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The Pricing of Classical Music.

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Feb 2014 13:37:18 GMT
Bruce says:
In the thread on Box Sets it struck me that as we move into new methods of playback, the question is how much are your prepared to pay for your music ?

So in the days when CD was the only option, I would think that under £10 was a "budget" disc that was probably a re-issue or it was from a label that tried to produce cheaper products - whereas if it was just over £10 then it was a full-price, premium-quality product.

But now when we have more options - what do you pay? This was brought home by my purchase of Bruckner: Symphonies 4 7 8 [Kent Nagano, Bavarian State Orchestra] [Farao: A108076] [DVD AUDIO] - so on Blu Ray in higher resolution and with the possibility of surround sound. this was actually cheaper then buying the same thing on CD!

I have also seen cases on Amazon where the CD was cheaper than an MP3 download! Nowadays it seems pricing of classical music is all over the place - with no fixed idea of "full-price" or budget and even what makes up an individual purchase. So when you can get as much as 4 hours of high resolution music on one Blu Ray disc - why should you pay £15 or more for a single CD?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 14:06:58 GMT
Mondoro says:
On Amazon download prices, this seems to be a fixed amount (usually £7.45) on all downloads of new and newish issues, with only a few exceptions. I suspect the implications of this for Naxos sales hasn't really registered yet, especially as some Naxos CDs are anyway cheaper when they are bought direct from Naxos UK.

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 14:13:16 GMT
mancheeros says:
I have to pay top price for new CDs because of the CM I listen to - early and avant-garde. In many instances a cheaper download is not available and, anyway, I prefer the sound quality and the tactile thing of CDs and their packaging. Early music releases tend to go out of print quite quickly and then end up on the second-hand market at ridiculously high prices. If it's a 'big' label like Hyperion, there's a chance that a particular release might get a budget reissue, but you have to wait several years for that to happen. In other words, I'm at the mercy of record labels and their pricing decisions.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 14:15:53 GMT
Bruce says:
Yes - I have seen the ridiculous situation of the CD being cheaper than the standard download price - when you get the download included for free if you buy the CD! Who's silly enough to buy that download!?

I think the thing is that retailers don't know how to price classical music now - and I see huge anomalies across Amazon's stock. For pop music you can charge people 99p a track - but a piece of classical music could be one long track lasting the whole album or it could be dozens of short pieces that nobody would buy individually.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 14:25:50 GMT
mancheeros says:
The 'long track' syndrome also exists in rock, electronica and jazz, etc. If the track is deemed 'long' by the retailer then you can only have that track if you buy the entire album.

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 14:34:41 GMT
Bruce says:
That's true although though those are mostly going to be re-issues of old material! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 14:56:29 GMT
mancheeros says:
But most material is old material...

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 16:36:19 GMT
Bruce says:
I mostly look for new releases when buying classical - something I haven't heard before.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 18:53:01 GMT
Nick says:
like Bruckner.....?

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 22:05:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2014 22:07:27 GMT
Bruce says:
Not in surround sound with the acoustic of a cathedral!

I said new releases - not necessarily new repertoire - but I also liked the Rattle version of the finished 9th - I had never heard that final movement before I got that CD.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 14:44:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2014 15:53:46 GMT
mancheeros says:
I get the impression that pricing is linked to quantity - i.e. CDs that are released in smaller quantities (almost always non-mainstream music usually on small labels) are more expensive to buy. The record label hopes to at least break even - even though they sell relatively few CDs - and the listener is supposed to feel special because they possess something that not many other people possess.

EDIT: I've never managed to find out the economics of recording, packaging, advertising and distributing CDs. Presumably it's an industry secret. I remember hearing a rep from Hyperion on the radio bleating on about how expensive it was to hire recording venues, pay performers, translate texts into various languages, obtain rights to use photos for booklets, etc, etc. I got the feeling he was attempting to justify Hyperion's high prices.

Posted on 4 Feb 2014 15:15:15 GMT
I have bought DVDs that were just as expensive as blu-rays because I don't have a BR player. Sometimes I think I even paid more for my DVD than a blu-ray would have cost me. It feels strange buying an inferior format for a high price.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 16:45:11 GMT
Bruce says:
I think that's because Blu Ray has now become mainstream and they produce more of them. If you buy big TVs now, they often give away a Blu Ray player as part of the deal and they are included in games consoles like PlayStation 3/4 etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 19:52:19 GMT

Yes, I'm sure you are right - at some point upgrading will come naturally to me. But then we all know what happens... A new format comes along! :)
Provided that there will be a format and not just streaming.

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 18:29:04 GMT
Pricing is weird when it comes to box sets vs. "singles":

Haydn: The Complete Symphonies This box contains all of Haydn's symphonies in fine recordings on 37 CDs and I paid about 20 punds for it.

Then look what one CD is selling for from another performer:
Birth of the Symphony | Handel to Haydn [Richard Egarr] [AAM001]
About 10 punds.
So for another 10 punds you get 37 cds vs. that one disc... strange...

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2014 09:53:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Feb 2014 09:57:21 GMT
Bruce says:
Well it's always been the case that a new release will start off at full price (so that single disc has a release date of Oct 13) but then re-released material is hard to give away!

I also think that Amazon are probably skewing things - so their Marketing department probably think they can sell big box sets more easily - so they buy up a load in bulk and then are able to discount and push their suppliers for lower prices. Whereas with single discs there is no margin to do this.

Posted on 6 Feb 2014 12:02:49 GMT
JayJayDee says:
I hope never to pay £7.49 for an Amazon download at 224 kbp/s. Dreadfully poor value.

I used to send orders to MDT/UK from O/seas and inwardly gloat that I could get a £14 premium disc VAT free. It more than covered the postage cost.
Now the most I pay is circa £3 for premium price BIS (downloads) at CD quality (or better than CD quality for a fiver) and a fiver again for the equivalent at Chandos website. The last full price single discs I bought were specialist stuff (like others have mentioned here) ... the ones that will be deleted if you don't pay up the ransome.
Hence I forked out for Nordgren on Alba.
We are spoilt these days for mainstream repertoire, and I suspect that's why many of us duplicate inordinately.
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Participants:  6
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  3 Feb 2014
Latest post:  6 Feb 2014

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