no shortness of breath.

leading up to the release of the age of adz, sufjan stevens’ amazing new album, the record label he founded, asthmatic kitty, sent an email to his fans.

we love getting good music into your hands. we think it makes you happy, and that makes us happy. and that’s why we’re writing this email: to make everyone happy. it’s admittedly a long email but we hope you’ll stick with us for at least a little while because we want to explain something.

on october twelve we are proud to release sufjan stevens’ first song-based full-length album in five years, the age of adz. we think it’s one of the best things we’ve heard in a long time and we’re hoping you’ll buy it.

so. we have it on good authority that amazon will be selling the age of adz for a very low price on release date, not unlike they did with arcade fire’s recent (and really terrific) the suburbs. we’re not one hundred percent sure amazon will do this, but mostly sure.

we have mixed feelings about discounted pricing. like we said, we love getting good music into the hands of good people, and when a price is low, more people buy. a low price will introduce a lot of people to sufjan’s music and to this wonderful album. for that, we’re grateful.

but we also feel like the work that our artists produce is worth more than a cost of a latte. we value the skill, love, and time they’ve put into making their records. and we feel that our work too, in promotion and distribution, is also valuable and worthwhile.

that’s why we personally feel that physical products like eps should sell for around $7 and full-length cds for around $10-12. we think digital eps should sell for around $5 and full-length digital albums for something like $8.

they continue by listing various avenues to acquire the album.

dear asthmatic kitty,

as one of those who took advantage of amazon’s discounted pricing of $3.99 to purchase sufjan stevens’ new album, i feel the need to comment on behalf of myself and other fans who have made the same (wise) choice.

in a time of pecuniary difficulties, it’s not a very good tactic to caution people away from lower prices, especially when the other acceptable option for them is downloading the album for free with file-sharing software. i’m not saying this option is viable to me, as i’m kind of old-fashioned in that respect, but the fact remains that the record company gets the same cut whether amazon sells it at their introductory price or they charge an amount that is more than a latte (i have never purchased a latte, by the way, let alone a $4 one, so i may be missing some subtle points you’re trying to make).

if you’ll permit, i’ll tell you about my own experience: i would not have owned this album when i did if i had not visited amazon at three thirty am on the release day and seen the deal. subsequently i would not have listened to it as soon as i did — and been astounded enough by it to contemplate driving three hours to asheville, north carolina, for a sufjan show ten days later. i attended and recommended both the album and remaining tour dates to friends and strangers afterward.

i paid $30 for the ticket, which i felt was fair enough. ticketmaster added another $17 in convenience charges, which, in case you don’t have a calculator nearby, is almost an additional sixty percent fee. asthmatic kitty, if you need a corporate monopoly to go after, one whose defeat will make fans happy, then sharpen your teeth against ticketmaster rather than amazon, though, according to eddie vedder, they don’t fight fairly, so you may want to have an extra inhaler ready.

while we’re on the topic of the show and fair prices, the merchandise table outside of the auditorium was selling the age of adz for $15. on your website you sell this same album for $10, in line with what you personally feel a physical full-length cd is worth (these are your words from the email). if you’re indeed made happy by making us happy (again these are your words from the email) then should we consider this added charge as a way of saying, thank you for coming out tonight and supporting us, because, on the surface, it seems a bit prohibitive.

enjoy your latte,


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One Response to “no shortness of breath.”

  1. if anything, lattes should be more expensive. « the vignettist Says:

    […] By scott lefaive a representative from the record label asthmatic kitty responded to the email i recently sent them about the music industry, particularly the prices of […]

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