Sales of KBCO Studio C CDs benefit scalpers more than charities

November 23, 2009 · Posted in Commentary 

 I have been listening to Adult Album Alternative radio for over 15 years.  When KMTT, aka The Mountain, went live in Seattle, I was one of their first listeners.  Adult Album Alternative is a format that features a variety of music.  It’s hard to become bored listening to this format.       

KMTT frequently features in studio guests who will play their music live.  The best of these tracks are sold on a CD annually with the proceeds going to charity.  Most of the songs that make it on these CDs are stripped down versions of hits.  I enjoy these live sessions so much that I own every live CD KMTT has put out.  In fact, I have ordered the 2009 CD, but more on that later.

Fast forward to 2006.  I moved to the Denver area and discovered KBCO, the local Adult Album Alternative radio station.  After finding KBCO, I really felt like I found a replacement for KMTT.  Not only did KBCO play the same basic music, but they also had live in studio guests.  In fact, they have been doing this longer than KMTT.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that KBCO also put out a CD of the best of their live in studio guests annually with the proceeds going  to charity!  My enthusiasm soon turned to disappointment when I heard that one must get up early on a Saturday morning and wait in line for the limited amount of CDs available.  Within a few hours, these CDs are sold out every year.  The CDs are very reasonably priced and there is a limit of two CDs per person.  At the time, I mentioned this to one of my co-workers.  He informed me that he and his wife always buy two CDs each and sell the other three on eBay for an exorbinant profit.  According to KBCO’s Scott Arbough, around 30,000 KBCO Studio C CDs are issued every year.  Regardless of the actual number produced, demand for these CDs far outstrip supply.  After the CDs sell out, all one has to do is go to Craigslist or eBay to see that more money is made by profiteers on the secondary market than goes to the very deserving charities who should be benefiting.

On the other hand, KMTT in Seattle issues around 40,000 CDs per year, if I recall correctly.  Their CDs are sold at area Starbucks locations and there is always an adequate supply of these CDs for weeks.  In fact, I just purchased my CD from the Starbucks online store the other day.  How cool is that?   

Disclosure:  In 2006, I did not buy a KBCO Studio C CD, but I did win one in 2007.  Last year, I did purchase one from eBay, paying over double the original price. 

By printing only a very limited run of CDs that sell out within a few hours, the charities that stand to benefit from these sales are shortchanged.  Many people are also unable to stand in line for hours on a Saturday, so they are left with either not having a CD or paying a premium in the secondary market.   

The most simplistic solution to this issue is for KBCO to print up more CDs each year, however there might be contractual limitations that prevent this.  The other solution would be to substantially raise the price in order to equalize the demand for these CDs with the supply.  Whether a larger production run or higher sales price, more money would be going to the intended charities.  One thing for sure.  Many people will be selling their KBCO Studio C CDs on Craigslist and eBay and making far more money collectively than the charities who should be receiving the benefit.                     

Edit:  Corrected the number of KBCO Studio C CDs sold annually and added attribution.  Thank you for the information, Scott Arbough!

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2 Responses to “Sales of KBCO Studio C CDs benefit scalpers more than charities”

  1. arbough on November 23rd, 2009 10:56 am

    KBCO sells 30,000 CDs each year. KBCO has agreements that will not allow the number of CDs to exceed that amount. It is unfortunate that some people find the need resell the CDs at inflated prices.

  2. admin on November 23rd, 2009 11:08 am

    Thank you for the correct sales number, Scott. I have amended my article.

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