AD Music CD prices and downloads.

AD Music would like to post the following statement in response to several recent posts about CD prices and downloads on the em forum.

The price for 2 newly released CDs direct from the  instrumental music label AD Music website at £11.39 each ($18.52 at todays rate) is £22.78/$37.04 plus order postage to the USA of £4.25/$6.91 and that equates to £27.03/$43.95. As has already been stated, perceived increased prices for USA customers are caused by postage rates for small orders and the US dollar rate, plus the fact that CDs have traditionally been less expensive in the USA, not because we have hiked up our prices! As a matter of record, way back in 1995 AD Music CDs were priced at £10.49 ($16.20 at 1995 rates) and we do not consider the increase over 15 years to be excessive. It does seem odd that the value of the music is perceived as so much less now than it was then.

However, at that time, with wider USA distribution, AD Music CDs were available in the USA through some outlets at a lower price more in line with the traditionally lower USA consumer CD pricing. But AD Music only received between £0.50 and £1.50 gross profit on a CD sold in the USA under those prices, making it very difficult to sustain! That distribution is no longer available (although we hope to have a new USA deal in place next year) and so we can only sell new CDs from our website at one global price and that is a price set to enable AD Music to survive as an independent label in the current global market and produce the music we do – it’s as simple and as brutal as that!

AD Music provides free postage worldwide on orders over £24 and various offers and discounts to its fan base in an attempt to redress the balance, eg 6 pack for £10 and reductions when ordering numerous titles, and it does have many titles at lower prices, some as low as £2.49 and we find that many, many customers take advantage of this by ensuring their orders are over £24. In the last month, a free 135 minute download or the equivalent double CDr at £5.99 was offered for pre-orders of Sines of Life Volume 1, which, as a point of interest, when added to, for example, the aforementioned 2 CD order, would give a USA customer free shipping and a total order cost for 2 CDs and a double CDr of $46.77 (£28.77).

AD Music would love to be in a position to offer ALL fans worldwide ALL its CD product at a lower price, but it just isn’t financially possible if we’re to survive – it’s why we’re embracing MP3 downloads (and offer free MP3 downloads) and that is now ensuring our survival – check out just how many independent labels are actually left in the em genre producing constant CD runs, particularly for NEW artists?! The sustainable em CD market isn’t there any more aside for a few established acts and even for them, sales are drastically down, and that can’t be blamed solely on CD prices, but also on the internet, downloads, blatant piracy (FACT – 90% of internet downloads are illegal) and a society that now wants something for nothing and it would appear no longer considers the music of any real value.

AD Music titles are available from other sources, and can be obtained at similar and perhaps even marginally lower prices in Europe and the UK through our distributors and the usual suspects em mail order outlets, but shipping to the USA will still probably involve having postage added. However, there are still mail order outlets in the USA – Eurock and Lloyd Barde spring to mind and they have access to our catalogue. And as we said, we’re currently looking at several new USA distribution options. Distribution and selling music globally is too complicated to go into here, and the problems facing both independent labels like AD Music and the many excellent single artist labels around now, are quite daunting as they try to get their music, CDs in particular, out to a global market.

We’re producing genre specific electronic music that’s below the radar for most of the music listening world and the associated music media (even allowing for the internet), and that makes what we do hard! But however much we discuss prices, there is the fundamental problem of differences in the basic cost of CDs from country to country and fluctuating exchange rates. Fans in other countries will understandably only relate to the price that they would normally pay for a similar home grown product.

However, years ago, didn’t fans around the world buy into this music because it was an artistic underground genre? Didn’t they buy into the creativity of the music? Perhaps all we can do is remind fans everywhere that electronic music is a genre, and a small genre at that now! Don’t be mislead by the perception that ALL music can be readily available on the cheap. Factory churned out “pop” music and indeed much of the classic rock from the past 40 years is massed produced with a huge industry behind it. What we do is art on a cottage industry level by comparison and it simply can’t be viewed in the same way. Perhaps that’s the problem, perhaps people are blinded by this now? They see the cheaper music on the internet and in supermarkets, believing that em music should be the same, perhaps having forgotten the roots of what the music was all about in the first place and why they originally bought into it. Electronic music isn’t and can’t be treated like pop music unless it ceases to become a genre and becomes instead what many fans hate – a commercial, popular, watered down music culture for the masses.

Clearly, we DO understand that customers need to get the best deal, and why shouldn’t they get the best deal? But conversely, if a lot of emotion, time, effort and money goes into producing something – i.e. this “art” we call our music – then is it so unfair to expect to receive a fair reward for it? Is it so unreasonable for the musicians who invest so much of themselves to create their music, and the few independent labels left who do their best to get it to you, to expect the opportunity to break even at the end of each year or perhaps (shock, horror) actually even make a small profit to actually invest in concerts and new music? Is this music now really of so little value?

While it’s clear that many people understand and support independent labels and artists (that’s obvious from the many posts on this forum), there are, sadly, many more that do not. And that is probably because they have no idea whatsoever what is involved in producing music, whether CD or download, no idea of the complex issues, networks and unseen costs involved, or basically just how difficult it is to survive in the music industry today, either as a musician or as a label.

Okay….. we can’t argue with the; “Why should I care? I just want to buy a CD”, response. There is no response to that. As musicians, as an independent label, all we can do is what we’ve done here; that is to try and educate people about the financial realities of producing and selling music globally, and of the very real possibility of the eventual demise of the genre if artists and labels no longer see the point in investing their time, their emotion and their finances to get the music out there, if they’re just going to get ripped off by a global market that has such little respect for them and their art/music that it doesn’t want to pay for the music at all, or considers it such a cheap commodity that it’s just not worth producing in the first place. Just think about what the genre will be left with!

To those who do show us support by purchasing the music legally from whatever source is best for them, and we gladly say to everyone, shop around for the best deal, we offer our thanks for that support and the promise of our continued efforts to seek ways of maintaining the balance and seeking the best prices for everyone in the future both for download and for CD.

AD Music 12/12/2009

~ by admusic on December 12, 2009.

2 Responses to “AD Music CD prices and downloads.”

  1. Exactly! Or maybe we should all compose our music or maintain our labels whist working at a loss, thus not being able to pay utility bills, which in turn means we have no electricity to run a business or power our equipment, which therefore means no more music at all!

    (End of rant, lol!)

  2. we are lucky that we found ADmusic late ’85 and as well as always being produced to an extremely high standard the cost of cd/downloads is in our opinion staggerlying value for money, indeed we would pay more if asked…

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