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"Music Biz Seeks Boost For Ailing Catalog Sales"

Sat May 03, 2003 5:27 am


In the April 26, 2003 issue of Billboard magazine there was an article which outlined how record labels are releasing their back catalogue material. When it mentioned BMG it said this.

B.M.G. Strategic Marketing, the new corporate umbrella housing B.M.G. Entertainment's catalog enterprises (Billboard, December 21, 2002), is formulating a new slate of branded, price-tiered lines. Executive VP Joe DiMuro says "One of the first issues is segregating [product] by price point but also from a branding perspective, from a marketing perspective, developing product lines that have an unique, compelling proposition, an unique look to them."

To that end, B.M.G. will this year introduce the Ultimate series (comprising single disc, 20 track greatest hits, priced at $18.98), the Anthology series (a two-disc set of 34-36 tracks, priced at $24.98), and the mid-line Platinum & Gold series (a single disc hits package of 10-12 tracks, priced at $11.98).

B.M.G. also mounted a campaign last year that serves as an effective example of what might be termed "event catalog marketing," with it's release of the Elvis Presley compilation Elvis 30 #1 Hits (Billboard, August 24, 2002).

"We basically were managing a portfolio of about 50 Elvis catalog and deep catalog reissues," DiMuro notes. "We experienced double-digit [percentage] increases in all those reissues." Knowing a good thing when they see it, B.M.G. executives decided to follow up with another heavily marketed Presley hits package this fall.


In a side bar accompanying the article is a picture of the album cover of Elvis 30 #1 Hits with the caption "Last year, B.M.G. sparked sales on a breadth of Elvis Presley catalog titles with the heavily marketed release of Elvis 30 #1 Hits."


My question is will Elvis be featured as well in one of these packages that B.M.G. is planning on doing with it's other catalog artists and when. Apparently this series of retrospective hits packages will be similar to Sony Legacy's "The Essential" series as well as Universal's "20th Century Masters Millennium" series.


Sat May 03, 2003 6:23 am

I personally think these reissues and more reissues suck. None of these companies do a good job on them. They are not essential collections or retrospectives. For instance, even when they put out a greatest hits collection and say that the artist had 10 hits, they always leave 1 or 2 off the collection. To me, this is not essential.
Good example...The Best Of Elvis cd. What in the world was that all about? What a stupid collection.
So what is BMG going to do? Drop all their regular issues and put out only hits collections? I know we've had this discussion before on BMG "weeding" it's catalog of Elvis cds to 50. In my opinion a big mistake.
Look what they do to big performers such as Eddy Arnold or Jim Reeves. What can you find from them except maybe a few greatest hits collections. Eddy Arnold is the number one country artist of all time. Elvis is the number one pop artist of all time (in the rock era). BMG/RCA has them both and doesn't really know how to market either one. What a real shame. Thank God for Bear Family!!

jeff R