This past June, I saw Aimee Mann Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, an intimate little venue just under the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a special evening, with Mann’s performance perfectly in sync with the capacity audience’s expectations. All told, a great concert was enjoyed by the 1200 people in attendance.
By coincidence, the show I saw was video recorded, and just came out on DVD .
Here’s what I cannot understand: The DVD is $15 — but it also comes with a CD of the concert. Will someone explain to me why major labels release 45 minutes of music on disc for the same price as a small label’s DVD and CD ?
Perhaps its Mann’s notorious dislike of her past labels. The New York Times’ Jonathan Van Meter wrote: "Mann is known for writing clever, disappointed love songs that can also be read as damnations of the music industry." Her Album "I’m with Stupid" was a thinly veiled reference to Geffen (What label are you with?) as were numerous songs on that disc (Choice In The Matter, Par For The Course, You’re With Stupid Now); The song "Nothing Is Good Enough" off the CD Bachelor No. 2 was reputedly based on a conversation with a music exec.
Mann subsequently dumped her label (Geffen’s Interscope, mentioned previously), negotiated the purchase of her masters, and set out for own label: Superego Records, part of United Musicians, a cooperative, artist owned label. In a further break with the big labels, her most recent albums can be streamed — for free — at her site (click "listen").
I doubt that releasing a DVD/CD — for the same price as a major label CD — is a money losing idea. Even a 9 camera shoot will be profitible, if it sells modestly. It just goes to show ya how corrupt the major label $15 CD business model is.
Maybe someone with basic math skills can explain to the major labels what they are doing wrong.
UPDATE: November 28, 2004 12:29pm
A quick trip this morn to Best Buy reminded me that "Coldplay – Live 2003" was a similar DVD + CD; There was also a Sarah McLachlan DVD + CD combo (Mirrorball?)
UPDATE 2: November 28, 2004 1:32pm
On a hunch, I went ot Amazon’s DVD section, searched fro DVD+CD, and came up with 152 results. These combo DVD+CDs are apparently an ongoing trend, and gaining in popularity . . .
Makes sense — if a CD at $15 is a lousy deal, than a DVD+CD at $15-20 is a pretty good one
UPDATE 3: November 29, 2004 3:33pm
More DVD+CD: R.E.M. will reissue their entire Warner Bros. catalog on February 15th, with each two disc set including the original album and a bonus DVD featuring the record remixed in 5.1 surround sound, as well as unreleased documentary and video footage.