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A kick in the head for CD retailers

dick greenhaus 19 Jul 10 - 08:43 PM
Janie 19 Jul 10 - 09:35 PM
Jack Campin 20 Jul 10 - 06:27 AM
Ian Hendrie 20 Jul 10 - 06:36 AM
maeve 20 Jul 10 - 07:08 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Jul 10 - 07:18 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Jul 10 - 09:30 AM
sharyn 20 Jul 10 - 09:51 AM
Rapparee 20 Jul 10 - 10:24 AM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 10 - 12:49 PM
katlaughing 20 Jul 10 - 12:57 PM
open mike 20 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Jul 10 - 04:13 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 10 - 05:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Jul 10 - 07:07 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 10 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Malcolm Storey 20 Jul 10 - 09:18 PM
mousethief 20 Jul 10 - 09:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jul 10 - 09:30 PM
katlaughing 20 Jul 10 - 10:14 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Jul 10 - 11:10 PM
Janie 21 Jul 10 - 01:22 AM
Will Fly 21 Jul 10 - 03:05 AM
Rob Naylor 21 Jul 10 - 05:54 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Jul 10 - 09:47 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Jul 10 - 09:49 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Jul 10 - 09:54 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jul 10 - 10:05 AM
Barbara Shaw 21 Jul 10 - 10:09 AM
Joe Offer 21 Jul 10 - 10:19 AM
Fred McCormick 21 Jul 10 - 10:34 AM
dick greenhaus 21 Jul 10 - 11:04 AM
dick greenhaus 21 Jul 10 - 11:09 AM
Barbara Shaw 21 Jul 10 - 11:14 AM
mattkeen 21 Jul 10 - 11:34 AM
dick greenhaus 21 Jul 10 - 04:38 PM
Barbara Shaw 21 Jul 10 - 07:35 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Jul 10 - 08:23 PM
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Subject: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 08:43 PM

Just learned that Rounder Records (recently sold to the Concord Group) has discontinued large chunks of their Trad catalog, and has farmed it out to Amazon.Individuals can purchase them for $15.98 + S&H, but retailers can't get a trade discount, which means that they (including CAMSCO) can't carry them.
   Add that to CDBaby's pricing system, and us retailers are beginning to feel like Walmart just moved next door.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Janie
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 09:35 PM

That is sad, not to mention outrageous, Dick.   

Plus, what you and a few others do is a lot more than simply retailing.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 06:27 AM

What sort of business is the Concord Group?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 06:36 AM

It seems to me that large retail outlets in the UK (play.com, amazon, HMV, etc.) are all off-loading their CDs in massive Sales. Is this the end for CDs, and consequently those who sell them? I, personally, don't want to download music. I love my CDs (and the cupboard full of lps as well).


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: maeve
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 07:08 AM

Here is additional information regarding the sale:
http://www.thedailyswarm.com/headlines/rounder-records-acquired-concord-music-group/


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 07:18 AM

I feel the same as Ian, and certainly CDs give you much better fidelity - I'm a bit surprised that this isn't more of an issue among the download fans, considering that I can remember the days (have to stop myself writing the "good old" days) when stereo freaks would remodel their entire living rooms just to get That Extra Bit Of Sound for their speaker positioning. (OK, exaggerating, but they were certainly obsessive about it.) Guess the kids just aren't born to it the way we Luddites were.

Paradoxically this could (perhaps) turn out to be a good thing in a way: As CDs get less & less viable in the mainstream market, and more & more "obsolete", that could open up a specialist trade, especially for non-commercial and hard-to-get recordings, run by people who know and CARE about the product instead of just the financial bottom line. CDs are easy enough to mail, and the internet allows people to buy from anywhere in the world.

All CDs have to do is retain enough of a market interest to attract a customer base broad enough to keep an independent dealer in business - who won't have the overheads that the huge chains do. Let Amazon & Co fish the big waters and ignore the little side-ponds - those are still big enough for us.

Dick, what are your thoughts on this? I may be missing some elephant-in-the-room point, but I see this as a distinct possibility - is it?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 09:30 AM

Unfortunately, CD's are on the way out - although I doubt they will ever disappear completely.   MP3's have improved the quality issues with higher bit rates, although they are still not as good as CD's. MP3's compress the audio, and you lose data which results in an inferior product. There are other lossless file formats such as FLAC that are superior, but the file size is generally larger and I don't see it being adopted by consumers.

CD's face tough competition from MP3's because the largest segment of consumers prefer the convenience of MP3's over the quality of CD's. It is very easy to transport large collections of music on an Ipod or similar MP3 player.   While most of us here on Mudcat enjoy the information in the booklets that accompany the CD, items like liner notes are lost on modern consumers of commercial music.

Rounder entered into their arrangement with Concord as a way to survive. Most of their titles sell in the hundreds, not the millions that the Wallmarts of the world look for.   Finding retail outlets is not an easy task for companies like Rounder.

I do believe that the specialist trade will survive, but it is going to be a different business model than what we are used to. Producing a CD from a desktop is within the reach of most people these days. Finding quality will always take a special ear. Reaching that audience will take new ideas and new ways of distribution.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: sharyn
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 09:51 AM

Sorry to hear this, Dick. But keep on doing what you do as best you can. I don't buy downloads -- I feel like I'm missing something, buying phantom wares.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 10:24 AM

Vinyl LPs have been having a bit of a comeback. CDs might as well. In the meantime...I want something tangible. I can play my CDs, even my r2r tapes, and I can store them. But I've lost whole books when my MP3 player was fried, books I had purchased. I don't have money to toss away.

(And yes, I know that tapes and CDs can deteriorate over time.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 12:49 PM

Bonnie-
The elephant in the room is legal availability---ROunder, f'rinsance, has an exclusive deal with Amazon. I've been seeking permission to re-issue out-of-print CDs from various sources; I feel that there's a distinct added value over MP3's in fidelity, ambience (notes and lyrics) and programming (as opposed to single-song downloads. Sadly, for larger CD producers, this doesn't compensate for the much lower costs of providing downloads.
    CDs will likely survive to service a specialized audience niche:those of us in the business can only hope that the niche will remain large enough to support our modest needs.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 12:57 PM

I've noticed that about vinyls making a comeback, too. I've also heard from some fairly successful musicians (in a band) that it's anyone's guess how best to market and promote one's wares these days; the technology has changed things so much.

I don't download music. I buy CDs and I still buy books. I don't want a Kindle and I don't have an ipod or an mp3. I don't think they are so bad, I just don't care if I have any. I still listen to the radio in the car and at home. I do like loading my CDs onto my harddrive and listening to them that way as I figure it will preserve the originals and as the CDs themselves are in 4-500 CD changer in the other room, free from dust, etc. and on a different sound system.

Dick, I hope you can continue to offer the specialties you've always done. We haven't had a lot of extra to spend on anything in quite awhile, but I know when I do find something I really, really want, I can always call you and I appreciate it. It's a shame Rounder had to come to that and the big guys keep getting bigger, but I think Bonnie has some good points and I hope she is right.

kat


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: open mike
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM

it seems as if many of the best-loved music sources have gone to on-line sites...dirty linen magazine, no depression magazine, and others are all freeling the pinch and shifting to try to continue
under current adverse conditions.

here is more about the Concord (formerly Concord Jazz) Label

http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_Records

we have discussed this in April in a previous thread as well.
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=128824#2887434


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 04:13 PM

While I still prefer CD's, there is a distinct advantage for MP3 - or an alternate file based system of music delivery.

While most of us are from a generation where we want to see something tangible, the reality is that a file has many possiblities over physical media.

The convenience of a file and the storage capacity is a huge plus for files. I'm looking at a hard drive that I paid less than $100 for that can store an entire library filled with of song files, along with the metadata that offers everything a CD booklet can and more. The songs can be programmed just like a CD. I can download 24/7 and have the product available in an instant.

Fidelity is an issue and it can be improved with newer technology. The problem is, MP3's have made a huge in-road, who wants to replace these with alternate files that sound better - especially when the average ear won't notice the difference? Perhaps there will be an audiophile market for files that will create the demand.

Open mike mentions that best-loved music sources such as Dirty Linen and Sing Out! have gone to on-line sites. The problem is, they are way behind the curve and trying to catch up. It is not so much as trying to save an existing publication, it is trying to offer a publication that meets new audience demands.

20 years ago, most of us would not have dreamed about how helpful a computer would be in our lives.   Cell phones were not common. GPS devices were not marketable. You can make a good arguement that many of these items are not necessary, but the fact is all of these devices have changed the way we live.   I'm sure the buggywhip salesman saw plenty of advantages for keeping horses, but the smart buggywhip salesman changed their business to start servicing the automobile.   Change may close some doors, but it can create opportunites.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 05:42 PM

Well, the net result to folks that like Rounder Records is that buying downloads from Amazon costs about $5 more than one used to pay for the CD from CAMSCO.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 07:07 PM

Most album downloads are $9.99


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 08:12 PM

I misspoke. Getting the CD from Amazon costs $15.98. Of course, that way you get the case, notes and insert artwork. Just like you used to for $12.98.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: GUEST,Malcolm Storey
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 09:18 PM

I asked this on the other thread.

What have CD Sales got to do with traditional folk music? or should i not ask?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: mousethief
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 09:19 PM

Add my name to the list of people who want something tangible, and at CD quality (or LP quality) and not MP3 quality. They have print-on-demand books, why can't they have burn-on-demand CDs? You find the music you want online, and they burn you a CD with CD quality music, print out the album art, and mail it to you. You buy your own jewel box and assemble. Voila! I wonder why that business model couldn't work?

Better yet, license people to do that for a small mark-up. Then you could have a record "shop" with knowledgeable people who can help you decide what you want. Maybe there just aren't enough potential customers for the "shop" idea though. But there is a huge amount of back catalog material that is currently inaccessible that connoisseurs would want -- fans of old jazz, folk, blues, old classical recordings (Carouso, e.g.), dropped-off-the-radar rock and pop artists -- the people holding copyrights on those items could make a little income, and the people who want the music could be very happy.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 09:30 PM

Took a look at Amazon.com.
One or two good sets- My Dusty Road, Woody Guthrie, $65.95; companion dealers from $56.10; mp3 $36.49.

(Hard to go through the listings, tons of Holy Modal Rounders- but put " " around Rounder records and a fairly pure sort comes up).

Some still $12.98, but a lot more at $15.98, as posted above. This is unnecessary. The extra $3.00 seems like gouging.

However, there are a fair number of used listed at low prices; these are a good deal but won't last.

The sad part is that Concord may not record new material of 'Rounder' type.

Most of my current wants are in old music, so I buy mostly from UK dealers. A specialized want, so I don't see cds replaced any time soon.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 10:14 PM

Last I knew Dick/CAMSCO could get darn near anything, from anywhere, including "old" music.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 11:10 PM

Amazon does offer CD on demand. Artists can set up their music and artwork via their CreateSpace service, and the customer gets it burned and printed on demand. Also available for books and DVDs. The prices vary according to how the artist sets it up. Maybe a retailer like Camsco can use this feature somehow to act as a reseller?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Janie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 01:22 AM

I suspect I am going to sound like an idiot as well as a dinosaur. Having something tangible, to me, means having something accessible when the music goes out of print or production. I have a respectable, though far from "awesome" collection of LP's. Many of them are barely playable, but they are playable. I love me Dad, but will always curse the day he decided to toss the rather extensive collection of 78's and 45's he and Mom had accumulated. I knew he had trashed something of value, but I, as well as he, underestimated the value. Not int erms of money, but in terms of access. I have a turntable, and it can play any vinyl - even if scratched and damaged. However, the production of vinyl demanded a fairly significant audience.

I had an extensive collection of casette tapes of local or regional old-time, traditional, folk, bluegrass, etc.music. Tapes do not keep like vinyl or like CD's. Many of them are unplayable, or the tape broke, or due to improper storage, etc, are simply gone and inaccessible to me. But that local regional music was never released except on cassette. Some of it released as casettes by the likes of Flying Fish (Critton Hollow Stringband, for example), but was never released as anything other than cassette. Concord may have that music in their archived recordings, but it is not accessible to me, and probably never will be.


Like vinyl, the distribution and marketing of CD's was extensive enough that it is likely CD players will be available long after mainstream distribution of CD's is gone. I'm not convinced the same will be true of MP3's. While there will certainly be a lot of music originally recorded and distributed as MP's available, it is likely that small or very local and regional bands and musicians who record and produce MP3s, but nothing else, will end up being as lost to reasonable access posterity as are the early recordings of folks like Critton Hollow and Trapazoid.

Access is the biggest question.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:05 AM

Vinyl has never gone away and, in certain areas of music, is flourishing and in demand - not just the s/h market. IT journalists and future-visionaries have long been predicting the death of vinyl and the book - the death of the book in 10 years was predicted 20 years ago. It won't just happen. The music and print publishing world is, of course, subject to IT trends, and there are always movements away from and towards certain types of media. Some do die, like 8-track car stereo, and the cassette format, for example, is slowly dying.

What people forget is that computer media and formats are also not stable. Lord, how we enjoyed the music we stored on our 5 1/4" floppy discs - stored on what? (Yes, I know we didn't, but imagine we had done...). Whatever happened to laser disc?

What remain relatively stable are vinyl and paper. Didn't back up your iTunes on your Mac? iPod gone ppphht? Oh dear - all those downloads down the Swanee. Power cut - and Kindle not charged? Better pick up a paperback.

New technologies have huge benefits, but throwing out all the old willy-nilly is never wise.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:54 AM

Agree with Will here. As I've said before, the young bands my kids know/ have friends in/ listen to almost always put out their releases on vinyl.

Certainly it's not mainstream and is dwarfed by the download market, but our house is overflowing with 7 inch vinyl singles...almost all of them belonging to my kids. They've all insisted on getting turntables with their music systems. All their mates have turntables too.

What tends to happen is a band puts out a "limited edition" of a new release as a run of 250, 500 or 1000 (depending on band popularity) on vinyl and the real aficionados/ those on their "friends" lists etc buy those while everyone else downloads. The vinyl sometimes includes a download code as well so that you can get a copy of your digital system.

In fact, I bought my first vinyl for about 25 years a couple of weeks ago...a couple of singles from "Tom Williams and The Boat". It felt weird!


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 09:47 AM

refresh to go with thread on the Rounder sale to Concord.

~ Becky currently in Hackettstown


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 09:49 AM

So, to clarify, it's not download, it's CD-on-demand service from Amazon, for $15.98?

~ Becky in NJ


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 09:54 AM

People tend to look at technology for what it is at the moment, they do not look ahead to what it can become.

Vinyl is hardly "thriving". It is a niche market at best. Unless they start marketing turntables as strongly as MP3 players, you will not see vinyl take up much market share.

File based sources for music have huge advantages over CD's or other "tangible" media.   You CAN get liner notes, lyrics, and all the details that you desire - MP3's and other audio files have the ability of capturing all that in metadata, just as easily as they do the name of the artist and song.   The problem is, the record labels and artists distributing files do not bother adding it - because the demand isn't there, and most players do not recognize all this data. The technology IS there to create an MP3 player - or other audio file - that will give you access to this, but the demand from most consumers has not been felt.

Forget to charge your Ipod or Kindle, data loss from an MP3 - of course it can happen.   If you have not had a CD player crap out on you during your lifetime, consider yourself lucky. How about a broken needle on a turntable that scratches your records?   Anything can go wrong.   With audio files, you can create a backups - and the cost to do such is become cheaper by the day.

At this moment in time, CD's are a much more desirable format. If we allow ourselves to think about what we want - and if corporations wake up to the needs - you can solve every single "negative" that has been posted here. I do not see a single complaint that cannot be resolved.

Files can allow us greater freedom - easier access, significantly less storage space, better sudio quality - it just takes continued advancement in the technology, which I'm convinced is coming.

We just need to think of the new model and how we can use it as both consumers and business people.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 10:05 AM

Is it legal in the US for a supplier to only allow one retailer to sell their product? I don't think it is in Europe, under article 102 of the EU Treaty.

I'm never going to buy anything from Amazon.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 10:09 AM

I believe Amazon offers both CD-on-demand and sale of a physical stock of CDs. I think Dick is talking about an actual inventory sale for $15.98. As I said above, musicians can set up their own "store" on Amazon to sell either mp3 downloads (individual tracks or full albums) or CD-on-demand albums, for which Amazon burns and prints a CD and mails it to you. No inventory involved, theoretically endlessly available. What I don't know about the CD-on-demand is what format and quality is used for the created CD.

Not to sound like an advertisement, here's how it worked for me:

I used this "createspace" self-publishing feature at Amazon to put up a collection of originals on our IN CONNECTICUT album, leaving off the cover songs and the full album, which is available on CDBaby. This way I didn't have to get the download licenses for those other songs. When you look at my ShoreGrass on Amazon Page, you see this originals-only album along with the ones put there by CDBaby (for which I paid all the download licenses).

What I'm suggesting is that maybe someone like Dick at Camsco can use one copy of a rare trad recording to put it up on Amazon and then resell on demand. He can use the CD-on-demand feature himself to then provide the CD to his customer.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 10:19 AM

Long ago, Lisa Neustadt and Jean Redpath recorded two albums of gospel music and one of Christmas music - I think they were on Rounder's Philo label. I wrote to Rounder several years ago, encouraging them to reissue the albums. They replied that they just couldn't afford to reissue the albums because the expected market was too small.
Well, since the Concord takeover, Rounder has reissued two of those three albums - "on demand." I'm still waiting for Angels Hovering Round, but at least I now have two of the three I wanted.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 10:34 AM

This is dreadful. Over the past forty years Rounder has built up a huge catalogue of traditional music. In opinion, it rivals the old Folkways catalogue as it stood when Smithsonian took that company over on Moe Asch's death.

Would it not have been possible to save this magnificent storehouse for the public good? Or does that only happen when "priceless" works of art are involved?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:04 AM

Barbara-
Great idea, but it's illegal. I'm attempting to obtain licences to re-issue some otherwise unavailable stuff, but it's a difficult thing to do.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:09 AM

Guest Malcolm-
"What have CD Sales got to do with traditional folk music? or should i not ask?"

Well CDs have been a medium that permitted singers and instrumentalists to be heard in areas in which they don't perform. And a major function of a retailer is to point out unfamiliar music to potential customers.
I stronlt suspect that, but for a few dedicated nuts like CAMSCO, much traditional folk music would be largely unavailable to the public.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:14 AM

Dick, I'm not suggesting you do anything illegal. Of course you would need to acquire the necessary licenses. How do you resell these CDs now that you acquired from Rounder?


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: mattkeen
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:34 AM

Quote:

Guest Malcolm-
"What have CD Sales got to do with traditional folk music? or should i not ask?"

Well CDs have been a medium that permitted singers and instrumentalists to be heard in areas in which they don't perform. And a major function of a retailer is to point out unfamiliar music to potential customers.
I stronlt suspect that, but for a few dedicated nuts like CAMSCO, much traditional folk music would be largely unavailable to the public.


Being sold on Amazon wont stop them being heard though will it?
The wider problem is whether they will still be available in the future as sales are highly inlikely to be monumental.
Presumably the rights might come up for sale again

I find out about what is worth listening to by going to festivals and internet radio or folk/roots music magazines. I have never asked a retailers opinion in my life.

I take the point though Dick there is a "guardianship" issue for the ongoing availability of an archive of perhaps historically important music.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 04:38 PM

Barbara-
Obtaining licences is anything but easy. And reselling CD;s that I purchase is straightforward; I pay for the CD--at a dealer's discounted prices---and sell it. Duping is a whole nother affair.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 07:35 PM

Since it would be Amazon doing the duping, I wonder if they are responsible for the mechanical license in the case of a cd-on-demand.

Maybe it would be possible to get a dealer's discount from them.

Maybe it would be a convenience to esoteric folk enthusiasts to have you find the rare CD they are looking for -on Amazon possibly, that you have uploaded from your own purchase- and buy it on-demand, then resell it to them with a fair profit built in, perhaps with a value-added content about the performer or personal recommendations of similar music, etc.

Many new questions and possibilities to explore in the changing music business.

Just throwing out ideas.


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Subject: RE: A kick in the head for CD retailers
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 08:23 PM

Amazon doesn't discount. And their prices are high enough so that I don't feel right applying a mark-up----I just refer customers to Amazon.


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