COMMENT: Are records and CDs becoming prohibitively expensive?

Can anybody really afford to buy records and CDs any more? I’m not sure I can. It has become an extremely expensive hobby and the soaring cost of vinyl in particular – not helped by rising postage charges – is a real threat to the very existence of the subgenre. Of course, postage costs are beyond the control of labels but this is small comfort to cash-strapped music lovers who are trying to cope with the financial limitations imposed on them by the global recession. And, it must be said, labels are guilty of nurturing high prices through a culture of (snobbery?) exclusivity, limited editions, die-hard editions etc.

I’ll give you an example of what’s going on: I’m interested in purchasing the new Aptorian Demon record, the latest Lunar Aurora record and the brand new Taake 2LP. The cheapest quote I’ve been able to get so far for all three is €87 – that’s working out at €29 per record. Almost €25 for postage and Paypal fees. Can we honestly be expected to pay this? I know I can’t afford to. I’ll have to go without (and, thus, there will probably be no reviews of these interesting releases on this site).

I’m sure a lot of you have had similar experiences. Underground music should not cost so much. What’s with the elite costs? I mean, I’m not purchasing a pair of Converse here. Surely it shouldn’t cost any more than €50 tops for three records, including delivery. Labels have a part to play in making it possible to support the music.

I don’t know what the solution is but, clearly, there is a danger that true fans are going to be marginalised by the alarming price of admission. With bills to be paid and lives to be lived, little wonder so many are forced to turn to illegal downloads.