Pitchfork’s Tastemaking Ability Extends To Setting Price Floors

Dec 8th, 2008 // 4 Comments

A novel bit of promoting a record’s review landed in our tips inbox earlier today: “Today, renowned and respected indie rock critics Pitchfork Media released a review of Ropechain, the second full length album from Indianapolis-based Grampall Jookabox. Employing their 10-point system, Pitchfork scored the album at a 5.4. Asthmatic Kitty will therefore sell Ropechain for $5.40 for 54 hours from 9am, December 8th.” After chuckling a bit over the possibility of music writers actually having an influence on real-world music consumption habits for once, I wondered whether or not other records reviewed by Pitchfork have had the market decide for them that they should be priced according to their Best New Music-worthiness. After the jump, I put a few notable releases to the test, comparing their Pitchfork scores and the lowest (pre-shipping) price that said albums are available for on the Amazon Marketplace.



Liz Phair: 0.0 from Pitchfork; $0.16 on Amazon Marketplace. PRICE DIFFERENTIAL: +$0.16.

Black Kids, Partie Traumatic: 3.3 from Pitchfork; $4.90 on Amazon Marketplace. PRICE DIFFERENTIAL: +$1.60.

Weezer (red album): 4.7 from Pitchfork; $4.00 on Amazon Marketplace. PRICE DIFFERENTIAL: -$0.70.

Deerhunter, Microcastle: 9.2 from Pitchfork; $9.75 on Amazon Marketplace. PRICE DIFFERENTIAL: +$0.55.

Radiohead, In Rainbows: 9.3 from Pitchfork; $7.98 on Amazon Marketplace. PRICE DIFFERENTIAL: -$1.32.

I actually figured that there would be more of a wild swing between the asking prices and the scores, but a differential that tops out at $1.60 isn’t all that bad, as far as predictions of further market performance go. Perhaps critic-based pricing schemes will become the “pay what you want” of 2009! There’s hope for music writers’ livelihoods yet!

ASTHMATIC KITTY ADOPTS CRITIC-BASED PRICING STRUCTURE [Asthmatic Kitty]
Ropechain [Pitchfork]

  1. Maura Johnston

    Eric Harvey (he wrote the review) responds:
    [www.marathonpacks.com]

  2. natepatrin

    They promo-blitzed the hell out of this CD — I got about eight promo copies — so if they didn’t pull this stunt, you’d probably wind up being able to get it for less than $5.40 soon enough anyways. That’s another, more traditional way for music critics to dictate the price of a CD.

  3. natepatrin

    @natepatrin: (The “critics selling off excess copies and inundating used CD stores” way, I mean.)

  4. Reidicus

    I suppose I’m biased because Michael at AK is a friend of mine, but I thought this was a pretty brilliant way to turn sort of a “meh” review into publicity gold, all in good fun. Heck, it showed up here, didn’t it? Not a bad day’s work if you’re trying to make your little record stand out in the sea of new releases.

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