Saturday, January 21, 2012


I think everyone will agree that there are some things in the world that can be improved.  Not everyone agrees on what those things are, or how they can be fixed.  But, if the powers that be take a look at my blog from time to time, I'll try to list some of the things that I know for sure are just plain screwed up. I won't pretend to have all of the solutions, but I can certainly spot the problems.  

Here is the first installment of what I hope will be a running feature in this blog (and maybe even  eventually get turned into a book, because that's where the big money is)


Every movie costs the same.  You can go see a low budget supernatural paranormal shot-on-video for $20,000, or you can see the latest 100 million buck Michael Bay bonanza (perhaps even based on Bonanza), but it will cost you the same amount of money at the neighborhood movie house.  At that same movie house, you pay for popcorn according to how much you get, but if you see a 90 minute movie, it costs the same as a two hour movie.  The only thing you usually pay extra for is an extra dimension.

It doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Books are priced according to length, author, size, shape, and any other reason.

At a fast food establishment, you pay for the food according to size/amount.

Even when you buy the movie you saw in the theater on DVD, some are more expensive than others.

One other area where the pay-the-same-price philosophy seems to apply is on iTunes, where most songs, films and TV shows have a set cost.  Most of the time, this seems to make sense, but I have found one glaring instance where the pricing structure seems absurd.  If you go to iTunes, you can buy the Bruce Springsteen classic "Born to Run" for only $1.29.  This is a wonderful thing.  In 1975, when the song came out, a gallon of gas cost 44 cents, the average new car cost 4,250 and a 45 recording of "Born to Run" would have cost you about a dollar .  Wow.  Gas goes up 1000%  Automobile prices are up 400% and music is only up a few cents.

So, if this is such a bargain, where is the absurdity in iTunes pricing?  

While you can buy the Boss' rendition of "Born to Run" for $1.29, you can also buy the same song performed by Suzi Quatro for the same exact price.  Remember Suzi Quatro?  

She is a great singer -- you may remember her hit "Devil Gate Drive" but she may be best known for her hip-slapping-finger-shooting role as Leather Tuscadero on "Happy Days."

Now, I love Suzi Quatro and my 12-year-old self had a minor crush on her (somewhere between Kim Richards and Lynda Carter), but there is no economic system on in the universe in which Suzi Quatro's and Bruce Springsteen's recordings of "Born to Run" should cost the same amount of money.

iTunes isn't totally blind to musical justice, though.  Don McLean's "American Pie" costs $1.29 while The Brady Bunch's cover costs only .99.  However, on closer examination, the abridged Brady Bunch version is only 3 minutes and 38 seconds, or a little more than a half-cent per second.  The full Don McLean version is 8:32, or less than 3 tenths of a cent per second.

Yup, when unit pricing is taken into consideration, the Brady Bunch's recording of one of the most important songs in American music costs more than its legendary original recording.

This day, the day I made this troubling calculation, shall be forever known to me as the day the music died.

1 comment:

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog, especially the trips down nostalgia lane (i.e. Drake's cakes, a crush on Suzi Quatro). Good work!