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CDs Want To Be Free

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the so-do-cats dept.

Music 439

Dotnaught writes: "An article that I wrote about a new music promotion service called fightcloud.com and CD pricing in general has just gone up on Salon. And heeding the advice of Dave Winer, I also posted the full transcript of the interview on my Web log, Lot 49, for those curious about what got left on the cutting room floor." Rather than complaining that Big Recording's CDs are overpriced, it sounds like this company is simply demonstrating that music (even on physical media) just don't have to cost that much.

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439 comments

Linux sucks! (-1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574263)

Linux is unstable and shitty.
Microsoft rocks baby! WOOHOOO

Um, no... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574517)

YOU are unstable and shitty.

and furthermore, you should take a well and truly frozen aluminum baseball bat and shove it up your ass with all the force you can muster.

have a nice day. bye now.

I guess the question to ask is.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574272)

How long before the mainstream record industry either:

A: Assimilates this.
B: Tries to kill this.

Re:I guess the question to ask is.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574289)

How long before you:

A. Get fp.
B. STFU.

Re:I guess the question to ask is.... (2)

Moonshadow (84117) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574320)

I'm guessing they try to kill it.

If this thing gets big enough, the record companies will have to adjust. I don't know about you, but I just bought 2 CDs, not so much because I care about the music, but because I a) want to see this model succeed, and b) want to see artists realize they don't have to get screwed over by the RIAA.

The RIAA is not the end-all be-all. There are alternatives. But the success of those alternatives depends on people who are willing to buy through them.

If nothing else, it'll piss the RIAA off, which always brightens my day.

NOT FREE..... (4, Insightful)

tiwason (187819) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574291)

ugg.. I hate advertising...

If I have to pay $4.95 for shipping and you are making $2.64 "profit" from that $4.95, how the hell is the $4.95 "for shipping"..??

$4.95 != Free

Re:NOT FREE..... (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574310)

On the other hand, $2.64 for a full length CD, physically present in my hands with a jewelcase and artwork and everything really puts the lie to the "necessity" of paying $18 apiece at joe's CD shack.

Re:NOT FREE..... (1)

tiwason (187819) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574373)

physically present in my hands with a jewelcase and artwork and everything

We produce a promotional version of the CD. We give away the entire CD. We don't do booklets, we don't do lyric sheets.

So your really just getting the cd... nothin more..

My point wasn't the price... it was the "FREE" when its not....

Re:NOT FREE..... (2, Informative)

Jobe_br (27348) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574495)

No, it doesn't. The recording labels out there aren't saying that it costs $18 to duplicate a CD (en masse), print jewel-case inserts and stuff everything into a package and shrink-wrap it so that you can't get into it.

Now, repeat after me: That's not what costs $18 per CD! What costs $18 per CD is the audio engineer that was paid to mix the tracks in the studio where the music was recorded; the rental time for that studio space and hi quality recording, mixing and sampling equipment; the designer that was paid to create the artwork you see on the jewel-case inserts and on the CD face; the copywriter that came up with what should be written on the inside sleeves of the jewel-case inserts; the production monkey that laid out the text + images in Quark for the jewel-case inserts. OK, so that all costs some money, right? Well, that's NOTHING compared with the cost of food, travel, housing that many recording labels provide their artists while they are recording. Some artists have VERY high demands for this ... caviar, first class plane tickets, 5 star hotels, the works. That costs money. The promotion work that is done when the artist goes on tour - that costs money: TV spots, banner ads, Ticketmaster kick-backs, deposits for venues, etc., etc. The promotion work that is done when a new CD launches: getting the artist on talk shows, on MTV - speaking of MTV, getting the new video shot for MTV, VH1, etc., etc.

Guess what, folks?!? That ALL costs money, and lots of it. So much, in fact, that if a particular artist doesn't make it BIG most record labels lose their pants. Ever heard of a record label that doesn't have a big name artist signed? No? I'm not surprised ... until a big artist is "discovered" a record label is nothing because it has NO MONEY.

There's a significant cost involved in promoting new music ... now, should you have to pay for lots of bad artists to be able to release their music?!? Maybe not, but that's the breaks. You can't really weed out the good from the mediocre before you incur all those costs ...

I'm quite tired of all these misinformed people thinking that they're paying an outrageous amount of money for a plastic disc with binary information encoded on it. WAKE UP! There's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes with the money that you're paying.

Re:NOT FREE..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574327)

Oh, shut up. It's a fsck of a lot cheaper than buying the disk at Tower Records. The selection sucks, though, so I'll stick to Amazon.

Re:NOT FREE..... (1)

tiwason (187819) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574342)

I know damn well its cheap. thats not what I'm complaining about... don't tout it as free if your making profit off the shipping charges... Tell me its $5 or $3 plus (the real) $2 shipping..

Re:NOT FREE..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574441)

Perhaps it's not entirely "free"...but if you count it as a"shipping and handling" charge, which implies more than just shipping, then it still works. Heck, it's about what shipping costs for many places anyway, so it may as well be free.

Re:NOT FREE..... (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574406)

Yeah, well it's a lot better than advertising a price after "mail in rebates" when you don't actually send out most of the rebates. I'm still waiting for $150 rebate from Visiontek. Personally I think the massive fraud called "mail-in rebates" will become a hot topic when people clue in.

There's a company in Canada with HORRENDOUS advertisements (The Buck a Day Company) and they sell a $1000 IBM. Well if read the micro print, there's $200 shipping.

Re:NOT FREE..... (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574445)

"There's a company in Canada with HORRENDOUS advertisements (The Buck a Day Company) and they sell a $1000 IBM. Well if read the micro print, there's $200 shipping."

The Buckaday company is proof that advertising can sometimes work against your image. I have seen the ads ("Do you really want a clone?" and "Knock knock knockin'") and I agree with you.

Re:NOT FREE..... (1)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574477)

It's not "for shipping".. It's for "shipping and handling".. giving them another excuse to squeeze money out of you..

Finally someone gets it (1)

2names (531755) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574307)

Now, if only the artists would break away totally from the record labels, everything would be great.

How ironic, it's premium Salon content (1, Troll)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574309)

can someone who's foolish enought to pay for Salon post the content please?

Re:How ironic, it's premium Salon content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574334)

I can access the page just fine...

Re:How ironic, it's premium Salon content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574336)

??? Access is not restricted to that article. Anyway, the article doesn't tell anything new. It's redundant.

Musak (1)

theEdgeSMAK (467213) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574315)

The music industry has been in need of a restructuring for awhile. Hopefully some progress can be made that will be beneficial for the consumer, the labels, AND the artist. I don't think that the labels wanna break free of the standards that have been set. Mabey we can find a way to help in the process, I doubt that the answer is piracy.

just my 1.5 cents

Stop the freakin' presses... (2, Funny)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574321)

Well, that Salon article was practically devoid of anything new.

I'll sum up:

"CDs are too expensive, because recording labels are greedy"

Man, I should be writign for Salon.com

Re:Stop the freakin' presses... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574370)

Man, I should be writign for Salon.com

With spelling like that, you should be writing for slashdot.

Re:Stop the freakin' presses... (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574515)

Yeah yeah. Maybe I should be actually "looking" at the Preview of my post if I'm going to bother hitting the Preview button.

Re:Stop the freakin' presses... (4, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574483)

Man, I should be writign for Salon.com

You seem more like slashdot editor material to me.

someday they'll get a clue... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574322)

If Cd's were reasonably priced people would buy them.

I spend hours in second hand Cd shops looking for what I want first and then only after utter failure to find it will I buy it new. The second hand CD shops are booming, the two in my town make a killing, are always packed and always has a great selection of indie/non-mainstream/plain wierd along with the regular -popular.

hell Cd sales would double overnight if they dropped the price to $9.95 for new. but as is normal... if they cant squeeze every drop of money out of something, they dont want to sell it.

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (1)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574379)

They don't really care about how many cd's they sell, only about total profit, i.e. maximize the # of cd's sold * profit per cd. Yea capitalism.

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (1)

gvibes (579654) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574482)

The only thing used CD stores by me seem to have are 37 copies of each boyz II men CD and maybe some stabbing westward... And the jazz section is 80% Kenny G

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574498)

Move to a real city, or stop shopping at stores marketed towards suburban white kids.

I live in Portland, OR (not really that big of a city in the grand scheme of things) and we have several decent used CD stores.

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (2, Interesting)

Liora (565268) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574491)

It is my experience that in my town that if a second hand store has a wide selection, a large number of the cd's on the shelves are stolen goods. It has also been my experience that if they are your cd's that are stolen, it is very difficult to actually prove they were yours and get them back.

Is it different in your town, or do you just not feel bad for perpetuating an awful business?

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (4, Interesting)

Geckoman (44653) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574506)

The problem is that record companies, like lots of big corporations, have forgotten about the Law of Supply and Demand. Instead, they've turned to the Law of Constant Revenue.

On their balance sheets, if they've been selling 100 million CDs at a profit of $10 each, and suddenly they're only selling 50 million, the only way to guarantee the same profit is to double the price.

I'm not anti-capitalist or anti-free-market, far from it, but to me that looks like evidence of monopolistic practices. They're not allowing themselves to be affected by market forces, because they're the only source of the product.

Economically, if demand is falling for something, the price should be falling to match the demand. It follows that if you're not selling enough of a product at a certain price point, you should drop your price to make it more attractive, thus increasing demand.

The RIAA should ask Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft (or their game divisions, at least) how this works.

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (1)

Antipop (180137) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574511)

Actually where I live (Charlotte, NC) there is a chain of stores in the area called Manifest Records. They are totally independent and stock all indie music.. I mean stuff that's almost impossible to find anywhere else. I don't even think they carry mainstream stuff, which is fine with me since my tastes veer toward the underground stuff. I used to never buy new CDs until I found that place. Everything is around $10.. at most maybe $12. This past weekend I picked up Codeseven's "The Rescue" and Curl Up and Die's "Unfortunately We're Not Robots" (both brand new CDs that have just come out very recently) and they were $9.95 each.

I don't mind buying CDs, especially for indie artists that probably need the money but it's ridiculous to pay $18 for a CD. I have a hard time justifying paying that much, especially when I am always so broke, for music I could get for free off the internet. When it's cheap then I have a hard time justifying not buying it.. when will the record companie's learn?

Re:someday they'll get a clue... (3, Informative)

eison (56778) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574513)

"hell Cd sales would double" - so what you're saying is, you think record companies shouldn't lower the CD price, since they'd lose money?

If I can sell a x CDs for 20 bucks, or sell 2x CDs for 10 bucks, and given that I have *some* amount of fixed cost per CD, well, I end up with more money at the end of the day at the 20 buck price point. So if I want to make money, exactly why would I lower the price?

It's extremely hard to paint the record companies as money-grubbing capitalists and foolishly missing out on money due to lost sales at the same time. Rather than totally blowing capitalism 101, stick to arguments that try to tie proposed sale prices to production costs rather than using supply/demand; it's the only way you could possibly have a point to make, and it only requires a fundamental change in philosophy on the part of most of your readers.

AOL (1)

hexdcml (553714) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574332)

hehe.. AOL gives out free CDs and yet we still compain ;) Still, all those sign up CDs are good for use as coasters. Anyone have more interesting uses for these FREE Cds?

Re:AOL (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574399)

"Anyone have more interesting uses for these FREE Cds?"

Artwork: I have an AOL CD Collage on the front of my wardrobe. I wish they would stop sending those "AOL Titanium" CDs because I have enough of them. [Acutally I've got an Earthlink and a Compuserve disc up there as well, although Compuserve is really owned by AOL.]

Re:AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574409)

They're a good substitute for ninja throwing stars. A bit harder to conceal in your clothes, though.

Re:AOL (1)

rocket97 (565016) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574500)

yeah put them in the microwave for 3-5 seconds it makes a really cool design, and really cool lightning. :-)

Oops, forgot the subject (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574339)

a note from.......

Living a life of sin
without the will to win
here I go again
what can I what must I do
leave man, shy like I do

Hypocritcal.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574340)

Hear me out here, I think I have a valid point. Lots of people here are programmers. Lots of people think CD's are overpriced. Well a CD is about 15 bucks give or take a few. How much is a video game these days? 40 or 50 bucks, a DRASTICALLY different number than 15. But guess what? You get a game , it comes on a CD. You get an album, it comes on a CD. What can we conclude from this? You're not paying for the CD at all, you're paying for what's on it! So why should we tolerate 50 dollar games without batting an eye, but a 15 dollar music collection is "way too much"?? I don't see the difference. Programmers put in tons of effort to create a game. Musicians put in tons of effort to create a CD. The time schedules are roughly similiar, no artist is cranking out CD's weekly or anything. So is there any reason we complain about music being too much, while games we don't? I think its because most people here are programmers, and think that because video games involve programming, they are inherently worth more.

Re:Hypocritcal.... (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574426)

I get a lot more repeat enjoyment out of a video game than a music cd. How many people listen to the same music cd for 8 hours a day for a whole month?

Re:Hypocritcal.... (2)

Patman (32745) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574479)

And how many games are you still playing on any regular basis five or ten years after they come out?

I have every CD I've ever purchased, and still listen to them on a fairly regular basis. I don't regularly play Need for Speed 4, and I just got that a couple of years ago.

Re:Hypocritcal.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574435)

Hell of a good post. The bonehead mooches in this place who expect to get something for nothing are just a bunch of knuckleheaded whiners.

'Course, maybe if they didn't blow their meager salaries (from burger flipping no doubt) on Klingon-to-English dictionaries they would have money to buy a CD or two.

Re:Hypocritcal.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574484)

Sorry dude, no.

At the outset, there's maybe five artists working on an album.

Try paying 50 full time employees (developers, artists, programmers, etc) for multiple years and then selling your game for the price of a music CD.

Re:Hypocritcal.... (1)

Wiggin (97119) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574496)

Your missing the point. The reason that music cds are over priced is that of that $15 only about $1.36 goes to cover the physical stuff that you get and the money that the artist gets. it is the middle man that is getting the remaining $13.64, and that seems a tad overpriced to me.

all publishers are greedy! (3, Interesting)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574520)

As a former game programmer I can tell you that it's very similar to the record industry. Normally in video game development you have a publisher, a development studio, and programmers/artists that work for the game studio. The publisher gets most of the money, then the game studio, then the programmers/artists get crap. In my experience game programmers make much less and work longer hours than people in other industries. Though game programming is much more challenging and fun!

thoughts (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574344)

i dont know. the article appears like the it was cut in the middle. you reach the end and say to yourself "wait, that's it?"

Re:thoughts (1)

Black_Logic (79637) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574433)

As some others have pointed out, The balance of the article is only available to premium salon members (subcribers)

Re:thoughts (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574508)

i see.

interesting, salon is making a fatal mistake by not putting a little note there saying so. If they put the note saying something like "remainder of article available to premium subscribers, sign up here" and include a link, then some people out there would want to sign up, but without it, salon is actually pushing away their own readers that arent aware of the subscription option. The readers would leave because they'll see many articles that lack content, and conclude that salon publishes bad articles.

Hey, c'mon... (4, Insightful)

vkg (158234) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574352)

although calling something free and charging five bucks for it is kinda scummy, at least these folks are punching a hole through the perception that there's something expensive about producing a CD.

15 bucks is NOT reasonable, and was the price point initially agreed upon to finance the cost to convert to the new format (i.e. from vinyl). CDs were supposed to cost about eight bucks in stores.

price floors already pending... (2, Insightful)

sixSecondsOfDefeat (580997) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574354)

This is a good idea, but the state of Nevada for instance has already made progress towards placing price floors on any "mainstream music distributions". Because of pointless legislation such as this, projects like these will never succeed.

This probably won't make a difference (2, Informative)

kvn299 (472563) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574356)

If anything, this site might be merely a proof-of-concept, but I doubt if it's a model that will become widespread. People have been conditioned to pay $18+ for CDs and as long as the only way they can get their Britney fix is through those who have the monopoly, they'll continue paying it.

Since all the artists on the site are unknown, they'll never be able to reach much of an audience because the radio stations are the pretty much beholden to the recording industry will never play their music.

I really haven't followed up with Prince's attempts in directly selling to the consumer, but I don't recall hearing much from him lately. He might still be selling records, but who thinks he'd be as well-known as he is without generating lots of dollars for the recording industry first.

It's a cynical view, but it's hard to not to have it. I do applaud attempts to go it alone, but I can't help but think these guys will be gone this time next year.

"Free"? (1)

xenoweeno (246136) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574359)

All FightCloud CDs are 100% FREE! Shipping and handling is $4.95.

It costs $1.03 to $1.26 (depending on variance of weight between plastic jewel case and cardboard fold case, and sometimes the weight of book inserts) to send a CD via first class mail. A 25-count box of 6x9 padded envelopes can be purchased at Office Max for no more than $10, so that's another forty cents.

Where does the other $3.34 go?

Re:"Free"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574454)

RTA. Half to the artist, half to them.

Handling (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574458)

Seriously, did you even read the article? They didn't say it was totally free - they make money "handling" the cds:


At FightCloud.com, the price is right. Scalfani sells CDs for free. That is, if you don't count the $4.95 "shipping" charge. Of course, that would be a mistake. Buried in the shipping charge is the secret ingredient: a modest profit. Less costs of $2.31, the company nets $2.64 on each "free" disc, half of which goes to the artist. But with only 1,000 or so CDs shipped to date, no one's getting rich. Yet.

Re:"Free"? (1)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574472)

Read the damn article!!

From THE ARTICLE, That is, if you don't count the $4.95 "shipping" charge. Of course, that would be a mistake. Buried in the shipping charge is the secret ingredient: a modest profit. Less costs of $2.31, the company nets $2.64 on each "free" disc, half of which goes to the artist.

Amazing how many redundant questions can be answerd by a bit of reading...

Re:"Free"? (2)

viking099 (70446) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574487)

The $1.26 is the "shipping" part.
The rest is "handling"
This part includes the recording, burning, packing, and getting it in the mail.

Not a bad deal if you like the music you buy...:-)

Re:"Free"? (4, Informative)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574493)

The blank CD-R, the case, and the mailing label. Paying someone to put the blank in the burner, take the blank out (and label it?), putting it into a jewel case, putting the jewel case into an envelope, and putting a label on it.

Capital costs on the CD burner and the Hard Drive to store the master on. Paying someone to "upload" the tracks onto the server.

I'm impressed. The artists get more per disk than with a major label. Customers get more music per dollar. If they can keep their costs down and remain an ongoing, growing concern, we're all better off.

Re:"Free"? (2)

Tazzy531 (456079) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574519)

If you read the article, you'd read that $2.64 is profit. So "free" is rather $2.64. They do this a lot on TV products.

You said it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574360)

CD pricing in general has just gone up

So true. Although I think it's a trend, not a one time thing.

Re:You said it. (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574420)

CD pricing in general has just gone up

So true. Although I think it's a trend, not a one time thing.


yeah it is called inflation

Not a bad Idea (1)

RealisticWeb.com (557454) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574361)

I remember that whole buzz about price fixing a while back. It seems to me like there are all kinds of governmet agencys with no purpose except to protect the entertainment industry from the consumer (ala pirating etc) but they are slow to protect the consumer from the entertainment industry (ie CD technology has increased but price hasn't dropped since... well practicly since they hit the market). I don't know if this guys new marketing attempt will work or not, but I like the idea, and I have to agree with what the author said. If I can buy a brand new CD for $4, I'm not going to bother scouring over every P2P network on the internet untill I find all the mp3's from the alubum I want. That usually takes WAY too much time, and is much poorer quality. Piracy in software and music alike would not be so much of a problem if things were priced reasonably.

wheres my $20 going? (3, Informative)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574362)

In 2000, the average suggested list price of a CD was $14.02, according to the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA). The CD itself costs about 32 cents in a large production run, according to Michael Pardo, V.P. of sales for CD duplicator Greenwood Solutions. Add packaging and the price goes to 54 cents. Add the cut for a new artist, somewhere between 10 and 50 cents,

CD+ Packaging + artist cut == $1.36
$20 - $1.36 == 18.64 RIAA

Re:wheres my $20 going? (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574428)

"CD+ Packaging + artist cut == $1.36
$20 - $1.36 == 18.64 RIAA"

Not exactly ... what about money for shipping the things to the stores? What about retail markup? Stores often have to run security and pay their employees. What about advertising?

This is the suggested retail price. Thus retail costs get factored in as well. I'm not saying that the RIAA isn't evil. But after manufacturing costs and the artist's cut, the rest is NOT totally their profit.

Re:wheres my $20 going? (1)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574431)

Part of that $20 goes to:

Shipping CD's from factory to warehouse
Warehouse, in the form of storage fees
Shipping CD's from warehouse to record stores
And the record stores, being resellers need a cut, too

I'm not sure of the actual numbers, but I'm sure the RIAA still gets a decent cut of the action anyway.

Re:wheres my $20 going? (2)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574504)

You'd have more money left if you stopped paying $20 for $14 CDs.

I see the $20 CD figure thrown around a lot on Slashdot. Does anyone actually pay $20 for their CDs? I don't mean a double CD set or an export, there's a reason those are more expensive. And I don't mean a $16.99 CD that you've decided to round up to $20. It usually doesn't matter what the exact price is, but when you use the mythical $20 value to determine the RIAA's profit, that's just faulty math.

Re:wheres my $20 going? (3, Informative)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574510)

Incorrect assumption.

Don't forget that CDs never get from the production company to the retail store directly through magic.

Count in distributor, wholesaler, and chain, then the shipping/trucking costs between, and you'll see that the RIAA does not get what's left after packaging, CD cost and cut to artist.

Why they're free (2)

unformed (225214) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574365)

I just checked the site out, to see what they have, since I already buy a good number of CDs.

I've never heard of the artists they carry, and they have a selection of approximately 10 artists.

Yeah, the reason they're free is probably that the artists CAN'T SELL their CDs, so they'll give them away for "free" to save on dispoasal costs.

Bah.

Shipping? (2)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574366)

Pshaw, not free. Almost free. Not free.

Hey, if I show up at your offices, can I just take the CDs home for free? Since you're only charging me shipping and handling, it shouldn't be a big deal. Where's the office?

Episode 3.5: Ambition (-1)

Walmart Security (570281) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574378)

Upon hearing those words, the world began to completely exhibit its infinite amount of austerity. I had dedicated everything to protecting others, only to be removed from my chosen profession. Numerous times I had risked my life, oblivious to any possible consequence, to rescue automobiles from rogue shopping carts, crying children from abandonment, and old men from a certain type of narcissistic paranoia. Feeling a cool sensation on my face, I realized that I was doing something that no hardened warrior such as myself should never do, no matter how comforting it may seem. For the first time since they had erected the Walmart, I was crying. Perhaps, after all of the years that I had served my beloved cause, I was no longer able to effectively defend it. As the hospital pillow warmed my face that fateful evening, I decided that my legacy would be to educate Robert about SWD (an acronym for "Strategic Walmart Defense") and, eventually, relinquish my privileges as a security guard.

"Robert?" My voice hadn't completely returned; instead, it sounded quite emotional, similar to that of a brave warrior's final, futile cry during battle. "Would you mind finding EZSECURE's corporate phone number for me? Oh, and a pen and piece of paper as well."

"No, of course not," he replied, in a vain but ambitious attempt to calm me, as he produced a pen from his shirt pocket and retrieved a pad of paper from the table nearest the hallway door. "Get some rest, will you? I'll bring you the number tomorrow morning, as soon as I wake up." I relayed my gratitude to Robert as he exited the desolate hospital room. He wouldn't enter it again until the next morning.

It was absolutely imperative that I schedule an appointment with EZSECURE's CEO, Thorslen Edwards, to convince him of my superlativeness as a security guard; perhaps he would permit me to return to my duties and fulfill my recently finalized plan. Grasping the plastic "Bic" pen, I began to compose my speech.

"Dear Mr. Edwards," I wrote. No, the word "dear" was unprofessional. In fact, an introductory statement wasn't proper, for I intended to deliver the speech personally. When my hand began to ache from inserting text onto paper, I decided to speak to Edwards extemporaneously. After all, I couldn't anticipate any of the questions that could be lurking inside of this accomplished man's mind. It would be both more efficient and more impressive to exercise my extensive tactical knowledge during the appointment.

The hospital began to quiet as the clock approached midnight. If it had been eight in the morning, the ardent sun beginning to illuminate Jasper, I would certainly be comfortable enough to engage in a restful night's sleep. For the moment, however, a nap would suffice.

Give some credit to the record companies. (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574382)

Wait a second here! I would give some credit to the record companies here. They've managed to convince us that we're getting a good deal every time we buy a CD, while in the meantime we're getting gouged. Hey, if I could sell some suckers over-priced goods, I'd do it too. Too bad I'm a sucker.

Marketing, warehousing... (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574383)

A CD really does cost money to produce. The reason you (well, not you necessarily, but somebody) want the Mariah Carey CD is that somebody brought it to your attention. "Attention", as everybody on the Internet knows, costs money.

Physical stores cost money: clerks, rent, utilities, inventory overhead. Some of what Fightcloud is doing just matches the Amazon model of using the Internet to reduce many of those costs. Good for them; I applaud it.

Now comes the real question: will they have any CDs worth buying? And if they do, how will you know? Most CDs are crap. Even in a general area that you like, most CDs aren't worth the plastic they're printed on, at least to you. It's the job of marketing to match you with that CD, and that's expensive to do. We'll see if $4.95 gradually becomes $9.95. Still a better price than the RIAA wants you to pay, of course.

Hey, credit where it is due! (1, Redundant)

vkg (158234) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574393)

Although calling something free and charging five bucks for it is kinda scummy, at least these folks are punching a hole through the perception that there's something expensive about producing a CD.

Crap (1)

tulmad (25666) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574397)

Considering less than 10 percent of the roughly 27,000 CDs released annually make money (according to the RIAA)...

It might also be that most of the music that the RIAA puts out is crap, but that's just my opinion.

Re:Crap (1)

bsartist (550317) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574449)

Yeah, but why is it that the 10 percent that makes money is seldom the same 10 percent that doesn't suck? :-(

Re:Crap (1)

jedman (44960) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574471)


Huh? 90% of all CDs issued lose money? They make obscene profits off of 10% of the artists' releases? This sounds like Enron-style accounting in reverse. There's no way they'd take a chance on ANY non-established artist if it had a 1 in 10 chance of making them any money. Oh that's right, the recording companies are really in the business just because they love music...

I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574400)

I'm a twenty-something programmer/analyst. I have a DSL line. I don't pirate movies or music or pc games or video games. I, like most people, like to pay for things, including the things I could get for free. For better or worse, we are all consumers and just because we can download things for free doesn't mean we do.

Why bother with the copy protection crap? If I want to pirate a game protected by safe disc, I will, and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it since I am just one person out of millions.

Why not save the money? Honestly, the only thing I have pirated in the last year was Windows XP - I paid for Windows 98 and I just consider it an upgrade to a working copy. That and paying for it would have meant registering. I may just buy it and stick the shrink wrapped copy on the shelf.

I would rather see the money spent on more content than some stupid scheme to stop me from ripping a cd that doesn't even work. It doesn't stop the poor pirates and it doesn't stop the rich pirates. It doesn't stop me from making legit backups when I want. So why bother?

FightCloud.com (2)

maniac11 (88495) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574402)

It's a good idea... we all know that CDs are overpriced. I try to buy music direct from the artist... they generally get a much higher cut and the prices are generally much better.

It's too bad that FightCloud doesn't have a better selection...

My recomendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574412)

Try the scuf bin at Everyday Music.

Best Value? (2, Interesting)

giantsfan89 (536448) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574416)

"If you compare the CD to other entertainment, it's one of the best values out there."

Hmm lets say we use an entertainment piece 100 times...
DVDs $ 20/100 = $ .20
CDs $ 15/100 = $ .15
Computer $1500/100 = $15.00
MP3s $ /100 = $ .00 (AKA KaZaA)
Slashdot $.50/100 = $ .005 (half a cent)
Hmmm so looks like Slashdot's $5/1000 deal isn't too bad for non-banner ad pages!

Not quite (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574494)

You say computer, but it should be a computer program. Or you should not list cd and instead list a cd player.

I get the best entertainment value out of sex myself. Contraceptives are cheap and if you live with your partner, you are probably making money :)

Born Free (plus shipping) (5, Interesting)

donnacha (161610) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574417)


From the Salon article [salon.com]:

Scalfani sells CDs for free. That is, if you don't count the $4.95 "shipping" charge

So, if I turn up at their offices in person, with a box, these CDs really will be free. As in free.

If I were the word free, I'd be feeling pretty raw and abused these days.

Bitching and moaning about the price of CD's (2, Interesting)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574424)

I do it too. Every time I go to Newbury Comics, it seems those bastards have upped the price of CD's.

But bitching about it doesn't really do anything. The CD producers can charge whatever price they think the market will bear. Some people actually buy CD's at stores like Sam Greedy and Record Frown, both of which seem to sell everything at MSRP (about $19 now), so it's obvious people are willing to pay.

My answer? I simply buy fewer CD's: at $10 I'll buy almost anything, at $13 I'll buy most stuff, but at $15+ I'll only buy what I really want. The rest of it just isn't worth that price.

However, just because I think they can charge whatever they want doesn't also mean they get to dictate terms. If they want a limited-time monopoly on distributing their recordings, they have to fulfill their side of the copyright bargain, which IMO means that they have to make it easy for me to exercise my fair use rights. It isn't enough simply not to prosecute me for attempting to exercise those rights, such as space-shifting (ripping to .ogg, making a copy for the car, etc.) and time-shifting (taping stuff off the radio to play later); they should not even be able to make it difficult to perform such tasks. This means that copyright should not apply to recordings with fair use interference measures/anti-free trade measures (collectively and inaccurately known as "copy protection").

Go sign the Digital Consumer Bill of Rights [digitalconsumer.org] and stand up for preservation of your fair use rights. Call your Congressmen. Donate to Rick Boucher and let him know why. Join the EFF. (And if all else fails, join the NRA, buy a handgun, and get ready to defend your liberties with force.) Stop simply complaining, and do something about it.

bizness 101... (2, Insightful)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574436)

...tells you to sell the product at the price at which you will make the most money. Let's assume $4 per unit production cost. If one million people are willing to buy your product at $14 each, you make 10 million dollars. If only twice that many people are willing to buy it at $8 each, you only make 8 million. I'd be an idiot not to price my product at $14.

Re:bizness 101... (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574451)

Good point, but your math is flawed. If 2 million people buy my product at $8 that's 16 million, which is more than 10 million. I doubt sales would double, but yes, many people are willing to pay $15-20 for a music cd. Same thing with gas prices, we are willing to pay whatever it takes to drive our car, even if it means we're being screwed. Why? Because we see being able to drive our car at all more important than the fact that we're being totally screwed by major corporations. Selfishness is the problem here.

Re:bizness 101... (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574502)

You didn't do the math correctly.

Its $16 million in revenue, true. But at the $4 production cost he quoted per CD, at 2 million cd's, thats $8 million, so you end up with $8 profit.

Granted, it probably doesn't cost $4 per CD to produce it, but for the purposes of the problem stated, it fits.

Now, the obvious solution here would be to reduce the per unit cost of each CD. Cutting out the middlemen would help significantly.

-Restil

Electronic? (2, Funny)

version5 (540999) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574437)

Whenever I see music retailers ignore electronic music, I conclude that they must be horribly out of touch.

But the good news is that they are championing the oft-overlooked Christmas music genre. In May, for some reason.

Re:Electronic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574463)

At the cinema yesterday, one of the ads before the film was for Chrismas Eve services at a local church.

Guess Christmas is coming early this year; must be a government plan to boost the economy or prove that Christianity is better than Islam or something.

Got a problem with non-free music? (2, Insightful)

fugue (4373) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574475)

In music, just as in software, you can't complain that other people are trying to make money off what they do. If you don't like the fact that you have to pay for music, go and make some music! Distribute it for free. Put it under the EFF OAL or something. Whatever works.

There's certainly a place for professionals in music (questions about how well the current payment system works aside), but music should also be an amateur (look it up) endeavour. If you have a day job, then share what you create!

Finding my recording of the Brahms Requiem is left as an exercise for the reader.

Just like a BMG or Columbia House... (1)

sgt_getraer (448034) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574499)

Hey 10 CDs for a penny... but what's this $40 shipping?... and why do I get unsoliceted CDs in the mail every week?

Hmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3574512)

Every time /. posts one of these stories I keep expecting to hear VAXman step up and say:
You people are nothing but a bunch of fucking thieves and pirates! You deserve to rot in hell! I hate you all! Et cetera...
Ah, for the days of VAXman's knee-jerk rabid ferocity with which he shilled for the copyright lobby...

Bad marketing choice (5, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 11 years ago | (#3574514)

People hate hearing "free" when it means $4.95 shipping for something that's cheap to make and ship.

Instead, they should've said that the CDs were $4.95 with free shipping. Then we wouldn't feel like we're being lured in by "free", it'd just be a good deal.

It's just wording, I know, but it makes or breaks this company's "image".

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