Like many I have been enjoying the “Daisy Jones and the Six” series on Prime so I decided to buy Aurora, the soundtrack album on vinyl. It’s a single album which is in the charts and isn’t an audiophile release.
I’m afraid somebody in the record company is taking the mickey with pricing though…
J – you need to dig deeper here, as these smaller-market vinyls which may not have bulk UK import arrangements, and even if they do sometimes, are always price disconnected, largely through import arrangements and applicable duties. Plus, the producing record company is often different to the distributor.
e.g. the price on Amazon is from ‘other sellers’ as best I can tell and whenever I’ve looked on Amazon USA for a US release, the cost has reflected $:£ parity. Of course, you have to be very careful with all imports, as the postie will often levy the duty & VAT (IIRC), plus a handling charge (I’m sure you know all this).
It’s obvious that some X-border suppliers import in bulk, as you get US produced stock and a UK return address if issues. I’ve even had some sticker the cardboard saying the item is below the £15 (still?) duty/VAT exemption level when it wasn’t!
There are plentiful stories of people buying X-border, where they end up paying more in the end, once postie proffers their bill
Of course, this all extends to other forms of media too, inc CDs.
Back in 1990, I was regularly paying £10-£13 for a CD. In 2023 I’m still paying the same amount for CDs. The difference is that there is only one shop left (HMV) where I can purchase them in person, and they nearly went under. In the last month, I’ve noticed Rough Trade no longer sells CDs in their Bristol shop.
£10-13 monetary value from 1990 falls between £29-£37 in today’s value.
Most vinyl costs appear to fall between £25-£30, which seems reasonable relative to what I paid back in 1990. So wonder if it’s a supply and demand issue concerning the high price for Daisy Jones. But I would imagine that the supplier would set the price.
None of the above but I have a passing/working knowledge of the structure and financing of the media sector in general, and this subject of consumer pricing has been interrogated for eons e.g. when you split out the price of a CD/vinyl (a nice pie chart ) in the format of ‘who gets what’, this reveals how multi-layered the industry is, and how many fingers in the end to end pie there are.
These charts/diagrams may be on-line somewhere. Last I saw (pre-Covid), if memory serves, was a quality CD pressing cost something like 70p to produce versus a sale ticket of £13.
You may be aware that @TheKevster on here has hands-on experience in the industry and has explained some of the challenges in his previous posts i.e. around Ese & The Vooduu People.
We know pressing plants have increased prices (Covid demand & energy aspects) and it seems retailers have been pushing margins too, plus some seem to want what might be considered ‘super margin’ – you just have to shop around and be keenly aware of what ‘all-in’ price you are paying. Of course, one doesn’t know what some retailers are paying their suppliers, so are they earning ‘super margin’ or just not getting the same supply terms as a major retailer like Amazon (as principal not platform agent)?
p.s. I, probably like many of us, have (pre)ordered stuff from smaller reputable on-line retailers (often mentioned on here), only to be told months later they couldn’t get it from their suppliers e.g. the likes of Universal (as I understand), as other retailers/routes to market were being preferred.
I have never paid prices like these, for LP’s or CD’s.
I first bought CD’s when I was living in Japan, in the early 90’s. They were much cheaper there, than in the UK. I then stopped buying LP’s. On return from Japan, I was horrified by the CD prices - and how HMV handled them (keeping the CD behind the desk, in a cardboard sleeve - ugh). So I sought out other options, which was mail order then - but soon became on line. I have hardly ever bought in a ‘shop’ since then.
Any LP’s I want, which is only now back catalogue, to fill gaps, I get from Discogs, used. My CD’s are either from Discogs or eBay - rarely Amazon. I do not buy any ‘new’ LP’s.
The prices of CD’s seem to have increased over recent years - and availability is becoming less good. Downloads or streaming seems to be the rule now.
In a way, the CD has become the LP, and the LP has become the 78…
As we know from the numerous legal cases, a ‘record deal’ wasn’t/isn’t always proportionately rewarding to the artistes involved…and that’s before we get to the accounting scandals within some recordco’s, who don’t seem to be able to identify what the artiste should be getting!
My suspicion is that everybody (apart from the artist) has their snouts in the feeder trough on this plus there’s a shortage of vinyl pressing capacity which means according to economic theory that prices will rise when demand exceeds supply.
My suspicion is that the industry are testing the waters with a new pricing model and £35 not £25 will become the norm, at least until either demand falls or pressing plant capacity catches up.
My fear is that the industry will kill the golden goose here and they will be left with collapsing sales of all physical formats. CD is already in terminal decline and only vinyl is still holding up. There can’t be that many of us even in the abnormally affluent confines of the Naim forum who would willingly pay £35+ for a new release chart album just now, I know I won’t. I’ve been combing the secondhand rails of my local vinyl emporium this week and picking up some nice condition 70’s and 80’s pressings of Bob Seger for between £8-£10 which is fair value. I too like Ian occasionally buy from Discogs if there’s something I simply must track down but in truth I quite enjoy a couple of hours combing the racks of vinyl in local shops, that’s part of the fun!
So at these prices secondhand is where it’s at for me right now. Even as a vinyl fan with a serious turntable I can see the bottom dropping out of the market for vinyl when the young get priced out and move on to another fashionable pursuit. That will just leave the middle aged buffs again and they aren’t enough to sustain demand or prices at this level.
Totally agree streaming is exceptional value. For £10 a month we get basically get almost all the world’s music but sadly streaming doesn’t pay the artist much at all compared to physical media sales so artists will suffer.
The price of vinyl today in general really is too damn high. But it isn’t a surprise considering the way streaming revenues have changed the industry - the demand just isn’t there (as it was back in the day) to justify the production volumes required to keep prices low. I wince at paying £20 for a record, but at least when I do its something I know I really want.
Also, check out some of the 7" reggae singles being repressed these days - the “high quality” label names are selling for £15-£20. I even saw some on Honest Jons for £45 (they may well have been originals, but there was no mention of that).
What is silly though (in my opinion) is things like this…
If memory serves there was a recent thread on here about or which veered in to the financial & operational tensions within the Spotify business model which, in financial words, still hasn’t achieved adequate critical mass to generate profitability…and an activity which isn’t profitable will, eventually, succumb to the capitalist laws of gravity.