Monday, August 23, 2004

Thinking about Hit CDs

In the midst of a fascinating post on the effects on the market of a transition to transcience, Tyler Cowen declares:

"In the music market, in contrast, few people buy CDs for resale value (those that do will focus on the hits). " [emphases mine]

Does this make any sense? While I can't draw a demand curve here (lack of blog-posting skill, that), it seems unlikely that the resale value will increase over time of something that sells largely initially.

To put it as simply as possible, which is more valuable: an original copy of The Velvet Underground and Nico (40,000 sold) or The Doors or Smiley Smile (to name two albums from the same year, and with cult followings)? Or, more aptly, a Johnny Rivers or Tommy James and the Shondells or Sonny and Cher album from the same time period?

I don't know for certain, but I know which way to bet.

Update: The Shifted Librarian appears to agree with my sense that today's "hits" are tomorrow's fuggedaboutits.


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