The High Price of Entertainment

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Movies, Music
Tags: ,

Last Friday, before going home, I passed by one of the music+video stores at the mall. I looked around, browsing their selections of DVDs, VCDs (yes, they’re still selling those) and Blu-ray discs.

Going in, I didn’t have any particular movie or album in mind. But since I was already there anyway, I might as well look for anything interesting that I might add to my library.

Displayed prominently were new movie releases in DVD format. Fancy owning the latest film on disc? It’ll cost you Php 750 at the minimum. You can opt for the “cheaper” VCD format, but aside from the decidedly lower quality, “cheap” isn’t really cheap. For regular employees, it’ll cost about a day’s salary to buy one. Maybe more.

I looked around on the old releases section, where semi-recent and not so recent movies were on display. They were cheaper, some way more, a few not by much, while others not at all. I knew from previous visits that sometimes, they would put some titles on sale, somewhere along the lines of 199 or something like 2 for 299. But those titles are B- or lower-grade movies, and for the extremely unsellable titles, you may find them valued at 99. If you know your movies, you can sometimes find a few gems in there; most of the times, though, they really are actually just garbage.

Local movie titles are even bigger offenders. Even old releases are tagged at 600 a copy. The irony is, some of the lower grade foreign movies in the bargain bin are still leagues away in entertainment value over most of these local titles.

Frustrated, I moved to the music section next. They offer a wide range of genres, with pop culture icons taking center stage. They have a “hard to find” area where selections are high up there in terms of price. I’m really not buying the “hard to find” label, and certainly not willing to pay the high premium just to listen to say, Lionel Richie.

The price tags made me back away from that area almost immediately.

To have something worth the visit to the store, I decided to check if they had any albums from a rock/alternative band I like. No such luck. Not even their “hard-to-find” section offered anything remotely similar.

So I checked the pop section instead, looking at some bands or names I may recognize.

After examining a couple albums and looking at the others on display, it was clear to me – I’m not buying anything. Those prices were really prohibitive! 450 to 550 were the going rate far as I could tell. Those albums that I looked at had a couple of songs that I think were okay; was it worth it to pay the extra hundreds in case the other 8 songs sucked?

See anything wrong here? A title/content may not be available, or if it does, either slap in some retarded marketing label such as hard-to-find or “imported” and jack the prices two- or three-times up, or just straight-out price them ridiculously high. Is this the music and movie industry’s way of convincing people not to pirate content?

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