Dove Brothers to change CD prices

The Dove Brothers sent out an email update yesterday that they will be changing CD prices in their website store. Here’s the announcement:

Effective July 1, 2008, all of Dove Brothers CD’s will go up to $23.00 which includes shipping and handling fees. So to get any Dove Brothers CD at the regular $18.00 price, then purchase them before July 1, 2008.

DBQ

I double-checked the calendar, and no, it is not April 1. So I assume they are serious.

Could this be a move to encourage fans to purchase the digital copies of their CDs, still available for $9.90?

EDIT (5/29/08, 6:11 PM): It looks like my speculation about encouraging digital downloads just might be on target. The Dove Brothers sent out a second announcement, which includes these paragraphs:

Since we released our pricing changes.  Some were concerned about how it would effect merchandise pricing at concerts.  This pricing is for our online store ONLY!  Due to shipping costs as well as the handling charges, we are having to raise our prices to compensate for this.  This does NOT effect concert merchandise.  These are seperate departments for us.  Sorry if there was any confusion about this.

Now, we have just received word from our record company that we can now release our entire recording catalog through our digital downloads store.  That’s right!  Soon you will be able to purchase and download Life, Never The Same, Anything But Ordinary or down to the first recording done through Crossroads Music.  You can buy one song or purchase the whole album!  Mix and match songs that you want on your very own Dove Brothers recording.  All of your favorite songs downloadable for you to make your own Dove Brothers favorites CD!


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24 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. To me, $18 is a little high for CDs. But $23?????? Even if it does include S&H, that’s way high!

  2. Yeah, they just moved a lot lower on my priority list. GV, L5, GVB – These top-tier groups don’t get that much for a CD. They taught me in economics class that in order to get consumers to pay more for something, you had to first make them believe that it was worth more …

    (I’m not upset; it’s DBQ’s business. But it looks like it’s better calculated to decrease sales than increase them.)

  3. I’ll all for using the digital store. It’s just too bad the most recent project is 2004’s Born Again.

  4. oops that should have been “I’m”

  5. It doesn’t really surprise me that they raised the price of CD’s. I’ll bet that other groups will also do the same. They may even raise the price of ticket sales for concerts. I feel sorry for all of the groups that now have to pay more for the price of gas. How can they survive? Can you imagine what it cost to fill up a tank of gas for their buses. All I can say is God Bless them all.

    Bev

  6. There are already several groups who charge $17 per CD at their product table than the normal $15. The local Christian Bookstore will cost you anywhere from $14.99 to $17.99 for new releases. I think this will distract people ordering product directly from the artist when S/H is involved.

    As digital downloads become more readily accessible that will be the way to go. I already purchase most of my new music this way.

  7. Why does SG always seem to go the opposite way of the rest of the music industry??? In a day when CD prices have fallen thanks to digital downloads, the Dove Brothers are going up?

    They’re just going to force people to buy from other places like

    [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

    Where they have their CDs for $13.97 with free shipping. I sell a lot of stuff on EBay and it costs less than $2 including packaging to mail a CD first class.

    I know times are tough but they need to rethink their business model.

  8. Response #3 Natesings. The Dove Brothers 2005, 2006, and 2008 releases are available at the Crossroads.com store in both CD and digital download versions at normal prices.

  9. #7 – McCray Dove is no dummy. He’s proven time and again that he has a pretty good idea of where he wants the group to go.

    When this news came out, my initial reaction was that they were forced into it by rising costs. But then it occurred to me that perhaps it was a very intentional move, to get people used to paying $9.90 for a digital version instead of $23 for a hard copy. That’s why I posted the question in today’s post.

  10. That’s possible, I guess. Just adjust the prices to make the same amount of profit on either format, perhaps. All the same, I’m thinking a lot of their biggest fans aren’t interested in downloading music. I’m thinking of the poll on SN forums on how folks listen to their SG – on CDs versus the latest technologies. Sure, you can burn the downloads, but if you asked my dad to go through that process, you would find him pretty frustrated.

    And it seems it would hurt product sales at concerts significantly. That said, I agree on the major premise – McCray is no dummy.

  11. In response to #7. As I said before it costs more for the artist to travel the many miles that they do. If you were to go to another music venue other then Souther Gospel you would pay much more for the price of a ticket to hear a concert. Where else can you go to hear the word of God being sung? If they charge more per concert and raise their price for CD’s I wouldn’t think twice of not buying a ticket or a CD. They have to make a living too. We as christians should support them or soon they will fade away so to speak.

  12. #8- Good to know, thanks! I’ve purchased a monthly special CD from the site but wasn’t aware of the digital albums being available.

  13. I must question the logic of this move. I do not see other groups following this change. Supply and demand, and competition are still realities. With today’s economy I see the Dove Brothers sales taking a dive.

  14. I haven’t discussed this McCray in anyway – so I don’t know his reasoning behind it – but has anything been mentioned about this possibly being for the online store only? Have prices gone up with table sales as well?

    I know McCray – and like Daniel said, he’s no dummy. He knows what he’s doing.

  15. I highly doubt the Dove Brothers are going to charge $23 for a CD at their product table. They may raise their price but as I said in my earlier post, there are already groups charging $17 per CD.

  16. Just got off the phone with McCray – the $23 cost is NOT the cost at the table. More info on the increase in price will be announced shortly.

  17. I never post on these sites but there is a first for everything. As the Dove Brothers A&R director and an officer of Crossroads, I can assure you that this matter has been given thought and reason. #7 mentioned the business model. Well, we have had a little experience with business models over the years and they are like a glass. They can be made and they can be broken. It will not effect table sales, nor pricing on crossroadsmusic.com for hard copy or downloads. Don’t think this will be the only artists in the business to make some price adjustments in today’s economies. How they make them and where they make them, are yet to be seen.

  18. Thanks, Chris White, for your post. It is so easy to criticize DBQ for their change. I for one, am surprised it took this long for someone to do something like this. We should just sit back and let economics do its thing. Either people want it, or they don’t. That means that either people will pay that, or they won’t. End of story. Whether they choose to pay that or not is in their hands. DBQ, as well as every other group, has the right to rise or lower their prices. On a side note, I would much rather pay $23 for a Gospel CD that i know I can listen to without reservation than pay $13 for a secular CD that I will grimace at the content. We sometimes forget that as a ministry, there are still bills to be paid, and salaries, and mouths to be fed. So I can’t say I blame them. But time will tell whether it helps or hurts them. So like I said before, just let economics do its job.

  19. A bit of historical perspective might not hurt….
    I promoted a concert with Michael English in 1998. At that event, his CDs were priced $20 at the table. He sold out of all he had brought to a crowd of approximately 750. This was ten years ago. Of course, you should keep in mind that the eagerness for his CDs was fueled by the fact that bookstores weren’t stocking his stuff at that time. He was signed to Curb, but a lot of stores were boycotting his products. At the same time, realize the Southern Gospel is often difficult to find at local retail. Some fans will go to a group’s website and order there, but won’t have the time or know how to locate other online sources.

    There is still a level of excitement that happens in concert or with a fan who is more interested in creating some sort of relationship with a group. If you’re the sort of person who has the patience and time to shop for the best deal or you’re accustomed to already ordering from a source other than the group, it isn’t going to affect you or the group at all. Those fan were already going that route. If you’re the sort of person who won’t drop $2 in the offering plate at a church concert and borrows CDs from your friends to avoid purchase, it won’t affect you or the group either.

    Here’s where it could have an impact. It stands to reason that a price increase of $5 will likely drive a few fans who currently buy direct from the group to other sources. What the DBQ is doing is a bit of a gamble, for sure. Will it drive so many away that the overall profit from online sales is diminished? My gut feeling is that it won’t. If you assume they were clearing $10 per unit before vs. $15 per unit now in profit, they’d have to see a decline of 33% in orders or more for it to have an impact on their bottom line.

    It’s simply too convenient for a fan who’s gone to the trouble of finding the group’s website to go ahead and purchase direct while they’re there…and assuming the DBQ has gone to $20 pricing at the concert table ($23 minus the shipping), it’s just way too convenient. People will pay $20 at the concert table for a CD. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. The group may not move as many pieces overall, but they can afford it when they’re getting $5 more each time than they were previously.

  20. I just want to say, i have never bought a digital download of any music in my life. I have always purchased CDs, or casettes, and albums, etc.

  21. I just happened across this today, and I am fascinated by some of the remarks posted here. They offer different perspectives on a not often discussed topic.
    I have been a fan of southern gospel music for well over 40 years now, and I must say I have never been as concerned about the genre as I am today. Even as a teenager in the eighties, I still had groups that I kept up with, even though my main devotion was to contemporary christian music. In 1989 however, I came back to southern gospel, and quickly discovered what I had been missing.
    The music was fresh, upbeat, it sounded great, the singers were top notch, and that all added up to make me WANT to listen to the music of my childhood once again. I don’t have enough space to list all of the artists that I have in my music collection, because I loved the genre-as a whole.
    But I have to say that over the last 10 years or so, southern gospel music has changed-and NOT for the good. When I listen to the music on the radio, I am appalled by the poor quality that I hear, and not just the music, but the vocals as well. The production is lousy, the presentation is sub-par at best, and it seems to me that a good portion of the music I once adored has suffered a great injustice.
    I can now name on the fingers of one hand the southern gospel artists that I would go see live, or purchase new product from (and yes, I still like the hard copies), and it breaks my heart. I can remember how much I used to enjoy the concerts and new recordings…how I couldn’t wait to go to the bookstore to pick up a new CD. But those days for me are gone, and don’t appear to be returning soon.
    I’ve said all that to say this…while there are a percentage of SG fans that are hardcore to the bitter end (I used to be), I think a bigger percentage find themselves where I am. I understand that times have changed-artists can no longer afford to carry a band on the road, and some of the bigger elements that once permeated southern gospel music in the seventies and eighties are just not realistic anymore, and I’m fine with that. That having been said, I’m just looking for quality music and a quality message, sang by a quality performer, and I for the most part don’t see it anymore.
    As a now average SG fan, I can tell you that I wouldn’t pay twenty cents for the majority of what southern gospel is turning out, nor would I walk across the street to hear it live. Don’t mean to sound cynical, but that’s how I feel. For those who would pay their hard earned money for the music, God bless you, I think that’s great, and I don’t look down on you in any way. But I would rather listen to old albums than to spend my time trying to find something I can sink my teeth into on a new CD.
    I hope that in the two years since this post first started that other groups have NOT followed suit, as Chris White suggests in his post. If they are considering it, maybe they should stop to consider the possibility that the fans may get tired of being taken to the cleaners for an inferior product.

    • Sorry to hear that Philip. Myself I like a lot of the music that’s out there today, but I can see your point that it used to be better. That said, I must ask if you have ever tried the Collingsworth family? I think they are probably the highest quality group out there today, very polished and professional. They put on an outstanding live show, and they have a tremendous vocal blend. I really encourage you to check them out. Try their albums We Still Believe or The Answer.

  22. Philip, you might try Almost Morning by the Perrys. I really enjoyed that one a lot and there is only one song there that I skip. It was done well and has a good message, but just isn’t my cup of tea. Hadebank has become a very good lead singer, and the others all do very good jobs as well. I love the new Gaither Vocal Band and many love their new CD. I like some songs on there, but there are several songs I am not crazy about on it (but we all have different tastes you know. You might really like it.)

  23. To the two responses I’ve gotten to my post, I thank you sincerely. It is refreshing to see that someone can address a posting like mine without being judgmental. If more people would take that approach-to help someone else instead of tear them down, this world would be a million times better.

    It intrigues me that the Perrys newest project has been mentioned, because the only artists I keep up with on a regular basis would be the Gaither Vocal Band (I’ve been a fan of theirs since 1981), the Whisnants (very underrated), Brian Free and Assurance (have gotten a bit progressive, but good singing IS still good singing, and the Perrys. And I do agree, Almost Morning is a terrific CD.

    Again, thank you both for caring, and may God Bless you.