Features

Saturday Deluxe / 25 June 2016

 satdel_brexit

How will BREXIT affect our global music shopping habits?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be aware that on Thursday this week, the UK has voted for ‘Brexit’ – to leave the European Union. Although I cast my vote, I missed all the excitement on TV, because I was at the watching Glen Matlock, Midge Ure and the gang at the Rich Kids gig in Islington. I woke up with a hangover to the news.

It’s fair to say that this has shocked virtually everyone: commentators, politicians, ‘the markets’ and the ‘young people’ of Britain (those under 25 voted 75% in favour of ‘Remain’). The Prime Minister will stand down later this year and with all the uncertainty the pound dropped to a 31 year low. Gulp.

But, ahem, let’s tackle the most important issue head on – what does this mean for the record buying, music box set obsessed SDE reader? I’m quite proud that SuperDeluxeEdition is very much a global community and although it’s run by a Brit in London, only 33 percent of the audience lives in the UK. A further third live in America with the rest split across Europe, Japan, Australia and the ‘rest of the world’.

So what is the impact of this momentous news on the SDE reader who lives in Australia and buys from Amazon UK, or who resides in Texas and buys from Amazon Italy, or for people here in Britain who buy from American and Europe?

vinyl_pure

Despite the weaker pound, Pure McCartney on vinyl is still much cheaper in the US and Canada

In terms of the here and now, at the time of writing, one pound sterling is currently worth around 1.37 US dollars. A few days ago it was worth 1.50 dollars. I know quite a few of you in America buy from Amazon in the UK because the VAT is deducted, shipping is often very reasonable and you can get some great deals. Well for you guys, things just got that bit cheaper because you have to spend less dollars for one pound’s worth of goods.

That said, you have to factor in what we in the UK like to refer to as ‘rip off Britain’ (we do like a moan). That is the perception (or reality) that goods and services (in this case vinyl records and music box sets) often seem to be much cheaper in America and Canada (in particular) for no obvious reason. Take Pure McCartney on 4LP vinyl. It’s $59 US on Amazon.com right now (via Marketplace) and even with the new unfavourable (for the UK) exchange rate, that equates to about £42. But the UK price is £70. So despite the current weak pound, there is unlikely to be a step change in shopping habits from either side of the Atlantic.

bruce_deal_2

Competitive deals in Europe, negate the strengthened Euro

The pound has also weakened against the Euro (by about 5 or 6 percent) so if you are in the UK buying from Amazon Italy, or France isn’t as cheap as it was a few days ago. However, often the ‘deals’ will more than make up for this. For example yesterday’s deal on the Bruce Springsteen River Collection box (still available) secures you the set for about £46. Yes, before the ‘Brexit’ vote it would have been a few pounds cheaper, but £46 is still a big saving over the Amazon UK price (which ranges between £60 and £80). If you’re in France or Italy items in the UK will now be a bit cheaper, but as always, you need to keep an eye on prices across the board before committing – this is where the SDE price comparison widget comes in handy.

Looking to the future, the big change for those in the UK will be potential levies on buying goods within Europe. At the moment we have free trade – there is no extra cost to buying goods and services in the EU, but that will surely change and we can ‘look forward’ to having to pay import duty of the kind which deters many of us in Britain from buying from the US and Canada. It’s not just the duty, it’s the opportunity for Royal Mail, Parcelforce and other carriers to levy ‘admin’ and ‘handling’ charges.

For now, wherever you live, the average SDE reader doesn’t need to make any radical changes in how and where you purchase physical music, but UK residents will be all too aware that buying from Europe will almost inevitably become more expensive once the process of leaving the EU is complete – but that could take years.


SDE ChartWatch

No Surprises that Radiohead register their sixth number one UK album (on both physical and combined charts) this week with A Moon Shaped Pool. In fact, in the last 20 years their only album not to reach the top spot was 2011’s King Of Limbs. I’ve been enjoying the black vinyl version of the new album but have been hearing horror stories about the apparently abysmal white vinyl pressing.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers debut strongly too, with their new album The Getaway. It’s behind Radiohead at number two on the physical and ‘proper’ album chart. As is often the case when a new studio album comes out, sales of their Greatest Hits album have surged – it’s number 36 on physical sales this week.

Manic Street Preachers‘ Everything Must Go is back (again)  and is currently number 55 on physical sales. This is obviously thanks to that HMV ‘baby blue’ vinyl exclusive. As a reminder you can still order this from JPC in Germany if you didn’t manage to pick one up in the UK. The Clash‘s debut album is right behind the Manics’ at number 60. Both of these were limited to 1000 copies and effectively sold out. This tells us that selling 1000 vinyl records gets you mid way up the physical album chart on an average week.

front_gslbI commented last week that debuting at number 15 was unimpressive for Garbage‘s new album Strange Little Birds. Since then there has been an SDE review of the record and it’s dropped like a stone to number 64. I won’t flatter myself that the two things are related, but there’s no doubt that this is disappointing for the band. They’ve already promoted what is the strongest ‘single’ Empty, so I fear any further sales success is going to be a struggle.

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60 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 25 June 2016

  1. Dave R. says:

    Very good point on the admin charges stuck on top by the Roysl Mail. I used to buy a lot from the States, but while I expect to be charged duty on such purchases the additional ‘admin’ on top was another prime example of opportunistic ‘Rip off Britain’. With the high price of postage from the States added to the mix ordering even a single CD is just not worth it.

    As an aside, many years ago I was presented with a gold disc award from a band I had been working with and when I brought it back into the UK was charged £25 duty on it at Heathrow. Those things aren’t even made out of gold. It’s gold paint.

    • Tim-meh says:

      You want to try shipping your entire record collection to the States and then shipping it back again. I was charged a staggering £1.5k duty when I moved back to the UK and had merry hell with C&E convincing them it was a private collection!

    • Mike the Fish says:

      They’re weren’t even the correct record often, was that the same with yours?

  2. Arcweld says:

    My best guess, and it can only be a guess at this point is that it will impact buyers in the UK more than any of the examples you mentioned above. People buying outside the EU or the UK will still be liable to local import duties, that’s a local call. Many may now, find buying from Amazon in the UK is much better due to the weaker pound, though this may well stabilise in the days or weeks to come.

    My view, which is only as a buyer and not as an expert! Is I expect records will become more expensive when bought abroad due to exchange rates at least in the short term, and possibly much longer, and I expect that in time, albeit, probably in a couple of years, I will have to pay import duties for purchases from Amazon Italy, Spain. France, Germany etc.

    So while I can still have access to those markets and keep buying, I think UK buyers are gong to have to pay more both in the short term and long term.

    So while a pain, my guess is this will be low down on the issues we may well face coming up!

  3. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Also in thec news, Led Zeppalin DID write Stairway To Heaven and Adele’s 25 can be streamed…

  4. Rare Glam says:

    Just glad I bought my Dinosaur Jr 4 x SHM mini LP CD box set from Japan on the day of the vote and not the day after! Isn’t vinyl bound to increase in price as it’s all pressed ‘abroad’ (EU) now? (if you’re in UK I mean) – as if it’s not eye-wateringly expensive enough already most of the time anyway. And won’t – given the expected inflation – the price of all formats increase within the UK that are also made in the UK anyway simply because the pound will be worth less? Just looking at the western and northern European countries not in the EU – they all have a cost of living that is scarily high. Also, if Scotland hold a succesful independance referendum in the next year or two, will it be cheaper to buy a title on ‘import’ to England?! Maybe I’ll just move there!

    • Mike the Fish says:

      There’s The Vinyl Factory in the UK, and possibly others.

    • DaveM says:

      @Rare Glam, didn’t know about the Dinosaur Jr SHMs. Didn’t bag the box, but ordered them individually from CDJapan so that’s my bonus blown, what with the PIL SHMs I ordered prior to Brexit. Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. Kiki says:

    Hi!
    I think that the brexit will have a significant impact of buying a CD in the UK from Europe, because i’m quite sure that taxes will highly increse in the near future , (from both sides I should say) and it will probably become the same pain for us (I’m French , guys! ;-)) than when I buy CDs from Japan (I always fear to see my postman ringing at my door to claim importation taxes – that are always very high) …

    Apart of that, I must say I was rather disappointed by the new RHCP album, it seems like they just got very old, compared to the wonderful previous LP. I Didn’t listen yet to the Garbage album, but I can recall that here the sells of their albums always looked like this : Highest position in the 1st week, and then always getting quickly out of the Top 50 then top 100….

    Finally I bought the new reissue of the Manic’sEverything must go and I was shocked by 2 things : 1- Many of the tracks that were on the previous reissue are not in here! (I’m going to also keep this one!) and 2- Even adding the tracks from all these , there are still missing pieces… Shall we have to wait for a 40 or a 50th anniversary to get a complete box ???
    I’m really hoping that Parlophone will listen to us and do some better work for the reissues of the PSB catalogue! (Guys, we’re waiting !!!!)

  6. Leemer says:

    This whole Brexit thing is a shame, however, if you Brits like, you can petition to become states 51 though 54. Just a thought…

  7. Salamander says:

    From a continental perspective the pound will still have to fall significantly further for the UK to become an attractive place to buy. Most of the special offers on the continent were more attractive. The UK will be like the US; sometimes it is fine to pay the import duties, most of the time it makes no sense. Japan and the US will in any event be more interesting than the UK, unless it also develops its very own exclusive product market.
    The EU now has 1 ‘GB’ of extra space. I expect Scotland to reclaim part of that space. Poor Little England.

  8. tom says:

    Rather have more money for hospitals and schools and pay a bit more for records. Just a thought…

    • Kiki says:

      We were only talking ’bout record industry ;-)
      Nothing more political than that…

    • andrew R says:

      HA HA you think that money will find its way back into the system
      the odious Farage has already admitted he lied about that!
      Amazon is the least of our problems we are shortly going to find out what life in a banana republic is like!!

    • Andrew Mogford says:

      did you know the world was flat and the moon made of cheese too? You obviously believe everything you’re told!

  9. tom says:

    The EU now has a LOT less income…poor EU

    • Craig says:

      Exactly, poor little EU !

      If I have to pay a bit more to import CDs that’s well worth getting out with everything else that entails.

  10. gwynogue says:

    I don’t think the dropping pound will make much difference to myself and my fellow Aussies, because the Brexit uncertainty meant our dollar dropped as well. Watching the news, it seems all markets dropped so I don’t expect much difference to anyone. In my (100% uninformed) opinion, I assumed that the Brexit outcome (regardless of ‘yea’ or ‘nay’) shouldn’t have an effect on Australia, but thanks to stock markets and ‘global economy’ bullshit, and corporate b(w)ankers jumping at shadows, everyone’s arse is getting a kick.

    I must admit I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how stock markets work, but I’m none-too-thrilled at the thought that a bunch of rich twats pissing money about can have serious impacts on other people’s livelihoods, etc. It scares (and angers) me to think that my bank account is at someone else’s mercy. It’s terrifying and it really gets my hackles up.

    But like I said, I really haven’t got a clue – that’s probably why it’s so scary.

  11. Rare Glam says:

    I see that at least two titles have rocketed up in price today (25th June) on Amazon. The Ramones 40th set has gone up from £35 to £50 and the Sex Pistols CD edition of the 4 x 1976 concerts box is up from £30 to £42.49. Maybe this would have happened anyway, prices often fluctuate in the pre-order period, but maybe it is a jittery EU Luxembourg domiciled, Republic of Ireland administred Amazon UK looking to cover itself post Brexit.

  12. Donal Murphy says:

    I have one of those Radiohead Moon Shaped Pool white vinyl versions. Was a little underwhelmed by it, but have ordered the box set also, and it will be interesting to compare.

    On Brexit, the people have spoken, and cannot believe it, but it is what it is. There will be repercussions for me, as the amazon.co.uk will be shipping to me in Ireland. By 2018, as it will then outside the EU, that will in theory, at least have a “customs” impact. And similarly for anyone else in the EU ordering from the uk website, it could mean i will be sticking with France & Germany websites in the future.

  13. Paul Murphy says:

    Brexit? I thought we were voting for Breakfast. I demand a recount.

    • gwynogue says:

      Ooh breakfast! Bacon and brex perhaps?

      (that was my last terrible joke, I swear)

    • ZoetMB says:

      Well here in the U.S., the Dow fell 3.4% on Friday. I lost (on paper) enough money that if I had pulled out before, the amount saved would have been enough to afford every deluxe boxed set released for the rest of my life.

      But Americans are just as likely to vote on “feelings” instead of facts. That’s what Mr. Trump is all about. In spite of a 70% negative approval rating, he just might pull it off if he can win both Florida and Pennsylvania. (And the converse: if he doesn’t win those two states, it’s almost impossible for him to win.)

      Think markets dropped a lot on Friday? If Trump wins, I predict a complete global financial meltdown in spite of the fact that as President, he really doesn’t have that much power and Congress won’t do anything he wants. If that happens, I will have bought my last boxed set.

  14. Daran says:

    I think it will all be good in the end ;) The doom and gloom merchants are comical. It’s almost as if they (conveniently) forget that there are already examples in the world of sovereign capitalist nations doing just fine thanks so much (well as fine as can be in this era of running large national debt’s).

    They don’t think Britain can be one too, but they can’t tell you why that is.

    • Andrew Mogford says:

      Well, let me put it this way. My partner, a qualified nurse who qualified in this country and pays taxes in this country but wasn’t allowed a vote, will likely lose the right to work in this country. Even though we have a baby who is British. As will probably 20% of the staff in our local hospital.

      In addition without EU protection if she IS allowed to stay and work here, she will now have to pay tax on her income both here and in her home country – being taxed on her income twice. The only reason this isn’t happening now is because of EU protection.

      I suspect we’ll have to leave the UK.

      But yeah. All good in the end.

      Absolute rot.

    • Craig says:

      That’s why the Remain camp failed, all they could say was ‘we’re screwed if we leave’ with nothing to back it up, the public didn’t buy it and voted leave. I thought people would go for the safe option but I was pleasantly surprised.

      By the way the statement that “(those under 25 voted 75% in favour of ‘Remain’)” is not a fact and we’ll never know that level of detail. The figure comes from data collected by the same guru’s who predicted Remain would walk the referendum.

  15. gwynogue says:

    On second thoughts, I think Oz will be alright – our government is more than happy to bend over and spread for yours, so whatever Mother England decides to do, we will be safe in your back pocket.

    We await instructions, Your Majesty!

  16. cq says:

    (from an american)

    why are things cheaper in US than UK? A big factor is ‘more competition’. Apparently, Amazon doesn’t feel the competition locally in UK as much as the US and thus can charge a higher price (this goes for any market of course, UK is not singled out). Don’t forget also that the US population is about 5-6 times that of UK so there are more players here.

    Another factor of course is high VAT in UK included in the price. Amazon only collects VAT for domestic shipments – sitting in the US I can get UK items at about a 15% discount just from not paying VAT (however, I don’t get free shipping so that offsets that benefit somewhat). (sales tax in the US is added to the price you see, the amount varies widely throughout the US from 0-10%, though it is never charged outside of the US)

    Another factor for mass-market releases is that typically the US release of an item also released in UK is often more cheaply produced, hence lower priced.

    The last factor is that it depends on the specific item demand – Amazon does a decent job of re-pricing based on demand, and that can vary widely for the same item in US than in UK.

    Insofar as GBP rates are concerned, from a USD perspective I get a 10% discount today over last week – so in that sense, thanks brexiters! But that won’t last for long, as UK will now have a less efficient market being much smaller than being part of EU, so costs will have to increase at some point to deal with that, that’s why the markets dumped GBP because they know it’s just a matter of time before that kicks in, so better take the discount now.

    Amazon is one of few retailers that makes it easy to cross-border purchasing.

  17. Paul Sinclair says:

    Quick note… I know everyone has strong feelings regarding the result of the vote, but please can we keep this particular discussion on topic –  which is in relation to music.

    If you think music is the least of our worries, then head off to a political blog and talk about general politics there. But this blog is about music, and if what you have to say isn’t about music then it won’t be published. Ta.

  18. Paul Wren says:

    I’m UK based and mostly stopped buying from the States some years ago when US postal charges went up dramatically. Regarding import duty charges, these can mostly be negated by asking the seller to quote the valeu of item as, say, $10 or 10 euro – I’ve yet to encounter a seller who won’t do this as it is also in their interest to sell the item as well.

  19. Dennis says:

    Ordering from English sites will become quite a calculation again for continental European buyers if no deal is arranged with the EU. For example, if you import stuff from England into Germany, a lovely 19% tax will be added to everything over a value of 22,- EURO (if you buy for 50,- EUR, you end up paying 59,50 EUR). So, boxsets will most likely not being bought from England. There is rarely a deal that excellent, that it justifies paying an additional 19% on top… And you possibly have to split up orders to make sure not to pay tax, but then you end up obviously paying more for postage. So, a big calculation if that is worth it or what ends up cheaper.

    Could maybe be interesting for some companies to settle for a subdivision in Ireland (or Scotland if they vote for leaving Britain and manage to stay in the EU).
    Another thing that could be a pain is all that licensing stuff, I imagine it will be way more difficult for an English label to license stuff from WDR Rockpalast or for a German or Italian label to license stuff from the BBC to add as bonusmaterial to deluxe editions…

  20. RJSWinchester says:

    9-10 years ago I used to buy loads of CDs (mostly Italian soundtracks and weird and wonderful compilations from around the globe) from Dusty Groove in Chicago because it was so cheap. Never more than three at a time to avoid potential VAT charges because the first time I used the site I ordered five CDs and got stung for £3 VAT and a £7.50 administrative charge by Royal Mail. Nowadays I don’t use them because it’s so expensive given the exchange rate and postal charges. It doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon now.

    Postage is the biggest stumbling block when buying from the US. I’ve bought CDs from US sellers on eBay and Discogs where the postage has cost more than the CD!

    If we do end up paying VAT on goods from EU countries it’s at least a couple of years off and hopefully it won’t be a criminally low figure like it is for goods imported from outside the EU at the moment.

  21. Zongadude says:

    I’m french, and the main issue for me from a record collecting point of view, is the fact that when UK won’t be in the EU anymore, anything I will buy online from UK shops (including Amazon.co.uk) will be subject to additional duty charges by the french customs. Until now it could happened only with non-EU purchases (from the US, Canada, Japan….). And believe me when it happened, it hurt. The cost of this additional charge was sometimes almost the cost of the good itself !
    As 80% of the music I buy is from British bands or artists, I will be heavily impacted. Especially since record shops are now almost inexistent in France: everything I want has to be bought online (or when I travel to the UK once a year in summer). Take this good example: the latest Radiohead album. If I want the Deluxe boxset edition, I have to buy it online from the band’s website. Since Radiohead are British, all I had to pay so far was the cost of the box set, and the shipping. In the future I will also have to pay very heavy additional charges for “customs reasons”. Now that’s a bummer.
    And when I will go the UK to visit record shops there, and come back in France, I will have to declare to the customs everything I bought.
    (And another bummer, but that’s more on a personal level, is the fact that my 14 yo daughter wanted to study and eventually live in England in the future, just after the end of her french studies in a few years. I suppose that won’t be as easy as it could have been….).

    • Mike the Fish says:

      As someone in the UK, I used bought a UK indie album from a shop in Greece on-line (I don’t know if it was a physical shop). There are options!

  22. Gavin says:

    When checks out to deliver to U.K. On say Amazon Germany – is it better to pay in pounds or euros if the pound is weak?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not sure it makes much difference.. someone somewhere makes something on the exchange rate.

  23. DJ Boji says:

    And Just to say it with The name of a wonderful Song by James – “We are going to miss you when you’re gone “

  24. I always buy in the currency of the source country, your bank exchange rates are usually better then offered by the selling site. Nice to meet you briefly Thur, Paul.

  25. Robert says:

    From the states, I buy from Amazon UK from time to time. However, I do order vintage vinyl from the UK on a regular basis and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the dealers raise their prices a bit to make up for the drop in the pound ? I doubt it’ll change by buying habits even if they are raised a bit because so much is hard to come by in the states or if its here they over-charge it.

  26. SimonP says:

    What devastating thing happened in February when it was $1.38 to £1 then?

  27. Gavin says:

    Thanks for the tips , I checked out in euroes on this order so will be interesting to see the costs when hits the cc bill – checked out on 100 euro with postage – given the pound being weak at mo thought it was worth a punt on the euro

  28. Auntie Sabrina says:

    1.23 euros for our british pounds…

  29. gwynogue says:

    The BIG question is…..can you still compete at Eurovision? :)

  30. J says:

    Paul
    Just placed my first post brexit ebay order from UK. I saved a whopping 63 cents in shipping for 3 Lynyrd Skynyrd 45s. Hardly the end of the world as we know (knew) it.
    J

  31. probablyrustin says:

    Hey Paul, just some quick notes for you unrelated to Brexit:

    – the Radiohead white vinyl has two pressings available. One made by Optimal has been getting good reviews on quality, but one pressed by Rainbo has the abysmal ratings you mentioned.

    – as others mentioned, this is par for the course for Garbage on the charts for some time. Hate to admit it because I love them, but post-Beautifulgarbage it’s been a very rapid decline into being strictly a “fan base purchase” band. High-ish positions first week followed by rapid drop-offs and overall mediocre sales. Bleed Like Me did slightly better thanks to Why Do You Love Me getting more exposure, but they’ve been pretty off the mainstream radar since. So, disappointing for sure, but not what I’d call unexpected or signs that they’re declining any further.

    • RJSWinchester says:

      Yes, Garbage’s last five albums (including the new one) have spent at total of 22 weeks in the UK Top 100 album charts. The combined total for their first two albums was 208 weeks.

  32. Gisabun says:

    Steven Wilson’s solo catalog is now available for streaming – except one tracks – Sign ‘O Times from the Covers album. The Prince track.

  33. alan hansen says:

    paul, a new option for yanks buying from amazon.co.uk is to either place the order in dollars or pounds. any thoughts as to which might be more advantageous to us here on this side of the pond?

  34. Mark story says:

    This “yank” would like to thank you for your timely and informative website. Oh yeah, not to mention great deals on music!

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