Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sufjan's Asthmatic Kitty vs. Amazon And The Demise Of The Album

The Guardian reports (via Pitchfork) that Asthmatic Kitty is urging fans to buy Sufjan Steven's new album, The Age of Adz, which comes out Oct. 12 - and to avoid Amazon. The online retail giant has been known to offer discounts for albums, which of course cuts into the label and band's cut.

"So you might wonder why we'd 'allow' Amazon to sell it for lower than that. There are several reasons why, but mostly? It's because we believe in you. We trust you and in your ability to make your own choice," writes the label.

The problem is, when given the choice, people tend to not pay for an album at all. In a perfect world, sales of albums would be enough for bands (and labels) to live off of, but they're pretty much loss-leaders now, and just a way of promoting the tour, which is where bands actually make a profit. Sufjan's a bit bigger than that, and his albums sales should be pretty significant, but it's still very unusual for the label to essentially circumvent the idea of lower pricing as a promotional tool.

Sufjan plays at the Beacon Theater on Nov. 14 and 15. Both dates are very sold out, presumably, but tickets should be available from a third party.

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