Tommy Lee Jones spoke to me in a dream and told me not to buy this CD

Universal's price cuts universally laughed at

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Letters re: Universal's CD price cut comedy gets five stars

Reg readers are apparently more in tune with the current state of CD prices than the mainstream media. Unlike those outlets that gave Universal a nice pat on the back for some price cuts, actual consumers sense something is not quite right about the situation. Universal appears to be doing too little, too late for many of you.

Essentially a CD is a CD is a CD. Which ever way you look at it and no matter what you put on it, it is still a circular piece of plastic with words or a picture on one side and shiny on the other.

We are still being asked to part with $10 for the same piece of shiny plastic that AOL sends you in the mail for free. Why, because a CD costs pennies to make.

The professional music pirate (and by this I mean the person who makes knock off CDs by the thousand, so good you can not tell the difference between theirs and the real thing) worked this out a long time ago and that is why they have been flooding the CD market with knock off copies for years. That is why some estimates recon that 2 out of every 5 CDs sold are illegal.

Now let's do some maths. 40% of their revenue is being hijacked by organised crime and professional pirates. The RIAA recons that revenues from album sales has dropped 15% in the last year and best of all, this is due to teenagers downloading the odd track off the net.

It is so obvious that knocking $2 of the price of a CD is going to make us stop downloading or buying the cut price knock offs. Better still, two WHOLE dollars is going to make those professional pirates pack up shop and give it in before they all go broke from such fierce competition.

Sorry, I just fell off my chair laughing

Paul C. Hartley

In South Africa we buy our music in ZA Rands and the current exchange rate is about ZAR 7,50 per $1.00. That said, of course, the major labels all have a local subsidiary here.

BUT, we are expected to pay R130.00 to R200.00 for a CD which may be manufactured locally or imported – you never know which. On the exchange rate this price should be about R75.00 but in buying power about R25.00.

The thing that amazes me is not that so much file swapping goes on – but that people actually spend any money at all.

So, next time you USA guys get upset about costs over there, understand that the reason for our outrage in the rest of the world is reflected above. I would love to compare our experience with Russia, Thailand etc


Jean Barnard

Well put sir! You hit the nail on the head alright. When I heard the story last week about the price cut I thought to myself "about time too".

I don't listen to downloaded music from any source, legal or illegal (I'm one of those sad audiophiles who's not keen on the quality loss of mp3 et al), but I also haven't seriously bought new CDs for several years now, quite simply because:

a) they're way too expensive, and
b) the industry simply doesn't really put out much of anything I like any more

That's not illegal file trading hitting the industry, that's true
capitalism. Produce overpriced crap, and less people will want to buy it.

David Cornes
Oxford, UK

RIAA: Who are the Pirates?

It seems to me that every few days there is yet another article on the web about the recording companies attempts to bring rampant pirates to justice. I think the RIAA's idea of justice might be a little one sided and a double standard. Fact is, the recording companies have been flying the Jolly Roger since day one. They have been perpetrating an injustice on all consumers of their products for decades and I see no indication they are going to correct it.

There is a scene in the original movie "Men in Black" where Tommy Lee Jones and Will smith are at the alien receiving center, in the alien technologies room. Tommy Lee Jones is showing Will Smith these new technologies and he picks up what looks like a one inch in diameter CDROM for playing music and says "I guess I'll have to buy the Beatles White Album again".

Using this example, why is Tommy Lee Jones saying "I guess I'll have to buy the Beatles White Album again" ? He obviously already owns it, the word "again" indicates that. What he is really saying is "I already have a full license to listen to and enjoy the music that is on the Beatles White Album that I now have on CD. But things being what they are with the greedy, pirate recording companies, in order to get the Beatles White Album on this new one inch disk medium, I'll have to buy another license as well. Come to think of it, being as old as I am, I paid for a full licence for the original 12" vinyl LP, the Eight Track Tape, the cassette and the CD. No, wait ! I just remembered. I bought the eight track twice and the cassette three times.

We have to get out of the mind set that we are buying disks or tapes. We are purchasing licenses. The physical media that it is on is just a way of conveying it to you the purchaser. When you purchase dowloadable music online, you never see a cdrom because it is conveyed to you the purchaser by electronic media. Even Microsoft doesn't make you buy a new license for windows because of unusable media. They are only interested in COA's and Product Keys. The recording companies like it just fine that we buy the same licenses over and over again. They are absolute zealots at trying to stop us from making backups of the media we purchase on flimsy, unprotected, easily damaged disks but have never once offered a remedy for the reason we need to make backups.

Zeek Greko


I have just come across your article and was shocked by what I read. I am afraid that your article is very unfair to the music industry. Such sarcasm! I mean, if the prices come down how are all those undeserving pop stars and executives going to afford those personal jets and lavish lifestyles? (Oh, and the drugs without mugging old ladies.)

Just think, they might have to start turning out quality music day after day for the same sort of wage the ordinary hard-working Jo gets. Wot, no talent? Go bust then - now that wouldn't do, would it?

I await your full retraction and sincerest apology in the post.


Mike (England)

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