactly the tone you want to encourage on PAS) without the context.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __ So I deleted it, sorry.__

    Ah, could you please delete my comment in reply? While I'm quite happy to remind David Herkt of his own offensive net activities before he gets to comfy on the moral high horse, it really looks like a random flame-bait (not exactly the tone you want to encourage on PAS) without the context.

    Done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Oh, dammit. It looks like Amazon is on to the 90210 hack.

    This is what greeted me when I just attempted to buy a song:

    We are sorry...

    We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

    I double-checked by trying to buy a song I'd successfully bought last week, and it won't let me do that either.

    Back to iTunes, I guess, but it will never be the same now.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I double-checked by trying to buy a song I'd successfully bought last week, and it won't let me do that either.
    Back to iTunes, I guess, but it will never be the same now.

    Yep, me too. Maybe I should've kept schtum.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Thanks for the dodgy zip code advice. It may not work on Amazon I guess, but I managed to buy a metrocard on the NY subway using 00000 as my zip-code. That doesn't seem very secure that that is effectively your credit card pin. On the other hand, nobody has actually asked to see the signature on the back of my card since I've been in the US...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

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