Columbia House Closes Its Doors

And good riddance.

What most consumers didn’t know is that artists have to take an even bigger hurting on sales from “record clubs” than they do on regular retail sales. Ostensibly, being included in a record club was considered a good trade-off, since you would probably make up in volume what you lost in raw margin.

How do you think they could afford to send eleven discs out to you for a penny, anyway?

The most clever — and fraudulent — abuse of a record club that I ever witnessed was by a guy I went to college with. He got himself a workstudy job in a dorm mailroom, and invented ten new floors. Each one of the thirty fictional residents of each imaginary floor signed up for the 11-disc deal. Because the culprit was in charge of delivering packages, all of those discs got delivered — to the shady used CD store down the street!

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