Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Asthmatic Kitty's Love/Hate Thing With Amazon

Posted By on 09.22.10 at 02:17 PM

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This morning a mass e-mail sent out to Sufjan Stevens fans by his label, Asthmatic Kitty, started making the rounds on blogs and Twitter. It's an impassioned and somewhat naked-seeming plea from people committed to putting out music they care about, asking their customers to consider not freeloading Stevens's next album, The Age of Adz, or buying it for the price of a latte during Amazon's upcoming slashed-price introduction of the album. But what the letter never explains is how Amazon is able to discount the record so deeply—and why, if Asthmatic Kitty has a problem with that, it doesn't seem to be trying to scuttle the arrangement. Distribution deals are notoriously complicated, and there are a number of ways Asthmatic Kitty might have its hands tied re: the Amazon discount. In a spot-on post for the Village Voice's Sound of the City blog, Zach Baron describes a likelier situation: that the label is trying to benefit in the short term off a deal with potentially bad long-term consequences not only for Asthmatic Kitty but for other similar labels, and it's passing its confusion over which path to take on to you, the consumer.

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