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It is a time of great transition, and I need to get some feedback as to what you, our collectors and audience, want to have happen vs. what you don't.
 
We are seriously considering "cutting off" many of our titles at fewer than the allotted 3,000 units—posting a list saying we have 240 or some title, there are only going to be 2,000 manufactured, and that's the end of it. Although many of our titles are licensed for 3,000, we do not make all 3,000 up front, and we cannot afford to add additional inventory for many of the slow sellers.
 
In addition, itunes is going to start happening for the limited edition CDs you buy from us and other labels. We always knew this would happen: the studios granted physical CD rights to us and other labels so that we would restore their masters, and they could sell them later on itunes. (The good news is that at least if a title sells out, it's not like the only way to hear the music is on ebay.) Hopefully, this will take a bite out of piracy.
 
It's a wacky, stressful time where the market is contracting and unfortunately the labels are trying to compensate by grabbing a larger market share by releasing more titles—which makes the collectors more stressed, not less.
 
Something's gotta give. Please tell me what you think. I have my own ideas for how things should happen going forward, but I'm not sure everybody will like them.
 
Lukas
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Mr. Kendall, thanks for your candour, and for soliciting our feedback.

For whatever reason, it seems like FSM seems to come out on the short end of the stick. Titles rarely sell out, and (per the 3000 limit run) collectors seem to generally place them at the back of their list in order to keep their Intrada collections complete, and to purchase other more limited items.

It also seems to be that older titles don't sell nearly as well. I think you're totally justified in cutting off slow sellers and getting rid of your existing stock. Hopefully at that point, you could start over. One idea I thought of involved locking down certain titles and then consulting the purchasing public on what we'd like to see released. Not sure how feasible that is though.

A combination of both seems like a good compromise. 2000 or 1500 physical CDs and a digital download released concurrently.

And if physical CD sales trail off to a point where it will obviously never sell out, announce that once your current stock is depleted no more will be manufactured.

Not only would it cut down on manufacturing expenses and unsold stock sitting around for years, it'd curb certain people from carping about prices and shipping. Downloading would be less expensive, and shipping wouldn't be a factor.

In the case of a box set, like the TNG box, you could even ship people a data disc with the files on it since downloading would be a nightmare.

And people will probably hate me for suggesting this, but if FSM reduces the number of physical CDs it's producing, I see no reason why the price shouldn't kick up five bucks. At that point, it becomes a very limited edition.

At the end of the day, Lukas - whatever approach keeps you in business I support wholeheartedly.

How about this: announce a title, then take pre-orders. Base the unit run on how many pre-orders (or "commitments" from fans of the music?) you get, so a 750 unit pre-order might bid a 1000 unit number (extra to be on the safe side or whatnot).

Sideshow Collectibles does this for their big items. Just an idea - don`t know how feasable this may be for score work.

As a side note, I still desperately want the Assassin`s Creed scores, but I also still hate download-only acquisitions. I am also VERY leery of proprietary mp3 formats etc., media that has restrictions built in as to when and where you can play them. Keep such simple.


As for piracy, most pirates will never buy. They just won`t; some people are like that. Thwarting them seems to be a null venture to me.

I think you must do what is best for your business. I, for one, have never put off buying an FSM title. I appreciate them all...most especially the Golden Age titles.

I think pressing fewer than 3,000 titles is an excellent way to go as it seems you can offer virtually any title and, after whatever period of time you select, announce it as out of stock.

I am not a fan of iTunes downloads, but if it's coming, then so be it. I have plenty of CDs to listen to for the rest of my life...but there is always "just one more" score I look forward to getting my hands on. Hope those kinds of scores still keep coming from FSM.

Ron Pulliam

Is there any mention from the studios going to Itunes that they are going to offer it in any format other than the usual lossy audio on Itunes? I like this idea because it would leave the music available once the CDs sell out but I would hate to see a huge section of the market left with lossy audio only.

FSM has always been generous when it comes to limitation and perhaps a more competitive strategy is warranted.

I'm sure there are still enough non-itunes collectors out there, but with the tsunami of releases we have to make choices. And having a title limited at 3000 or more, means we have to go for the 1000, 1200, ... cd's first.

How about this: announce a title, then take pre-orders. Base the unit run on how many pre-orders (or "commitments" from fans of the music?) you get, so a 750 unit pre-order might bid a 1000 unit number (extra to be on the safe side or whatnot).

If I didn't think fans would go insane waiting for their CDs, that's a very good idea.

How about this: announce a title, then take pre-orders.

A subscription !!! This is a wonderful idea : people could finance titles they are really interested in ! Let's take part in it !!!

Lukas,
Thank you for soliciting our feedback. From my perspective, yes, there are too many CDs being released by all the specialty labels at the moment. It's been wonderful on the one hand to get so many scores that I'd never dared hope would be released / expanded, but the pace of releases is such that I can only just afford to buy what I know I'll like. In earlier years, I'd often experiment with scores and artists that I was unfamiliar with, but given the sheer volume of "must haves" releases for me, I've almost entirely cut out these trial buys.

I also worry about the long-term longevity of the labels. There are only so many big holy grail releases that generate a lot of revenue for you guys and it seems like they're all coming out within a few years of one another - it wouldn't hurt to space them out more. It would also help to return the soundtrack hobby back towards appreciating music and away from collecting bottlecaps like crazy.

If you want to continue releasing CDs at the same pace, one suggestion would be to mix in premier CD releases with re-releases of popular OOP titles, as La la land and Intrada have done. This would have the benefit of generating some immediate revenue for you as well as allowing fans to get those hard to find titles without resorting to eBay scalpers.

As for the CDs vs. digital downloads issue, I am very firmly in favor of CD releases, and will continue to preferentially support FSM, Intrada, La la land, Kritzerland and all the other labels that release scores on physical media over other distributors that release digital downloads.

I am incredibly grateful to all of the labels for their hard work and support over the past few years and I really appreciate your openness in soliciting our feedback.

All the best,

Chris.

Why not do what Warner Archives and others are doing for DVD orders? Offer a hard copy CDR of a score on an order by order basis. Or the option to choose download over hard copy.

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