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Another reason why the music industry is dying

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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.

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  • http://www.homerjay.net homer jay

    It’s just a marketing strategy. Who do you think knows more about marketing a nationwide CD release, a store clerk or someone who does it fulltime?

    Some marketing stategies work, and other do not. I’m sure who ever thought up the plan is watching it closely. If it doesn’t work, I don’t think it’s the downfall of the record industry.

  • andy

    it’s not the downfall of the industry, but it’s not helping them. marketing my ass. I just can’t understand why anyone would do that to their fans. The marketing people are looking at numbers no doubt. I’ve had to tell 3 kids today that that CD only comes packaged with their old disc. The marketing people don’t have to look kids in the eye and tell them that.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    Right, and I thought the new way was to include bonus things when an album FIRST comes out like bonus videos and DVD’s and things. To do this later is abusive.

    I remember when System of a Down re-released their first album with bonus live material it pissed me off, but I went out and bought it because I was such a big fan. Then when they came out with their second album, the bonus material was a part of the first limited edition run which was the same price and encouraged fans to buy the album early.

    I understand the difference in marketing strategies, but I don’t think now is the time that anybody involved in record sales should be making additional waves in the community of people who actually buy albums. Give extras. Offer fricking Christmas albums at a discount price to keep fans interested and with that christmas album include a $2 coupon for the band’s next full length album. That will boost sales and also make the fans feel like they are getting something extra.

  • http://robbedbyafountainpen.blogspot.com BJ

    Yeah, Homer Jay, if there’s anything we’ve learned in the past couple of years, it’s that the music industry pros are geniouses who don’t ever make any mistakes. (Grin.)

  • http://www.homerjay.net homer jay

    I didn’t say they don’t make mistakes. What I’m saying is it’s easy to say what the industry should and should not be doing if you are not running it.

    A clerk in a store would think they know how things should run, but if they were in charge, they would quickly realize things are far different than what they imagined and perceived.

    I’m just saying this because I’ve been on both ends (retail and wholesale) and this is how I used to think as well.

    Just speaking from experience :)

  • http://www.unreasonablydoubted.com Paul From UD

    I am in a band. downloading music is ok to a certain exstent. I think it is sweet that someone who could be millions of miles away be interested in your band and could download a few songs. thats wicked but when people put your whole cd on a sharring program such as kazaa, that is when you get ripped off. they have websites like purevolume.com where you can get a few songs that the BAND has decided to put on… i think thats way more supportive. i download music, but only from music websites that the band has put primission on. i have downloaded music off kazaa before but i have never burnt a full album from a band. that is what i believe is wrong. burning full length cds and dvds. but most of us bands who end up playing for a living will always have something else to do if the industry falls more. we aren’t all in it for the money, we are it for the fun and to be out there.

  • http://billytalent.com BT

    I agree with the guy from UD. Just look at Thursday, at there shows, they encourage you to download there music because you are out there and listning to there music. That means more to a band than anything.

    I am in a band and have been on tour everywhere. I would know….