October 1st – Buy A Universal CD Day
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By etrigan - Last updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - Save & Share - 15 Comments

In honor of Universal doing the smart thing and enticing more new CD purchases by “announcing a price drop”:http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/fool/20030904/bs_fool_fool/1062700440 for retail purchases, I propose that we all buy a CD on October 1st from UMG to show our support.

Here’s a list of upcoming and current CDs from UMG that look cool:

* Gap Band – Gap Band 80’s
* Jimi Hendrix – Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Jimi Hendrix
* Johnny Cash – All Aboard The Blue Train
* Jurassic 5 – Power in Numbers
* Obie Trice – Cheers

Cool thing: the Obie Trice CD’s will have “three magical tickets”:http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=795&e=16&u=/eo/12444 hidden (Willie Wonka style) in the first pressing that will get you air fare, lodgings and a chance to watch Eminem in the studio making his next album.

Please, drop in some comments listing some albums for me to consider buying.

h5. Bumped on 9/30 with new material

Still wondering what CD to buy tomorrow? Here’s a list of Univeral and it’s subsidiary websites:

* “Geffen Records”:http://www.geffen.com/
* “Interscope Geffen A&M”:http://www.interscope.com/
* “Island Def Jam Music Group”:http://www.islanddefjam.com/
* “Lost Highway Records”:http://www.losthighwayrecords.com/
* “MCA Nashville”:http://www.mca-nashville.com/
* “Mercury Nashville”:http://www.mercurynashville.com/
* “Motown Records”:http://www.motown.com/
* “Universal Classics”:http://www.iclassics.com/
* “Universal Records”:http://www.universalrecords.com/
* “Universal Music Enterprises”:http://www.universalmusicenterprises.com/
* “Universal Music Latino”:http://www.universalmusica.com/
* “Universal South”:http://www.universal-south.com/
* “Verve Music Group”:http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/

and here’s a few more musical selections to consider:

* “Mel Torm Swings Shubert…”:http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/product.aspx?pid=9956 – Mel Torm
* “The Best of Bollywood”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000035902/rollecomthewebsi
* “The Ultimate Collection”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006AO39/rollecomthewebsi – Hank Williams
* “Earl Scruggs and Friends”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005NEYZ/rollecomthewebsi – Earl Scruggs
* Just about anything from Willie or Johnny Cash will fall under UMG.

P.S. There is still some question as to the “actual dates of UMG’s price roll back”:http://www.syracuse.com/entertainment/poststandard/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-6/1064910952140690.xml so be sure to only buy CDs that are less than $13.

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15 Responses to “October 1st – Buy A Universal CD Day”

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 5, 2003 at 3:35 pm

Damn, now I guess I have to buy an Obie Trice CD.

Also, I probably would buy the Jurassic 5 CD anyway, even though their last one was slightly disappointing.

Comment from KellyMc
Time September 5, 2003 at 4:22 pm

Isn’t “Power in Numbers” the slightly disappointing one?

Comment from etrigan
Time September 5, 2003 at 5:06 pm

I disagree. While I often skip the first song on the album (okay: the first two tracks, ’cause the first track is an intro and the second track is the first song) I like the rest of the album a lot. The song with Nelly Furtado is as good as anything I’ve heard from Morcheeba. Remember His Name is amazing clever modern poetry. The hit, High Fidelity, is one of the best beats of last year.

Comment from etrigan
Time September 5, 2003 at 5:22 pm

but the original request is for UMG CDs not listed here that are worth buying.

Comment from KellyMc
Time September 8, 2003 at 12:17 pm

I’d like to move that we not do sticky entries, at least not for more than couple of days. In this format, it makes the front page pretty static. If a discussion is lively enough, it’ll stay at the top of the recent comments section for easy access.

Comment from etrigan
Time September 8, 2003 at 1:34 pm

Yeah, okay. It’s not sticky, but I’m gonna bump it 9/29.

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 30, 2003 at 3:30 pm

Obie Trice it is, then. I saw his video on launch.com Sunday night, and although he busts on those of us ladies with junk in our trunk, it’s still a pretty good song. And I want to support UMG.

Comment from BT
Time September 30, 2003 at 4:38 pm

I don’t understand why you guys are so hyped about Universal. I think that all they have done is told Tower and the other traditional music retailers to go to hell.

I don’t want to get deep into the weird accounting tricks that labels use, but suffice it to say that UMG has not changed the price it ultimately charges retailers for CD’s. Instead, it has eliminated retail discounts and promotional funds it used to give to retailers and lowered the dealer price for CD’s by almost exactly the same amount.

To make this more clear, a label might sell a typical CD to a retailer for $12. The label will then give a $1.50 discount to the retailer and also pay the retailer $1.50 for in-store advertising. After all of that is done, the real price of the CD is $9.00.

UMG has told the retailers, “Guess what? We are gonna sell you our CD’s for ONLY $9.00. By the way, though, you can forget about the discounts and forget about getting paid for the in-store advertising. One other thing. You have to drop the price on new releases from $18.00 to $13.00. So your per-CD profit has just been slashed by over 50%! Have a nice day!”

Furthermore, since an artist’s share of proceeds is often a percentage of the retail price for the CD, UMG has also unilaterally reduced artist royalties by 33%.

So, when it all adds up, UMG probably makes about the same amount of money per CD on most albums, and on high sellers (the rare case in which UMG has to pay artist royalties), UMG actually makes MORE money per CD because of the smaller artist take.

FYI, there was an article about this in the WSJ a couple of weeks ago, but no one else has really picked up on it.

Comment from BT
Time September 30, 2003 at 4:42 pm

Sorry. Bad math alert. I did my percentage backwards. Artist royalties will be reduced by 25%, not 33%. If it went the other way, royalties would be increased by 33%. My bad.

Comment from etrigan
Time October 1, 2003 at 9:40 am

Babblefish (over at altavista.com) needs a latin english translator so that I can change the phrase “caveat emptor” to something along the lines of “musician emptor”. I believe that musicians are already eating away at record companies from the inside (by rejecting contracts and going local), and the ones that are still sucking at the teat and getting sour milk only have themselves to blame for not having good business sense (or making crappy music). Along those lines, the record stores need to stop using the labels (and Clear Channel…but that’s another blog) as a prop and find a way to do business simply buying a commodity and selling it and stop looking for the backdoor deal. Still, if UMG screws the record stores, the record stores will find a way to screw UMG.

I don’t believe that file-trading has hurt the record industry, but I do believe that high CD prices have.

Besides, if the physical cost of a commodity is under a penny and you are selling millions of them, why do marketing and overhead costs = $18/piece?

Comment from jank
Time October 1, 2003 at 9:44 am

Something’s gotta buy all that bling for the lables…

Comment from BT
Time October 1, 2003 at 12:15 pm


I don’t really understand what you are saying with your post. Record stores don’t have any clout against UMG, which is why UMG just gave them the finger. Most of UMG’s sales are through big box retailers (Best Buy, Wal Mart), and those retailers were already pretty close to the price point that UMG is mandating. Also, record stores cannot hide UMG product in the back bin, because something like 40% of their sales ARE UMG product.

Finally, I don’t understand how anyone can say that file sharing has not hurt CD sales. In the last 2 years, prices have remained relatively stable but sales have dropped about 35%. Also, the 12-24 demographic that record stores depend on is also the demographic that most audaciously trades files.

I agree that labels have not done anything productive to adapt to the new business model that has been forced on them, but I have no doubt that file sharing has contributed, more than any other single factor, to the woes of the industry.

And I think that music stores are going to continue vanishing from the landscape until, in about 3 years, the only places to buy new CD’s will be big box retailers (until they get tired of using CDs as a loss-leader), and the occasional record store that has enough cache to bill itself as an entertainment center (Amoeba, maybe Waterloo).

Also, labels are not having any problem signing musicians. Furthermore, they are pushing to participate in touring and marketing income, which means that labels are trying to take a piece of an income stream that artists generally keep to themselves.

Comment from etrigan
Time October 1, 2003 at 12:27 pm

In the last 2 years, prices have remained relatively stable but sales have dropped about 35%

A little too close to the hype? How much has the economy faltered in the last 2 years?

the 12-24 demographic that record stores depend on

is also the demographic that is finding the hardest time getting a job.

I say “Musician Emptor”. I know at least one indpendent record label that’s doing better this year than 2-3 years ago. People are going to local shows and buying local CDs. A musician who wants to make a living can do so without the big labels, but a musician who wants to gamble on striking it rich with a big label contract will always have the odds against them.

Comment from BT
Time October 1, 2003 at 1:11 pm

Technically speaking, the economy has not faltered at all over the last 2 years. The job market has stunk ass, but the GDP has grown in that time period. Since the GDP is largely (68%) determined by consumer activity, that means that people buy more stuff now than they bought 2 years ago.

They just are not buying CD’s. And I still contend that prices don’t have much to do with it.

I will grant you that younger people are having a harder time getting a job (although many people in the age group I mentioned cannot legally hold a job anyway). I don’t believe, however, that the job losses for people in that agre group can really explain the drop in CD sales, especially since those same people continue to spend money consistently on other forms of entertainment (movies, concerts), as well as on clothes and eating out.

The fact that they can, and do, get music for free is the single biggest problem the music industry faces.

I agree that some indy labels are doing great. I also know that some indy labels are dying. And I know that many indy label owners view selling to a major as their exit strategy, so they are very cognizant of how the majors are doing, even if they are faring better than the majors.

Comment from cynsmith
Time October 1, 2003 at 5:47 pm

I got music for free when I was in middle and high school by either taping it from the radio or copying it from my friend. Kids have always done this, now they can do if efficiently.

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