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 Post subject: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:01 am 
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Here's some thoughts for listeners to ponder when they buy their next $19.99 CD. This is not necessarily a reaction to some comment or criticism, it's just something for you wonderful folks to reflect on.

When we launched the limited edition LP of Red Dawn in 1985, we learned a lot about costs. And in 1988, with our initial limited edition collector's CD of First Blood in our then brand-new "Film Music Treasury" series, we needed to retail the discs at $19.99 in order to cover all of our costs. Thankfully, we managed. Now let us go into fast forward mode.

The following are just some of the costs to us that have increased. I am not referring to the musician fees because thankfully the historic rates have made these albums actually possible now. And I am not counting postage fees as those we factor into our retail shipping rates. Anyway, onwards.

Here's what costs have increased since our first $19.99 CD went out our door: The advances to acquire the license. The royalty rates to the studio. The mechanical licensing fees. (Yes, every time we add another track to an album, not only do we pay a higher rate, but we pay that rate so many more times over, too.) The costs of transferring the original elements. The costs of mixing, editing and mastering the music. The costs of licensing the artwork and stills for the packaging. The costs of manufacturing a disc. The costs of printing a booklet. And - of course - the labor costs at all levels of production and manufacturing and filling of orders and all that overhead stuff. And my point here?

Some 25 years later, we still retail these discs for $19.99

Just something to ponder. Don't fear a price increase or some other yucky development at this time. But maybe, just maybe, be kind of happy that you are seeing these albums come out against such challenging odds. It gets pretty crazy sometimes.
--Doug


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:02 am 
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The infinite pleasure to listen to some of our favorite music in the world. This has no price. We love you for all that. And that doesn't cost much to tell you just that. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:56 am 
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Over at FSM I remember once reading a reply that made no sense then and especially now when reading this and that was: "There is too many labels". Each and every film music label struggle with all those costs and we (at least I appreciate your hard work) because you guys makes our dreams (of having this or that soundtrack) into reality. I guess that that FSM member does not know how lucky he/she is until the film music labels is gone. Hopefully not in many many many years.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:27 am 
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I'm altogether pleased to pay an extra premium, and one which hasn't increased in decades, for music that I consider a "specialty" in all the best ways.

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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:10 am 
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Location: Middlesex U.K.
Soundtrack CD's are expensive, but they cost what they cost. It's the price we pay for liking unpopular music & not being part of the crowd. I have to add in the p&p to Europe, which unfortunately puts paid to the casual purchase, but if it's something I want I'm happy to pay, & grateful to the record company for releasing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:13 pm 
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crwdfwtx wrote:
I'm altogether pleased to pay an extra premium, and one which hasn't increased in decades, for music that I consider a "specialty" in all the best ways.

Agreed. I'm happy to pay more if it means this great stuff keeps coming at high quality and on compact disc.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Indeed, just keeping up with inflation, something that cost $19.95 in 1985 should cost $43.36 today!

Granted, it's not as simple as that. And there is only so much that the market will bear. Still, I am amazed that a gallon of gas now costs three times what it cost in 1985, but a CD costs the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:42 pm 
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SchiffyM wrote:
Still, I am amazed that a gallon of gas now costs three times what it cost in 1985, but a CD costs the same.

If only a pressed CD could double as an alternative fuel source to fill a tank. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:19 pm 
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There's a few things to consider though. First off, it costs far less to physcially make a CD now (at least as far as everything I've read).

But more importantly there's a thing called 'perceived value'. Despite inflation, $20 today still in most people's mind still is worth a similar amount as it was 20 years ago (despite it being more like $32.37 now).
A lot of factors go into why $20 is the current 'sweet spot' for pricing. Consider a few things, for instance the sheer amount of CDs already EXISTING and thus any new disc has to compete with older ones so in a sense every time a new disc is bought they all are slightly devalued. There's also far more choices in media and just in general for 'spending money' to go toward. And hell on top of that, consider soundtracks specifically almost seem ridiculous in value (to some people) when you're paying more for 'just the music' than the whole movie. And I'm sure I'm missing others.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:32 pm 
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TerraEpon, everything you're saying about "perceived value" is absolutely true. (As far as the cost to actually make the CD, I believe that that's been the least expensive part of CD production for decades.) But producers don't live in a perceived world; they live in this one, where inflation is very much real.

Yes, of course, they'd be foolish businessmen to charge more than people will pay. But I do think it's something of a miracle that CDs still cost what they cost decades ago. I may perceive that a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke should still cost the 99¢ that I paid for it in 1990, but it still costs $2.49 or more on the store shelves.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:43 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, California
I remember reading stuff from a guy on the old FILMUS-L list who would assess what the price of a new CD should be based on what he personally would consider paying for it. For example, he might have replied to an announcement of Intrada's "Hocus Pocus" CD by saying that in the first place he didn't like Bette Midler so that should mean a five dollar discount for having to look at her on the cover art, unless an alternate is supplied in which case he would consider waiving that. Second, the film is a silly Disney kids' movie about witches - a ridiculous concept for a film if he ever heard one - and that should be at least another sawbuck off the asking price. This clown would then conclude that $10 was the most he would consider paying for this - if he liked it, but as he has no familiarity with it, he should get a couple more bucks knocked off to entice him into trying it out.

He did this for years and seemed quite serious about it. I'd hate to think others who suffered from the same entitlement delusion were wandering about in these parts. Of course, there's the guy who posts over on FSM who says that because he buys maybe a couple CDs a month from Lalaland, he basically pays their salary (takes a special kind of math to work that out!) and is therefore entitled to dictate which cover art they should be using, which font for the track titles, and whatnot. God, there are times when I really hate the internet. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:49 am 
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Stupid people happen everywhere... not only on the internet... :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:42 am 
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Location: Chicago, IL
Anakin McFly wrote:
Stupid people happen everywhere... not only on the internet... :mrgreen:


They've just proliferated on the Internet.

When BSX released their rerecorded Goldsmith Rarities CD, an old friend of mine grabbed it because he had been hot to get SEVEN DAYS IN MAY for decades. (Between the two of us I'm the one who's a Jerry Goldsmith completist; yet I chose to hold off on that album in case the SEVEN DAYS original tracks might still come out someday. [Thanks, Doug!])

However, the relevant point is that after receiving the disc, this friend was slightly disappointed with it. But he also asked me why "Intrada and these other labels" were still charging us $20 apiece for these releases, since the BSX cost only $14.99. At my second question to him -- "How elaborate is their booklet?" -- he fell silent before replying, "Okay ... you have a point."

I've always appreciated the frequently well-researched booklet notes provided with most of these limited-release soundtracks, which often give us information about music, composers, and/or the production of (often obscure) films which most of us never could have discovered any other way. But my involvement with a film book a few years ago left me shocked at learning that studios now charge fees for publication of movie stills.

After reminding my friend of just the value of these elaborate booklets -- which have to be researched, written, laid out, produced, and assembled -- there was also the consideration that these limited editions seemed to be priced slightly high back in the late 1980s at $19.99. Yet all these years later, Intrada (the most prolific and outstanding of all these labels) has not only issued most of their inventory at the same basic price but have periodically tossed in a "free" second disc. (And how many discs come in their package of THE GREAT ESCAPE?)

Blow that horn of yours once in a while, Doug. You've more than earned it through your track record, and you deserve for us to be a more consistently grateful customer base. Thanks -- since I for one might not have said that lately. (But even after this long and in this economy, I still try to keep up with the decent share of your releases which I want!)


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:52 am 
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Steven Lloyd wrote:
Anakin McFly wrote:
Stupid people happen everywhere... not only on the internet... :mrgreen:


They've just proliferated on the Internet.

When BSX released their rerecorded Goldsmith Rarities CD, an old friend of mine grabbed it because he had been hot to get SEVEN DAYS IN MAY for decades. (Between the two of us I'm the one who's a Jerry Goldsmith completist; yet I chose to hold off on that album in case the SEVEN DAYS original tracks might still come out someday. [Thanks, Doug!])

However, the relevant point is that after receiving the disc, this friend was slightly disappointed with it. But he also asked me why "Intrada and these other labels" were still charging us $20 apiece for these releases, since the BSX cost only $14.99. At my second question to him -- "How elaborate is their booklet?" -- he fell silent before replying, "Okay ... you have a point."

I've always appreciated the frequently well-researched booklet notes provided with most of these limited-release soundtracks, which often give us information about music, composers, and/or the production of (often obscure) films which most of us never could have discovered any other way. But my involvement with a film book a few years ago left me shocked at learning that studios now charge fees for publication of movie stills.

After reminding my friend of just the value of these elaborate booklets -- which have to be researched, written, laid out, produced, and assembled -- there was also the consideration that these limited editions seemed to be priced slightly high back in the late 1980s at $19.99. Yet all these years later, Intrada (the most prolific and outstanding of all these labels) has not only issued most of their inventory at the same basic price but have periodically tossed in a "free" second disc. (And how many discs come in their package of THE GREAT ESCAPE?)

Blow that horn of yours once in a while, Doug. You've more than earned it through your track record, and you deserve for us to be a more consistently grateful customer base. Thanks -- since I for one might not have said that lately. (But even after this long and in this economy, I still try to keep up with the decent share of your releases which I want!)


And the booklet isn't really that expensive relatively speaking. The real difference between the two 7 Days in May are in the licensing costs to Warner Bros, transfer costs, and AFM new use fees. So we need to cover those costs, plus rent, salaries, etc. It is amazing to me that we can still charge $19.99 (all those other costs have gone up over the years), but we know the market limits. And we do try to make some money, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundtrack Production Costs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:02 am 
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I know I don't speak for the majority here, but I personally wouldn't have any problem with having to start paying $25 for new releases. $30 for 2-disc sets shouldn't change, though.


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