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December 27, 2003

Cost per CD at Music Clubs (Columbia House and BMG)

I've been a part of Columbia House Music Club on more than one occasion, but it's been awhile. Every so often I consider joining to pump a bunch of music into my collection. The last couple of times I've looked into it the selection has been pretty poor so have passed.

Today, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to work out the cost figures. The standard package is 12 free CDs, with a commitment to buy 5 more over 2 years. All CDs (free and purchased) cost $2.79 to for shipping and handling, and purchased CDs run $15+. On the standard package a person gets 17 CDs and pays a total of $123.48, or $7.26/CD.

There are ways to get more mileage from the club. On some months the purchased CD gets you two free (still pay the $2.79 for S/H). If you buy all 5 of the full-price CDs on months with the "get 2 free" deal you end up getting 27 CDs and spend a total of $151.38, or $5.60/CD.

There is yet one other way to enhance the cost per cd ratio. If you've been a club member in the past and still have an active account you can "sign up a friend" and get an additional 5 free CDs. The trick is to sign yourself up so you get both the 5 free CDs as the club member as well as the new membership. I'm not sure what the rules are, but I've signed myself up at the same address (using a slight variation on the name) without any problems. If you can pull this off you end up getting 32 CDs and spending a total of $165.33, $5.16 per CD.

I should also note an alternative, BMG Music Service. BMG offers 12 for the price of 1. Am not sure what the shipping charges are, but if comprable to Columbia the total investment for the 12 CDs would be around $52, or $4.33 per CD.

I've poked around on half.com and it's hard, with shipping, to get current CDs (even old) at club prices. Of course you have to understand that from music clubs you can never get the newest releases and the selection is typically only what's popular, which means a good chunk of what I'm looking for can't be bought through the club. Today's searching on both clubs came up mostly empty, will look elsewhere for now.

Posted by mike at December 27, 2003 12:15 AM