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|Posted: 18 September 2017 at 7:21am | IP Logged | 1
Us Brits had a club called Britannia Music Club (maybe I'm being accurate when I state it's akin to Columbia House in the US). The offer was tantalizing: you signed up for a 2-year membership. Your initial offer - the hook, if you will - was something like 4-6 albums for a quid each. As part of that heavily discounted offer, you were required to buy full-priced albums for the two years of your membership.
So whilst you ended up with something like 6 discounted albums to start with, you had to buy full-priced ones for the duration of your membership. I can't remember the exact terms, I think it was something like six CDs in your first year, four or five in your second year. Once you had honoured the commitment, you were 'free' of the club.
They also had a VHS club with similar offers.
Now, no-one can argue with an initial offer of discounted albums, but the business model was a bit impractical at times. You got a club magazine every month with an editor's choice. Back before there was the internet, you had to OPT OUT of receiving the editor's choice by ticking the "do not want" box - and returning it via post. This worked. Sometimes. At other times, it did not (perhaps due to postal delays or something). On more than one occasion, I received albums I had opted out of (I always returned the opt out form the same day I received the catalogue). This did mean having to package up the album and return it, at your own expense, to Britannia.
I believe Britannia Music folded in 2007. And I'm not surprised. With the likes of iTunes and Amazon, there really was no incentive to stay with the likes of Britannia (I stopped ordering from them around 2001/02). They became, much like many businesses, victims of the progression of technology. It would seem utterly outdated today to have to return an "opt out" form to a company like Britannia. I suppose if they were around, they'd have an online form - but they'd still feel archaic in many ways.
I've heard similar stories about Columbia House. Someone I spoke to told me he used to subscribe to Columbia House's STAR TREK: TNG collection, a tape being sent every 4-6 weeks (with an amazing two episodes per tape!). In an age of boxsets and streaming, how could such a business model work?
Anyone have any views on Britannia, Columbia House, etc?
Incidentally, everyone wanted a piece of the pie back in the day. There was a Fantasy and SF Book Club, too (similar offer, 5 books discounted, but you stay with the club for 2 years and order full-priced books as part of a minimum commitment). There were numerous others: Britannia Classical Music Club, Railway Book Club, World Books, etc.
Edited by Robbie Parry on 18 September 2017 at 7:22am