Cut it out: FYE vs. Scissor Sisters

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By Corinne Love

By Corinne Love

No one likes overpriced music, especially Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters.

The Scissor Sisters are experiencing a corporate backlash that many budding artists would quake and shiver at the thought of.

800 shops refuse to sell its product.

Wherehouse Music entertainment is a tiny store in the big sea chain of Transworld Entertainment.

The corporate refusal came after Shears denounced FYE’s pricing for a new Raconteurs Compact Disc.

He mentioned the gripe at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers conference, held in Florida in August.

Numerous merchants and CEOs were present, including representatives for the FYE chain.        

Chief Executive Officer of Transworld, Jim Litvak, said the comments were untrue and unfair.

Litvak also stated that “All [the Scissor Sisters] had to do was pick up the phone and talk to us. But they didn’t elect to do that. We were ignored, and he made those comments. So who’s the injured party here?”

The record stores, Mr. Litvak.

But FYE never received an apologetic note of any kind. Transworld is not taking the comments lightly either; the company has yet to restock store shelves.

Consumers are thinking of this refusal as an immature move on both sides. The strategy is part comedy, part tragedy.

Working for a music store is similar to watching “Survivor.”

Except, instead of watching contestants being voted off, it’s neighboring stores that are being downsized and gotten rid of.  These stores can not keep up sales, and cannot afford to raise the prices – they simply go out of business.

Yet, Mr.Litvak thinks that banning the Scissor Sisters album is the “right” thing to do.

It’s the unwise option to take, however, and not because the CD prices are too high.

$20 a CD is steep; however, it is stores like Wherehouse, Strawberries and Sam Goody that carry what the smaller companies do not.

It is a complicated issue; CD prices are increasing while CD sales are actually decreasing.

Thanks to the wonderful advent of digital technology, consumers know they can get the music for a lot cheaper.

The democratization of music to consumers places power equally in the consumers’ hands and in their wallets.

Not to mention, it makes CEOs like Litvak cringe in their affluent, dollar counting sleep.

The success of iTunes and music sharing creates other issues as well, both pros and cons.

While you may be able to find what you want online, you will not have the immediate gratification of holding it in your hands.

Toss in the possibility that it may simply be out of stock and you would still have to take the trip to the local record shop, it it still exists.

Litvak, in his attempts to force an apology out of someone, fails to realize that stores like Wal Mart, Target, Virgin and Tower Records will be more than happy to sell the new Scissor Sister album. They will be more than happy to pick up the displaced revenues.

While merchants are rethinking plans to attract consumers into their stores, Litvak feels he can afford to ban a musician’s album, due to an off-cuff comment.

The comments that Shears made are not that damaging to Transworld’s reputation; banning a Scissor Sister album is.

If Litvak is so concerned with the comment that Shears made, he should be even more concerned about what the public reaction to banning the album will be.

I wish I had a dollar for every time a customer told me how ridiculous our prices are; I’d be able to afford that Raconteurs CD.

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