Recession busters, and other forms of whistling in the dark
So as you may have heard, last week McCray Dove announced that the Dove Brothers were cutting the price of their product to $10 a piece. According to the press release, the move is a response to the economic crisis:
[T]he Dove Brothers have decided that until our nation is over this recession and the economy is back on its feet that all of our cds and dvds here on our web store and at our product table at a concert near you can be purchase for ten dollars each.
Certainly you can’t say this decision was made with the bottom line in mind! (I guess this could be seen to make bidness sense viewed as an effort to get more music in the hands of more people. Presumably, the more people who own your music, the more likely they are to become repeat customers. Presumably.)
But I confess, this whole “helping the nation during tough times” feels a wee titch gimmicky to me. I mean, just two years ago Dove announced that - lo! - he was hiking CD prices to $23 per, and actively solicited other groups to do the same. Hard to imagine that that move is paying off for him, and so now he’s overcorrecting in the other direction with the sg equivalent of the “recession buster” lunch special that’s been running at the Applebees down the street from me most of the summer.
Make what you will of this as a bidness decision. But it’s pretty much guaranteed to annoy many of Dove’s peers (not that I have any reason to think this matters to him in the least). I mean, imagine if you’re, say, GV, L5, BB or the Hoppers. In each of those cases, you’ve just dumped a lot of cash into a Lari Goss recording, which means it will take you a lot longer to recoup on the project, even at regular CD prices of $15-$20. And along comes Dove and undercuts you by $5-$10 per unit, and immediately fans start praising him for giving the industry a much-needed jolt. There might be some satisfaction in telling yourself you’ve put out a Lari Goss album of superior quality to DBQ’s stuff, but among sg consumers, “quality” production has never been a reliable way to move product.
Mind you, I know of no law that says sg is immune from price wars, but unless Dove starts moving more than twice the product he was selling before the price cut, or starts producing projects that cost substantially less (both unlikely in the long run), it’s hard to see how this will be a financially sustainable move. Then again, that’s what I thought about the price hike a few years ago, and I assume this latest move will work just about as well, until Dove decides the economy has turned around sufficiently and re-reprices his product.
But really, the issue here isn’t what the next “bold move” from DBQ’s pricing department will be. Rather, it’s that all this to-ing and froing about CD pricing ignores the underlying problem that no one really seems to be grappling with: namely, that selling CDs is rapidly becoming pretty much the best way to go broke in the music business. Just because your CDs might be making a joyful noise for the Lord doesn’t mean you too can’t go broke selling them - whether they’re produced by Lari Goss or now available at a new, reduced, recession-friendly price.Email this Post