The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165320 Message #3978060
Posted By: Howard Jones
21-Feb-19 - 04:25 AM
Thread Name: Celtic Music wins in court (Bright Phoebus)
Subject: RE: Celtic Music wins in court (Bright Phoebus)
At the time Bulmer acquired the catalogue from Leader it would have been much more risky to release the albums. Vinyl was relatively expensive to produce, and if I recall correctly the minimum run was 1000 copies. Unless he had the pressing masters these would have had to be remastered. I can understand that he would have been cautious about going for a full release, especially as Leader had failed to make a success of it. Nevertheless, having acquired the catalogue I am surprised he did not do more to try to recoup his investment.
Times have changed, it is now far easier and cheaper to produce CDs. When my band made an album a couple of years ago we paid £826 for 500 CDs, including VAT. These were double CDs in jewel cases, with colour inserts and cellophane-wrapped, and delivered. That's £1.65 per copy which we sell at £12. CM would have additional costs for digital remastering, MCPS royalties (only payable on copyright tracks) and CM's own overheads, but most of the other significant costs of recording had already been paid by Leader.
I'd be very confident that Bright Phoebus, the Nic Jones albums and quite a lot more could easily sell at least 500 copies. Of course some of the catalogue may not sell even that number, but it is very cheap to make digital copies available online eg through Bandcamp where people can purchase whole albums or individual tracks. Whilst these sell for less than a physical CD, the costs are less so the margins may even be higher.
I could never understand Dave Bulmer's approach, which did not appear to be in his financial interests, let alone the damage it did to his reputation (he had been well respected as a musician and for his publications of Irish tunes), the damage it did to the musicians involved, and to the wider folk world who were unable to get hold of some important recordings. It appears his beneficiaries may now be considering releasing some of the catalogue, so they would have seen the unauthorised release of Bright Phoebus as particularly damaging.