Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

It’s a black friday when a Take That album costs a quid

While every day has been black these last few weeks in this country, today is Black Friday across the Atlantic Ocean. The day after Thanksgiving is when Americans hit the shops and malls to avail of special offers, price reductions …

Fri, Nov 26, 2010, 10:44

   

While every day has been black these last few weeks in this country, today is Black Friday across the Atlantic Ocean.

The day after Thanksgiving is when Americans hit the shops and malls to avail of special offers, price reductions and other retail teases.

US record shops will also be making the most of the rush. As was the case back in April with Record Store Day, indie store shoppers will find rarities from U2, Metallica, The Black Keys and many more in the racks today.

But it’s also an opportunity for the bigger online music players to offer deep cuts. Amazon.co.uk has imported the Black Friday wheeze this year and, as part of a campaign ahead of the busy Christmas period, are flogging the current Take That and Susan Boyle CDs at a quid a go.

Of course, such big-ticket loss leaders persuade those who come to snap up the deals to shop for other bargains, such as new-release MP3 albums at very low prices.

Some in the record industry have reacted with horror to the move, claiming that such low prices devalue music.

The problem for the industry, though, is that much of the damage when it comes to devaluing music has been self-inflicted. For instance, a lot of the problems at retail level have been caused by labels happy to make short-term profits through deals with supermarket chains, leading to cheaper prices in Tesco than in the indie shops.

Then there’s the fact that many labels are keener to market blue-chip heritage acts (look at the recent ridiculous palaver over The Beatles being sold on iTunes for the first time) than find and develop new talent.

Of course, catalogue pimping is easier and cheaper than breaking new talent, but it shows a skewered set of perspectives. Yes, we all agree that music has a value, but that’s not just confined to The Beatles.

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