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cpo and naïve Alarm...

Bayside record distribution ratcheted up its prices last Thursday, and it's ugly. Apart from Naxos CDs now running $8.99 instead of $7.99, two of my favorite labels—cpo and naïve—have undergone inexplicable, steep, suicidal increases. The former label is no longer in the $12-to$17 range, but between $14 and $19. Box sets vary from case to case.

The true outrage, however, is what was done to the naïve label's pricing. Every disc has been jacked up by five (5 !!!) dollars. Their usual, defensible price of $16.99 is now an unrecommendable $21.99, and the lovely Vivaldi operas are $43.99 instead of $33.99. It's insanity, and unless someone purposefully wants to drive the label into oblivion, I don't understand such meddling.

However, there is a window of opportunity: While the Web sites (Amazon and Tower) already reflect the new pricing, the price stickers in the stores won't all be fixed until some time next week. Until then, retail will (and will have to) honor the price that is on the product. It's not cheating (since retail hasn't yet paid higher prices to the distributor); it's at best taking advantage of the situation. I encourage everyone to stock up on everything the Quatuor Mosaïques ever did, the Concerto Italiano's Four Seasons (Yes! It sounds like a new piece of music under the guidance of Alessandrini: it's unbelievable!), and whatever Vivaldi operas they might like.

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