Friday, June 27, 2008

Every man has his price

... and I seem to have found mine. I was not prepared to pay $25 for the last Air CD, "Pocket Symphony", mainly because I wasn't (and am not yet) convinced that it is any good. But I was prepared (and did) pay $10 for it, because of its provenance and pedigree, because $10 isn't a whole lot of money, and because I am prepared to entertain the possibility that it will be, as they say, a "grower".

Similarly, I wasn't prepared to pay in the vicinity of $30 for the wonderful "Andorra", by Caribou (he'll always be Manitoba to me), because I, ahem, had no need to; but when it appeared at JB Hi-Fi for $15 I grabbed it without a second thought.

This, perhaps, is anecdotal evidence that Radiohead, and now Girl Talk, are onto something: maybe we all do want to go legit, and for the right price we would be happy to. If that price differs for different people, then I think the glimmer of a solution could be coming into view: perhaps too small at this point for myopic major labels to recognise, but who knows?

Meanwhile, over at iTunes, the $US10 vs $A17 discrepancy gets wider as the exchange rate sits tantalisingly close to parity (and if you can buy a physical copy of, say, "Andorra" for $15 why would you pay $17 for significantly inferior sound quality, no cover art and no physical embodiment of the music anyway?).

Thus, by way perhaps of sending Apple a tiny message, I lashed out the other day on "Lucifer: Book of Angels Vol 10", by the Bar Kokhba Sextet, the most recent release in John Zorn's ongoing Masada fest. (By the way, everything about this record is exquisite. Zorn seems to be aiming for the Mother's Day market, here, what with this and the exceedingly gorgeous and not at all in-your-face recent releases "The Dreamers" and "Filmworks XIX: The Rain Horse".) Tzadik CDs are expensive, so $16.90 on iTunes for a non-DRM copy at 256kps using AAC (AAC, to my ears, at least for jazz and like styles of music, is superior to MP3), or what iTunes calls "iTunes Plus", seemed like a reasonable compromise, and a nod to iTunes that I would buy more stuff from them if they offered more stuff in this form. On the other hand, I would NOT give them $17 for a DRM-controlled 128kps AAC version of "Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment", even though that will either force me to use "alternative methods" of acquiring it, or shelling out circa thirty bucks for the CD. Sheesh. Life is so complicated these days.