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Posts from the Business School Dropout Category

If you want somebody to proof something carefully, make sure they think they’re the only person who will see it before publication. If you don’t want them to read it at all, include half the company when you ask for their input. There’s plenty of research on this* but the graph says it all.

Latané & Darley, 1968 is the classic study, but you may find the Wikipedia articles on the Bystander Effect, Pluralistic Ignorance and Diffusion of Responsibility give a better overview of the work people have done on this.

I worry that I can’t have a proper music business blog without writing at least one post about Radiohead. This completely useless chart is as close as I’m willing to get.

Labels often create series of recordings. Occasionally, these form part of a coherent project that means something to the customer. Most of the time, though, the connection between the recordings is only important to the record label*, and the real reason for having a series is because it saves time when you’re trying to convince retailers to stock them.

How, though, is the customer supposed to make sense of this?

Don’t fret. I’m looking out for you. Here’s a helpful glossary of the most common catalog(ue) marketing terms. It’s all you need to know:

Original = Old

Legend = Old

Classic = Old

Great = Old

Master = Old

Gold = Old

Platinum = Very old

Pleasure = Cheap

Ultimate = Cheap

Best = Cheap

Most = Cheap

Supreme = Very cheap

Masterpieces = Cheapest

Complete = Big

Essential = Too big

Greatest = Old and cheap

Edition = Same record, different cover.

Collection = Too old, too big, and not nearly cheap enough.

Library = Run for the hills. Do it while there’s still time.

* Are these all recordings on which the artists are no longer due royalties? Are they 1960s vinyl releases having a last shot at incremental revenue before they enter the public domain? Have artists active on the label recorded the same repertoire, triggering a price drop on the old records? Are these better than the new recordings but not nearly as easy to market? Who cares. The covers are crap, but they’re cheaper now.

If you’re in the habit of doing this sort of thing…

…and then this…

…then it’s a pretty safe bet you’re despised by everybody who works with you.

On the upside, though, you probably underestimate how often your colleagues do this…

…because the only way you’ll find out is if the boss is dumb enough to do something like this:*

* Which, once in a while, most bosses are. I certainly have been. Somebody should really make this button…

…look more like this: