I work in the music department in a small bookstore here in Lancaster county PA. While small in comparison to stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders, our store is actually one of the largest Christian retailers in the nation.
Today Gotee Records, a Christian “alternative” label owned by DC Talk’s Toby Mac, released a Christmas album by the pop punk band Relient K. Not a bad idea considering their fans are youth group “punks” who like hokie crap like that.
Here’s the kicker. The only way to get the new Christmas EP is to buy the band’s latest album, “2 Lefts Don’t Make A Right But Three Do,” an album that has been available since March of this year. Now, we’ve sold over 500 of that album already. Am I supposed to believe that those same kids, fans of that band, are gonna come right out to my store and buy the album again, for the same price, for 9 new songs? Am I really supposed to believe that those kids won’t go online to Kazaa or something and just download those songs? Hell, if I was a fan of the band, I would feel ripped off and go online too, and I’m totally against illegal downloading.
I asked our EMI rep (they distribute Gotee Records) why they rip these kids off this way (they did this before with the band’s last release, except it wasn’t a Christmas EP. It was all totally unreleased material) and he said, “hey it boosts album sales.” This is the same rep who constantly complains about downloading. The same rep who blows me off when I say, “don’t you think high prices have something to do with the decline in the industry?” Oh no it couldn’t be anything the industry’s doing. That’s just ridiculous.
I truly feel sorry for the 10 year old kid who loves Relient K and finds out he has to buy a CD he already has just to get a new release from the band.