Used CDs Are Bad Bad Things

When you think about things that really need a lot of oversight when they are sold used, what springs to mind? How far down that list are music CDs? Apparently states are passing new laws putting restrictions on how you can sell used CDs. Dear bob, does the insanity have no bounds? Florida now has a waiting period that prevents retailers from selling the CD inventory until 30 days after they purchased it. Can this have any other real intention than driving used CD retailers out of business? The ostensible purpose is to combat counterfeit CDs, but making stores sit on the new inventory for 30 days seems designed to hurt their cash flow and reduce the viability of their business.

I think it was Freakonomics that pointed out that a healthy used market for entertainment goods counter-intuitively helps sell more new goods. You’d think they were competing for the same dollars but their finding was that having a place to sell the used goods back makes it less risky to purchase new. I can only hope that is true, and that the Big Music Machine having gotten their way on yet another bit of draconian protectionist legislation finds themselves making ever less money. Of course, if that happens the fault will always be elsewhere other than their business practices. Big Music can never do wrong, you know.

Published by


Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

4 thoughts on “Used CDs Are Bad Bad Things”

  1. So a waiting period before purchasing guns is considered an unreasonable restraint on our right to own firearms….

    But the guy who wants to resell that crappy CD that wasn’t worth $17.95 the first time around has to wait 30 days.

    As you say, a law like that can have only one purpose… to put the chill on that sector of the business, and to further enforce their silly victim narrative.

    If the music industry is suffering (and statistically, in some ways, they are doing better than ever) is not because we are downloading or reselling their product.

    It’s because they protecting their piece of the pie using any means necessary other than actually evolving their ideas or selling better music.

  2. As much as I tend to drink conspiracy-theorist’s Kool-Aid from time to time, there’s no doubt in my mind that the music industry is very quietly pushing and supporting these laws in the background (through study groups and fake lobby fronts and other shady tactics we’ve come to know and love).

    There’s a used CD store in my area that’s locally owned by a guy who still works the counter two days a week. Patronizing his business to me is less about “sticking it to Big Music” and more about not only getting a great deal on CD’s I never got around to replacing from my vinyl/cassette days, but also supporting my local job-providing small business owner.

  3. This is ridiculous, why haven’t they done this to used bookstores then?! The music industry needs to wake up and face reality (put out better music and lower prices)!! In the meantime, I invite you all to check out GigaTribe (encrypted file-sharing between friends):

  4. Jeff, I didn’t bring up the guns in the post but that was the first thing I thought of. I do agree that if the music industry is hurting, they should be altering the way they do business and what they sell. It’s how it works for other industries, but the music business gets special treatment because they are special.

    Bryce, that’s an admirable way to handle your money.

    John, that might be next. The RIAA and MPAA might next attack that bastion of pirates that let people take their content for free, the evil public library.

Comments are closed.