June 8, 2004
Settlement sends flood of music CDs
The CD giveaway to schools, colleges and libraries will cost the industry an estimated $76 million.
The titles were selected by music experts and educators for their lasting significance, and aren't just warehouse rejects or overstock, Takahashi said.
These are not titles you'd just want to throw away.''
So, you're asking, what kind of stuff with lasting significance did my public library system (with 10 locations) get?
382 of our 1325 settlement CDs are "new"; all the rest are either cut-outs/remainders, or in the case of three titles, "promotional use only" CDs (either stamped with that slogan or with the barcode punched BEFORE the cd was shrinkwrapped).
That means 71.2% of what they sent us is stuff currently sold in remainder bins. Dunno if the terms of the agreement said they couldn't send cutouts or not, but if I know the record industry, they are following the letter but not the spirit of the settlement.
Keep in mind for a hugely popular CD (say, Norah Jones's grammy-winning debut), a library might have up to 2 copies per location when the CD is newer, "hot", or in demand. One copy per location is typical for top 20 stuff, but your Belle and Sebastian or "Original Broadway cast recording" type of thing will often be bought for only one or two library locations. When a library goes back and buys older CDs it failed to buy when they were originally released (or replaces stolen/damaged items), a typical library might buy one copy of these titles for every 4 branches. As CDs fall off the Billboard hot 100, they are typically not replaced for an individual location if the title is on the shelf at another location and not in huge demand.
So, knowing that, here's a look at the titles "selected by music experts" and sent to me. I do not know if the people sending us these CDs know that my library has only 10 branches, but these are the the top 15 (or so) titles I got.
36% (or 482 of my 1325 cds) are listed below. these include both cutout and new titles.
I now have:
57 copies "three mo' tenors" (2001)
48 copies Mark Willis "loving every minute" 2001 (country)
47 copies "corridos de primera plana" by "Los Tucanes di Tijuana" (2000)
39 copies of "Christmas with Yolanda Adams"
37 copies of Michael Crawford's "A Christmas Album" (Phantom of the Opera Broadway guy)
34 copies of the Bee Gees' "This Is Where I Came In " (2001)
34 copies "The Collector's Series, Vol. 1" by Celine Dion
27 copies of a recording of Puccini's Madam Butterfly
24 George Winston's December (1982) (solo piano, jazz or new age)
23 copies of Aerosmith's "Just Push play" (2001)
23 copies "A smooth Jazz Christmas" by Dave Koz and friends
21 copies of Son by four's "Purest of Pain" (Latino pop band)
20 copies "symbols of Light" by Greg Osby (jazz)
20 copies "My kind of Christmas" by christina Aguilera
18 copies of Thalia's "grandes exitos" (Latina artist, means "greatest hits")
10 copies "A New day has Come" by Celine Dion
Everything else I got is in the 1-10 copies per title range, many of them being cutouts that I'm fairly sure I already have in my library collection.
I very likely already own copies of some of these at my library already. Now you do the math- I have 10 branches- If I wanted to actually add all these copies to the library, that's 3.4 copies of a Bee Gees record, or 5.7 copies of "three mo' tenors" PER LOCATION.
Now go back and read that article I posted a link to above. "The CD giveaway to schools, colleges and libraries will cost the industry an estimated $76 million". Yes, if by "cost the industry" you mean "free up warehouse space for copies of the new Avril Lavigne". I don't know who brokered the terms of this class-action settlement, or who is enforcing the compliance, but if you are ever in need of an attorney, I would strongly suggest not calling any of the people who are patting themselves on the back about their success in negotiating this settlement.
I don't know why I'm surprised. I expected offbeat titles (I got one copy of "Ray Romano at Carneige Hall", for example) and some grab-bag stuff, but not 47 copies of a Latin CD I've never even heard of (the Hispanic population of the city this library serves is 7%, according to the 2000 census, in case you're thinking there might be a huge demand for this title and I am simply unaware of it). While there are titles I got that I will add to my collection and am glad to have, I'm angered by the hubris and or carelessness of whoever is sending me 23 copies of ANYTHING, much less some of the gems you see listed above.
rant over. If you are reading this and you are a librarian in the King/Pierce county region with a similarly skewed haul, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be interested in doing a library exchange and offloading some of your 57 copies of your unwanted whatever in exchange for mine. If we work together, we can make sure that no Aerosmith fan in Western Washington is left behind.