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Consumers gain when Universal slashes prices

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by Valerie Rojas
Assistant Editor

It seems as though all music fans have downloaded at least one song in their lifetime. And who can blame them? With CD prices ranging anywhere from $15 to $20, students would have to be wealthy to be able to afford all the albums they need for their music collection.

Many music fans have decided to forego the conventional mode of obtaining their favorite albums. Instead of sifting through racks of CDs and plopping down $20 for a 10-song album, music lovers are turning to Kazaa, Morpheus, and what used to be Napster. They are sifting through the files of other music lovers who find CD prices ridiculous, and they are collecting all the albums they want without going into debt.

The issue of piracy is one that record labels are very much aware of. It has been the thorn in their side and a hole in their pockets for quite some time.

One record company in particular is doing something to bring piracy to an end.

Universal Music, the world’s largest record label has decided to regain their customer base and attempt to put an end to file sharing.

On Sept. 4, Universal announced that they plan to slash the wholesale price of many of its CDs by as much as 32 percent.

The price cut will affect many big name artists from Shania Twain to Jay-Z. However, the prices of Latin and Classical recordings will not be changed.

The prices of Universal CDs is expected to be reduced from $18.98 to $12.98. Other CDs by artists such as Eminem may be lowered to $10.10.

The price cut is expected to begin Oct. 1 and last through the year-end holidays. The company expects the price decrease to draw consumers in, especially around the holiday season.

Universal is expecting retailers to devote at least 25 percent of their shelf space to the label’s acts, in exchange for the price reductions.

Competing record executives feel that Universal’s decision to drop the prices of CDs may not cut down on piracy at all, but that it may in fact cut down on the amount of profit the retailers and the artists receive.

If music fans do not respond to the price decrease in swarms, Universal may be losing millions of dollars in revenue, which will lead to price increases following the holiday season.

Will music fans respond to the price-cuts?

Universal has said that consumer research has shown that people may be motivated to purchase CDs when the price is dropped to $13.

Although, many music listeners agree that free downloads are always more preferable than any CD price, regardless of a decrease, there are few consumers who would rather do things the honest way.

“I usually wait until CDs go on sale to buy them anyway, so if they drop their prices, I am pretty sure I’d take advantage,” ULV sophomore Mary Manzo said.

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