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Smithsonian Folkways uses CD-Rs to fulfill orders for obscure recordings
February 16, 2003 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Smithsonian Folkways shows the way? (NYT link, blah blah) "The major music companies may fret over falling revenue, but one label saw its business jump 33 percent last year — thanks in part to the recordable compact discs that the industry says are hurting its sales." Smithsonian Folkways has been burning CD-Rs for customers ordering some of its obscure titles. Would this work on a larger scale? Why should any recording ever go out of print again?
posted by pmurray63 (5 comments total)

 
Would this work on a larger scale?

We shall see--introducing The Bob Dylan Custom Mix CD
posted by y2karl at 10:38 PM on February 16, 2003


I'm sorry if I jinxed your thread here. I am familiar with how th Library of Congress has been selling their Folkways catalog.
but had no idea they were doing so well. There really is no other way for them to sell except album by album on CDRs, given the relatively obscure and esoteric nature of what they have to offer.

It really is too bad the majors couldn't do this or do as Columbia is doing with Bob Dylan and make mix CDRs--for jazz, country blues and old timey music, for example. I don't know who owns Decca's now, but RCA has tons and tons, as does Decca and Columbia, of 78 masters just sitting in their vaults because there is no money in blues reissues. This would be so ideal a way of selling their back catalogs.

As far as more recent recordings, Dylan, according to Columbia's files, has tons of unreleased studio, let alone live recordings, that haven't even made it to bootleg. It makes you wonder about how many artists for whom this approach could work.
posted by y2karl at 4:22 AM on February 17, 2003


Well, if this approach works with Dylan, then the doors would open for others with his size catalog to consider it (I'd love to see Merle Haggard or Neil Young, to name the first two off the top of my head, consider something like this).

After that, there's the Stax/Volt and Chess back catalogs, and the teeny labels no one's heard of yet...

Sorry, I'm drooling with the possibilities of this.
posted by chicobangs at 8:23 AM on February 17, 2003


This is great news for friends of tradtional music (like myself).

I'm just a bit disappointed with the CD-R's... 19,95 (+shipping to Europe) is a quite price to pay for a CD-R. CD-R's are not here to stay. If they have the patience to burn them 2x we the CD's can be playable for a couple of years, but for decades? Not a chance. Why couldn't they sell the Wav-files (and pdf for covers) straight from the web?

In a couple of years it's going to be legal to share the oldest archive recordings anyway. (Most of the artists have already been dead for decades.) Maybe they are going to put them in the web then???
posted by hoskala at 9:42 AM on February 17, 2003


I'd love to see Merle Haggard

Hell, yes--separate wheat from chaff and add the currently out-of-print.
posted by y2karl at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2003


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