[OT] Re: [Gllug] CD's etc

Mike Brodbelt mike at coruscant.demon.co.uk
Thu Apr 11 22:27:02 UTC 2002

On Thu, 2002-04-11 at 22:32, Vincent AE Scott wrote:
> Mike Brodbelt(mike at coruscant.demon.co.uk)@Thu, Apr 11, 2002 at 09:06:55PM +0100:


> > The thing you have to realise is that the production cost of a CD is
> > entirely decoupled from the sale price. The record companies operate as
> > a cartel, and dictate contract terms to new artists, who have little
> > choice but to accept if they ever wish their music to be heard. The sale
> > price of a CD is purely a function of supply and demand economics - the
> > record companies have a stranglehold and push prices as high as the
> > market will bear.
> too right it's a cartel.  if the laws of supply and demand were being
> followed then they'd have to alter supply or price to stimulate sales.
> instead they cry fowl and point the finger at 'piracy' for lagging
> sales.  not the fact their 'warez' are over priced, and possibly, dare i
> say it, there's a lack of choice.

It's interesting to watch them scrabbling for a "solution" though. I was
at a seminar recently, where the speaker was talking about textbook
publishing. In the US, large scientific text books are recommended to
students by their professors, and many courses are taught "from the
book" much more so than in the UK. This means that students have little
choice but to purchase the books, as a cost of $80 - $100 each.

The speaker observed that the 1 year attrition rate of a US textbook,
due to the strength of the second hand market, runs at 60-80%.
Publishers assume that if they have a popular title that sells maybe
18,000 copies in the year of publication, the second year they'll be
moving about 3,000 copies, and after that the book is effectively dead.

Many things have been attempted to offset this, but the one that has
been settled on is to accelerate the revision schedule, even when the
content does not require it. Putting out a new edition every 2 years
protects their revenue stream. Interestingly, from what I heard, none of
the publishers were willing to see the obvious, which is that perhaps
the second hand market would be less well organised and less of a
problem if they didn't screw their customers over so badly in the first
place. There are textbook publishers in the US that wish to move their
entire inventory to e-books within 5 years, so that they can kill the
second-hand book market, and cut bookstores out of the loop. There's
already an open letter to Amazon from publishers complaining about how
easy they are making it for customers to purchase second hand copies of

> or possibly this whole mess is due to other socioeconomic factors that
> the system does'nt want to admit exist.

Admitting the truth would make too many people look bad.


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