The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, March 10, 2008

Which Music Industry Am I Supporting?

3-10-08 Which Music Industry Am I Supporting?

So far in 2008, I’ve bought approx. 160 titles. Most of them used. I believe I was given a Christmas gift that full retail price was paid for – but I can’t confirm it, and I won’t count it. I can confirm that I have spent at least JPY 15,220 (at approx. 106 yen to US$1) on new goods (2,940 yen of Italian origin, 3,780 yen of U.S. origin and 8,500 yen of French origin). A little later on, I bought another Japanese CD (of British origin) that was ‘not used’ – for approx. 2,300 yen. On February 12, 2008 – I can actually state that I paid $9.98 for a new CD (at a Target store). Approx. US$175.26 of my money went to ‘the music industry’ – as yet, only $9.98 directly to the U.S. music industry.

Italian origin, Japanese CD = $27.75 (Purchased from Japan, via a U.S. company)

U.S. origin, Japanese CD = $35.66 (Purchased from Japan, via a U.S. company)

French origin, Japanese CD = $80.18 (Purchased from Japan, via a U.S. company)

U.K. origin, Japanese CD = $21.69 (Purchased from Japan, via a U.S. company)

U.S. origin, U.S. CD = $9.98 (Purchased from a U.S. company – is Sony-BMG Japanese-owned?, via a U.S. company “Target”)

So, $165.28 went to Japanese (mostly) major labels, $9.98 went to a Japanese-owned U.S. major label (Sony-BMG). 8 CD’s out of 160. 1/20th of my purchases actually supported any ‘music business’. Or about $2.92 per day (over two months), to any ‘music industry’ (which seems to be mostly Japanese, as it were).

The used / swap meet stuff I bought supported whoever was selling it to me. Retailers probably bought the stuff that they sold me from individuals, not from ‘the music industry’. A typical instance is something like: I pay $3 for a used CD (which is new / sealed) that has a suggested retail of $19.98 – what did that retailer pay for it? $1.50? The person who sold it to the retailer (i.e. the re-seller) – they probably got it for free – why else would they accept such a small amount for it? And it’s no secret (in L.A. anyway) that LOTS of ‘stolen’ product gets sold to retailers (re-sellers). You think they check I.D. like they’re supposed to? I’ve seen the people from labels / distributors with CARTONS of ‘new’ titles being ‘traded in’ @ ________ on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Just like “the good old days”.

I pay approx. $20 per month for internet access. I do not have a cell phone, but I pay approx. $50 per month to “the telephone company”. Gasoline is $3.15 per gallon (for the kind I use).

The U.S. CD I purchased? The 25th Anniversary edition of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, a CD + DVD set, $9.98 on the day it was released, at the Target by my house. $15.98 price tag on the front, rang up $9.98 (as advertised). Out of my $10, ‘x’ amount went to replication, I presume something went to MJJ. Target had to make something on the sale. Sony’s gotta get something. 8.25% sales tax was paid – but the State of California isn’t exactly the ‘music industry’, is it? Well, not yet, anyway. Gee, I sure would love to see how that $9.98 breaks down – I mean, ALL THE WAY. Who did I actually ‘support’? What about that truck that brought ‘em in?

P.S. Second time I’ve bought “Thriller” (see photo).


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Question. If 7/9 cuts on Thriller were singles, what were the B-sides on those 7"ers? Inquiring minds want to know. I'll pop over to

This Girl Is Mine/Can't Get Outta The Rain [not from Off The Wall - could it be NON-LP?

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'/Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Instrumental) [that's what I was expecting]

What th...! I can't find any data on the US singles from Thriller other than these! That's nuts! This guy broke records! He WAS American culture for a good 2 years!!

I am a little curious at to what they filled the other side of those 7 45s. I'm expecting tracks from "Off The Wall" and instrumental versions would be the norm. When you make records as expensive as OTW and Thriller were, with a phalanx of steely-eyed, flat bellied professionals playing their parts, I would daresay that there's not a note that is recorded that's not earmarked for inclusion on the holy album. The casual atmosphere that marks quick and dirty experimentation in the studio that makes for a great b-side probably does not exist in the world Quincy Jones is master of.

But - as a record collector I'm curious. Even when it comes to an artist I don't care for.

Wikipedia to the rescue [sort of] they have pages on all of the Thriller singles but are sometimes ambiguous as to whether they are listing US single information or not.

Billie Jean/It's The Falling In Love [from OTW]

Beat It/Burn this Disco Out [from OTW]

Human Nature/Baby Be Mine [from Thriller]

PYT/Working Day & Night [from OTW]

Thriller/Can't Get Outta the Rain [Again??!!]

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...


I'll bet no one ever expected me to comment on a Michael Jackson post!

12:15 PM  

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