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This is a comments thread about Blog Post: Seriously, Are There Too Many CDs? by Lukas Kendall
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   darklordsauron   (Member)

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.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:43 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

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.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:45 PM   
 By:   Warlok   (Member)

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.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

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

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

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.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

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.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

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.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:54 PM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

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 !!!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:57 PM   
 By:   Chris Avis   (Member)

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.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 3:57 PM   
 By:   Charles Thaxton   (Member)

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.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Also, perhaps do some special offers à la La La Land, where you get a discount on one cd for buying the other. And perhaps even give a free month (or limited time) access to the magazine with a purchase of a fsm cd?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:11 PM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)

I like it the way things are - yes it's stressful - but it just helps us music-lovers prioritize. I gauge each release and decide whether or not it's a 'must-have'. I like the idea of buying the occasional title on Itunes - as long as the option is there to have 'packaging' as well (mail-ordered, etc.) There are too many truly wonderful releases (along with a lot of drek) to not have the higher-profile, truly classic items not available in a more deluxe format of some kind. I will continue working hard to buy THOSE releases. Methoughts.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:12 PM   
 By:   Mark Ford   (Member)

I know the download writing is on the wall so I guess we must start getting ourselves ready to appreciate the reality of it all. I'm guessing that as time goes by the CD numbers will eventually dwindle until downloads take over almost completely. Who knows though, physical media may still be around to fill an ultra-niche spot for a while longer...that is until enough of us guys die off.

Two questions about offering downloads in addition to CD releases:

1) Will all downloads be iTunes only or will other outlets such as Amazon be available. I'm a long time Apple hater and refuse to give them my money except when absolutely necessary. Also buying from Amazon or some other online only vendor besides iTunes means I don't have to pay local and state taxes.

2) Will there be options for lossless downloads for the releases or at least higher bit rates than the usual iTunes downloads? If I can get high quality digital copies for considerably less money than a CD then I'd perhaps consider buying them more often, especially since I burn all of my downloads to CDs anyway.

I know anything concerning downloads is outside of your influence Lukas, but how the downloads are delivered color my feelings on them as another vehicle for delivering the music so my response to your questions kind of depends. Sorry to be a pain, but you can ignore me if you want! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:18 PM   
 By:   johnc112003   (Member)

Yes of course there are too many CDs being released - so many that I wonder where the labels' revenue is going to come from in coming years even if the CD doesn't die out.

If, the labels and FSM offer their titles digitally why does it have to be through iTunes - could you not just offer the digital download through your site directly cutting out the middle man - surely meaning more money for FSM. I remember buying the 24 - The Game soundtrack directly from the Fox website - no need to go through iTunes.

If you do ever offer your titles digitally could you please have some consideration for us UK soundtrack fans. It annoys me when a title is available on the American version of iTunes but not on the UK version - a BIG issue that needs to be addressed if you are hoping to minimise the impact of the pirates. I would have purchased the Black Hole on iTunes but it was not available in the UK iTunes store when I went to purchase it.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:19 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I think clarity is always good - it's not the labels that will be offering the digital downloads, it's the studios - the labels will get no revenue from it.

Many here will recall my call to arms one year ago, when I saw the glut that was beginning to happen. Finally, everyone is now understanding what I was talking about, and I hope it's not too late. I asked for a summit meeting of the labels a year ago (these posts are all here on the FSM board, and there have been quite a few of them from me over the last year), which no one seemed interested in doing. Well, here we are.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

I think what needs to be done is to do it like "normal" CDs -- announce a title, but DON'T say how many copies it's limited to. Press more when you need to. I think more of the problem is the need to buy 'right now' because it might sell out by tomorrow.
Actually it's really other labels that ought to do this, and it'd probably help FSM even if they (FSM) didn't -- I think THAT is really what FSM's sales are slow, the other labels are releasing all these 1000 and 1200 edition discs, that everyone is buying all those. If EVERYONE released, say, 2500 discs (even if they actually don't press that many for quite a while) I think sales would be more even across the board, less people would pay too much for OOP stuff, and more titles would be allowed to be in the catalog for longer.

But I'm not an economist.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:25 PM   
 By:   johnc112003   (Member)

Yes of course there are too many CDs being released - so many that I wonder where the labels' revenue is going to come from in coming years even if the CD doesn't die out.

If, the labels and FSM offer their titles digitally why does it have to be through iTunes - could you not just offer the digital download through your site directly cutting out the middle man - surely meaning more money for FSM. I remember buying the 24 - The Game soundtrack directly from the Fox website - no need to go through iTunes.

If you do ever offer your titles digitally could you please have some consideration for us UK soundtrack fans. It annoys me when a title is available on the American version of iTunes but not on the UK version - a BIG issue that needs to be addressed if you are hoping to minimise the impact of the pirates. I would have purchased the Black Hole on iTunes but it was not available in the UK iTunes store when I went to purchase it.


Okay, if the studios do offer downloads they need to make them available for all fans - regardless of where they live on the planet.

I fear that some titles will only be available for download in the US - and if that happens piracy will be the only option for some to hear some future titles. DVD and Blu rays are released on the same day for some titles in the USA and UK in an effort to minimise piracy. The labels and/or studios will need to ensure something similar happens if they go down the digital road.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:26 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I think what needs to be done is to do it like "normal" CDs -- announce a title, but DON'T say how many copies it's limited to. Press more when you need to. I think more of the problem is the need to buy 'right now' because it might sell out by tomorrow.
Actually it's really other labels that ought to do this, and it'd probably help FSM even if they (FSM) didn't -- I think THAT is really what FSM's sales are slow, the other labels are releasing all these 1000 and 1200 edition discs, that everyone is buying all those. If EVERYONE released, say, 2500 discs (even if they actually don't press that many for quite a while) I think sales would be more even across the board, less people would pay too much for OOP stuff, and more titles would be allowed to be in the catalog for longer.

But I'm not an economist.


No, you're not. The licensing fee, as has been stated here many times, escalates a LOT for 2500 units. And at the escalated price and given the fact that few titles sell 2500 units, the label loses money. At 1000 units, a sellout means there is a small, finite amount of money to be made. And I'm here to tell you that the more these 1000 unit runs DON'T sell out the faster the labels will stop releasing certain titles altogether.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:42 PM   
 By:   propinquity   (Member)

I don't follow baseball, but I think I read something somewhere about stadiums getting wise to the fact that the fewer seats they made available, the more fans clamored to buy a ticket. Making a CD a truly limited edition of 1000 units or less might stimulate sales.

Personally, I don't buy soundtracks from iTunes; I'll buy rock from them, but not soundtracks. Soundtracks, to me, are like books. There's something about the physicality of them. I like having a CD on my shelf. And I like the booklets that come with them. I may be in the minority, but I'd pay more for a special edition if it comes with little extras like that.

By the way, Lukas is to be commended for making the Star Trek III 2-CD set so affordable.

 
 Posted:   Nov 1, 2010 - 4:50 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


What would people think about us converting 3000-unit limited editions into 5000, 8000 or 10000-copy editions?

Lukas

 
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