Universal Record Group is planning to start selling records for under $10. It’s about fucking time. What other industry has been plotting its own demise for the last decade? They light a match to their own house and then look at the neighbors down the street accusing them.
This a direct turn around from their stance a few years ago when the record companies wanted to squeeze more money out of Apple’s Itunes suggesting that $10 was too low a price for an album. The article from Rolling Stone states that in tested markets CD sales spiked when retailers started selling CDs for $10. I can attest to that – I am a frequent patron to Baltimore’s Soundgarden. I do most of my CD shopping there because I am a huge supporter of local music shops and vinyl. I don’t doubt that I am the only person that goes specifically because of that, but I’m willing to be a majority of their business comes from the fact that most of their CDs sell for $9.99 or slightly over – even newer CDS.
Selling a single CD for anything more than $13 is just absurd. Especially since the actual artists and/or songwriters receive so little of the actual percentage of the sale. Even DVDs sell lower. When you go to Target for example – they have tons of DVDs for $5 or $ 7 in the bargain racks near the registers. CDs are not placed there, or put in that price range.
There are many reasons why people aren’t buying CDs. I’m not going to pretend I know all of the issues involved. The game has definitely changed, but people are still willing to buy albums by artists they feel invested in. Take for instance, Lil Wayne. Before he released Tha Carter III – he put out dozens of free mixtapes building up a fan-base that was almost certain to buy Tha Carter III when it came out. (And the album sold around a million in a week when it came out in 2008.) What is most interesting about Lil Wayne’s marketing plan was that the record companies were pissed when he was giving tons and tons of music for free, but it ended up paying off in the long-run. By the time Tha Carter III was released people knew what they were getting for Lil Wayne and wanted more of it.
But record companies still haven’t learned that there can be a market – it’s just that people don’t want to pay a high price rate for an album that only contains 5 good songs (The Fame withstanding.)