Thursday, October 03, 2002

PICK A PRICE THAT WORKS: Writing in PC Mag [US], John Dvorak floats the idea that the true retail price of a CD should be USD1.40. Now, we're as quick as the next man to point at the price label on a new release and snort "how much?", but we think he might be erring a little on the low side. "If pirates can produce CDs for thirty-five cents, then why can't the labels?" he asks. Um... look, that sort of logic makes me wonder if he's an industry stooge. The screamingly obvious answer - because the labels are having to book studios, pay artists, distribute product (pirates tend to not cart their stuff much further than the nearest boot sale), write off sums when they sign a Northside and so on - seems to have passed him by. Dvorak tries to kick off by using a metaphor based on the auto industry, so let's try and explain it to him in those terms: If a car thief can sell a Ford Ka for £500, why can't a Ford Dealer?
We don't dispute - indeed, we argue here - that the record industry charges supernormal profit-level prices on their CDs, but to suggest that the market price be set by Del Boy Trotter is just madness in itself. Its suggestions like this that start to make the RIAA look like the sane side in the debate - and you just know that's got to be wrong.
We feel in our guts that the correct price for a CD would be nearer GBP7-50, leaving a small slice for the store, the label and the distro, covering costs and paying the artists a living wage. Sure, we've plucked the figure out the air a bit, but then, really, that's what the Virgin Megastore seems to be doing as well these days.


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