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14.4.07

Sony/BMG goes e-bay

Rubinstein CollectionDoes Sony/BMG show us the way the record companies will go? Through ICON-Collectibles.com they are auctioning off items from their vault to the highest bidder -- on e-bay. The currently feted object that they auction off (and try to bring attention to) is the 94-CD (plus book, plus case) Rubinstein Collection "A Life In Music". There are only three such sets left with Sony/BMG (it had gone out of print a few years ago) and they obviously hope to create some buzz about this auction.

Alas, me thinks they don't know how to utilize e-bay very well. A starting price of $600 and a "Reserve" (a 'secret' price barrier under which the item is not actually won) are signs that the auctioneers became the victim of their own caution. Starting at $1 with no minimum bid would have really created some buzz, would have increased traffic and bidding innumerably. The hope to get a bargain draws bidders and makes them involved in an auction, which is ultimately what drives the price up. A person that was a lead bidder at a reasonable $375 (still a "deal" ) will find be tempted to add "just a little bit" if another bidder jacked the price up to $450. Step by step the price increases and the inhibitions sink among the bidders, bidding well beyond their initially set limit. The resulting sale-price is generally one far higher than that what even the most ambitious "Reserve Price" (the No.1 kill-joy for an auction) could have been set at. (It's a bit like putting a frog into water and bringing it up to boiling - the frog will stay put, to his ultimate detriment. A frog thrown into boiling water would jump out, presumably with burns but largely unscathed. [This is an example passed down as anecdote and I have neither violated any frogs to gather this information, nor do I encourage any harm be done to these poor creatures.])

You can follow the auction here and see if Sony/BMG has found a new way to sell some of their product, now that record stores are gone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look at those shipping costs too...