Labels Banking on CD Extras - Rolling Stone
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Labels Banking on CD Extras

Shania, Foos, Amos albums will feature freebies, not lower prices

This summer, prices as low as $8.98 for CDs by Avril Lavigne,
Ashanti and John Mayer helped rocket those albums to the top of the
charts. But don’t expect to see the discounts on fall blockbusters:
New discs by Santana, Foo Fighters, Shaggy and others will set you
back almost twenty dollars.

Label sources say that because of the industry’s slump — 2002
sales are off almost ten percent — they can’t afford to lower
prices. “We’re not going to put something out at a price where we
think we’ll lose money,” says Jordan Katz, senior vice president of
sales at Arista, which releases Santana’s Shaman for
$18.98 on October 22nd.

Though prices aren’t coming down, labels are trying to give
consumers more for their buck. In September, retailers gathered at
the National Association of Recording Merchandisers convention to
suggest new selling strategies. “We told [labels], ‘Include a DVD
that shows the band backstage and on the tour bus talking about
nothing,'” says Don Van Cleave, president of the Coalition
of Independent Music Stores. “Consumers love that stuff.”

Most of the majors are doing just that. New albums by Shania
Twain, Foo Fighters and Tori Amos will come with limited edition
DVDs. Another tactic will be the reintroduction of singles and
other short-form releases. Adema’s next disc, due out October 22nd,
is a seven-song EP that will sell for $8.98. Stores are also
selling singles by Nelly, Pink and Eminem for four dollars each.
“If you want to get a kid roped into buying music, give him a
five-dollar entry point,” says Van Cleave. “Right now, we’re
telling kids, ‘Either spend eighteen dollars or go get it online
for free.'”

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