Thursday, September 04, 2003

Back to the way things were?

I was very pleased to read that Universal is lowering the prices of their CDs. Wholesale prices for their CDs are dropping from $12 to $9. This means that retailers can order the discs for less, and hopefully will pass that savings on to consumers. Supposedly, Universal is pushing for a $12.98 retail cap.

I remember when the Circuit City stores around Atlanta started carrying music in the early 1990s — all of the CDs they sold were priced at $11.99 and under. Best Buy arrived on the scene soon after, and their policy was the same. Nothing was priced over $11.99 (except stuff like imports or double-disc sets, of course). That meant that when something was on sale, it was usually under $10. It was wonderful. I bought a lot more CDs back then.

Then some of the other stores started to complain. Supposedly, they couldn't compete with such low prices and they were losing money. They filed a big lawsuit, and eventually, CD prices rose at stores like Best Buy and Circuit City.

Now CDs retail at the ridiculous price of $18.98, and we're lucky to find them on sale for $12. And everyone's downloading music for free. I wonder why?

Hopefully, Universal's move will set a precedent for the other record companies to lower the prices of their music as well. If that happens, we could see a return to the way things were 10 years ago. It won't put a stop to downloading, but it would likely kickstart retail sales again.

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