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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Marketing Math

So, having acquired the Mai-HiME soundtracks (2), Mai-Otome soundtracks (2), and Xenosaga III soundtracks for my birthday, I was looking into acquiring some of the others on the "todo" list - the Xenosaga I and II soundtracks, and the Noir soundtracks (3). Looking at the prices, the Xenosaga ones were none-too-cheap, both being in the $35-40 range. This was a bit more than I was hoping for (well okay, almost 50% more than I was hoping for), but at least understandable for 2-CD sets. The first two Noir soundtracks were, as is usual for anime soundtracks, one CD each (do they Japanese know how to maximize profits, or what?); the price was also typical: $15 each.

Thus, I was surprised to find the third Noir soundtrack selling for $30. A little searching for info confirmed what my mental math had suggested: the soundtrack had two CDs. This came as a moderate surprise to me, as, to my knowledge, it was not significantly longer than the first two.

A look in WinAmp revealed that I was half right: all of the other CDs mentioned (individual CDs) were in the range of 50-60 minutes. The entire third Noir soundtrack, however, totaled 73 minutes - about 1/3 longer than the other CDs, but not more than would have fit on one CD. Looks like I've stumbled upon an evil marketing plot; I imagine the executives' meeting went something like this (although in Japanese):

Executive 1: Alright, people, these Noir soundtracks 1 and 2 are selling like crazy. But I hear we've still got some unpublished music from that series, and that means more money for us. Is that true?
Executive 2: Yes sir, we've still got some unpublished music left, and I hear Kajiura has been playing around with some of the tracks from the other soundtracks, so there might be some remixes we could squeeze out of her, too.
Executive 1: So what's that total, exactly?
Executive 2: I dunno, maybe 73 minutes?
Executive 1: 73 minutes?? That's too much to give people for $15. Split it into two soundtracks.
Executive 3: But sir, a CD can hold 74 minutes...
Executive 1: You go sit in the corner!
Executive 4: But really, people won't pay $15 each for two 36 minute CDs...
Executive 1: You're fired!
Executive 5: I have an idea that might work...
Executive 1: Well, spit it out!
Executive 5: What if we made a single two CD soundtrack, and sold it for $30? With two CDs, people will get the impression that they're getting two CDs worth, and never bother to actually check the play time on either one. As an added bonus, we save money by not having to produce two manuals.
Executive 1: Not bad! Does anybody else have any better ideas, or should we go with that?
Executive 1: Alright, ship it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Justin - hotlinking is definate No-No