Dmitry

Has the bottom fallen out of the Mosaic market?

206 posts in this topic

There's some OOP Mosaic sets that were released before I started collecting jazz that I'm still keen on, but I think these types of sets are under assault from multiple angles;

  • Collecting physical copies of media is going out of fashion
  • Jazz is a niche market that (I would guess) is shrinking in popularity
  • Availability is less of a problem that needs solving nowadays.
  • Quality is one of the few remaining selling points, and a lot of people don't seem to care that much.

Jazz has been a niche market longer than Mosaic has been in business.

I do think your other points are pretty solid. Though the quality part might be a stretch. Mosaic's limited releases have always been coveted for their quality. I really don't think collectors have given up on quality. I think it simply has more to do with clutter and space constraints. 

I'm if they had gone the Beauty Is A Rare Thing route, with a rock solid but more compact package, would that have made a difference? 

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interested to read all this because I am about, in the next year, to release a series of shorter CDs (35-50 minutes) of my old and new stuff; will sell them at under $10 (and this includes things we did with Hemphill, Murray, Doc Cheatham, Ros Rudd, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, etc) and issue them as the real thing (no CDRS) with generic (but nice) covers and links to my web site. Because I think predictions of the death of the CD are like predictions of the death of the book, meaning it won't happen because of the  (relative) permanence of real CD media. And if I'm wrong I figure I'll be the Last Musician Standing, without competition; all I know is that in the last year I made more money off my web site than in the previous 30 years of being in the music biz; no middle men, direct sales, reasonable prices.

and, friendly service.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Demand from me for CDs is now almost zero. I am thinking of selling some Mosaics, not so much because I don't like the music as because I feel like a loser having the 'LP-size boxes' sitting around - but I only expect to get something like what I paid for them, in most cases, which in my busy life makes it barely worth the effort to advertise and ship them....

People who don't know better will think there are LPs in there, so you're actually very hip with these around. You could even discuss the latest newspaper article about the thrill of collecting old cheap vinyl over a cup of tea.

One reason I like my Bear Family boxes (and my not all that numerous Mosaic boxes too).

They actually sit on my vinyl racks in between all the vinyl where they belong style-wise or in the A-Z run of leaders' LPs. And in some cases they make nice "section dividers" :D between the LPs of two different styles of music that are filed separately on the shelves.

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Anyone buying these for investment quality was an idiot. The music comes first and - combined with what are usually some very valuable booklet notes - means that I will not be parting with Mosaics anytime soon, CD or LP (with the exception of a duplicate or two, perhaps).

 

Truth. People who bought Mosaics with an eye toward making a profit are getting what they deserve. And people who bought them for the music are getting what they deserve.

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Maybe it's time for Mosaic to update this line on their website:

 

Although we believe the value of these sets are priceless, winning bids on  out-of-print sets listed on e-bay have topped hundreds of $ more than the original selling price.

Edited by bluesoul

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interested to read all this because I am about, in the next year, to release a series of shorter CDs (35-50 minutes) of my old and new stuff; will sell them at under $10 (and this includes things we did with Hemphill, Murray, Doc Cheatham, Ros Rudd, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, etc) and issue them as the real thing (no CDRS) with generic (but nice) covers and links to my web site. Because I think predictions of the death of the CD are like predictions of the death of the book, meaning it won't happen because of the  (relative) permanence of real CD media. And if I'm wrong I figure I'll be the Last Musician Standing, without competition; all I know is that in the last year I made more money off my web site than in the previous 30 years of being in the music biz; no middle men, direct sales, reasonable prices.

and, friendly service.

I'm not so sure that comparison holds up, Allen. There are still plenty of book stores in the wild. But how many record/cd stores do you see? 

Digital downloads overtook cd sales last year, and both are trending in opposite directions. I'm not saying the cd is on a fast track to becoming the next 8 track, but they are well on their way to becoming the next LP. 

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Anyone buying these for investment quality was an idiot. The music comes first and - combined with what are usually some very valuable booklet notes - means that I will not be parting with Mosaics anytime soon, CD or LP (with the exception of a duplicate or two, perhaps).

 

Truth. People who bought Mosaics with an eye toward making a profit are getting what they deserve. And people who bought them for the music are getting what they deserve.

I honestly don't think anyone here bought them as an investment. I just think the OP was looking to start a conversation to see what ofhers thought about the downward pricing trend. 

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Anyone buying these for investment quality was an idiot. The music comes first and - combined with what are usually some very valuable booklet notes - means that I will not be parting with Mosaics anytime soon, CD or LP (with the exception of a duplicate or two, perhaps).

 

Truth. People who bought Mosaics with an eye toward making a profit are getting what they deserve. And people who bought them for the music are getting what they deserve.

I honestly don't think anyone here bought them as an investment. I just think the OP was looking to start a conversation to see what ofhers thought about the downward pricing trend. 

Back when I was buying Mosaics, 15 years ago, I would succumb to the LAST CHANCE Mosaic alerts on the sadly-defunct Blue Note board, and would buy music I wasn't really interested in all that much, just because it was going oop. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. So now I've got a few things that I wouldn't mind letting go, like the aforementioned Venuti/Lang set, the H.R.S. set and a couple of others..

Re:Jazz as a niche market. Most of the Mosaics number in 3,000-5,000 sets made, and some have stayed available for decades. Vintage pop-music or old rock boxed sets would sell that many in a matter of days, if not hours. My bet is that if and when the jazz craze hits China, these oop Mosaic will gain traction again. :)

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In 2010 a large (3,000-plus) CD collection of mostly jazz formerly owned by a Univ. of Georgia professor was brought to a local antique shop.

The manager had little idea of what to do and priced them at $3 each or five for $10.  I bought at least 50, along with Japanese box sets of Roland Kirk and Helen Merrill, plus a Mosaic of 'Mingus on Candid' CD box.  (The Kirk and Mingus were $40 each.)

Two weeks later, I returned and noticed about half of the collection was gone, so I asked the proprietor about the buyer.  "Someone from France saw my post on Craig's List and bought  'em.  He's got buyers in Eastern Europe and the Ukraine.".     

Looking to the East, Japan and South Korea continue to be huge markets for physical music product.  As a percentage of music purchased, physical media is about 85% in Japan.

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I sold a few Mosaic LP sets a year ago, of material which I now have on good sounding CDs. I found that it was realistic to expect to get $100-150 for each box set on ebay.

 

I have not had very good experiences with selling to buyers outside the U.S. on ebay. Maybe it is just me, or just my bad luck. I know that higher prices are possible by selling outside the U.S., but the problems can become expensive (refunds) or time consuming (endless tracking down of where the item is).

Edited by Hot Ptah

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I honestly don't think anyone here bought them as an investment. I just think the OP was looking to start a conversation to see what ofhers thought about the downward pricing trend. 

Then that's a good thing, because now we can pick up the ones we are missing cheaper, right?

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Looking to the East, Japan and South Korea continue to be huge markets for physical music product.  As a percentage of music purchased, physical media is about 85% in Japan.

Indeed, jazz reissue CD's are alive and well in Japan.  Blue Note just had a bunch of interesting titles reissued the last two months there.  When's the last time they reissued catalog titles in the US?  2009 or something like that?

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Looking to the East, Japan and South Korea continue to be huge markets for physical music product.  As a percentage of music purchased, physical media is about 85% in Japan.

Indeed, jazz reissue CD's are alive and well in Japan.  Blue Note just had a bunch of interesting titles reissued the last two months there.  When's the last time they reissued catalog titles in the US?  2009 or something like that?

No, much more recently.  This year, they issued the Miles, Coltrane and Clifford Brown titles, plus all of the LP reissues.

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Recent Mosaic sales on eBay.  This seller had a pretty decent collection that he put up at once, gives you an idea of what things are selling for these days.  

Interesting - big price on that 'Pendulum' select.

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Digital downloads overtook cd sales last year, and both are trending in opposite directions. I'm not saying the cd is on a fast track to becoming the next 8 track, but they are well on their way to becoming the next LP. 

I think digital downloads began to trend downwards last year too.  Vinyl was up but started from a very low base. 

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The Nat King Cole Trio set still goes for a healthy, if not extreme amount. The crash in Mosaic box sets is over played.

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Digital downloads overtook cd sales last year, and both are trending in opposite directions. I'm not saying the cd is on a fast track to becoming the next 8 track, but they are well on their way to becoming the next LP. 

I think digital downloads began to trend downwards last year too.  Vinyl was up but started from a very low base. 

Yeah, streaming took a fairly hefty bite out of the download market. I was just comparing the two mediums was all. 

Thing is, even with the 13-14% percent loss in digital sales, they still topped cd. That actually says a lot, I think. 

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cds will come back, no need for real stores. The sound on most of my historic discs (meaning older music) is generally way better than comparative LPs.

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cds will come back, no need for real stores. The sound on most of my historic discs (meaning older music) is generally way better than comparative LPs.

That's why a recent Guardian article about a journalist who had discovered a stack of old LPs in her new apartment and had decided to acquaint herself with more of the output of these artists, in this case Billie Holiday, by buying more old degraded vinyl at bargain prices equally annoyed and amused me.

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exactly; the reality is that mastering has become an art, and there is plenty of good work being done.

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I've noticed that you can often get a lot of the material that's in the Mosaic boxes at the various download or streaming places if you just want to listen to it and are not so concerned with the other trappings of a Mosaic boxed set. I tend to play everything through my computer anyway, so I only pick up "hard copy" of things that I can't find anywhere else and for which I really want the documentation and what not.

Apropos of nothing: high quality downloads or streaming combined with LP packaging would be a neat thing.

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cds will come back, no need for real stores. The sound on most of my historic discs (meaning older music) is generally way better than comparative LPs.

Well, I certainly don't share your optimism. 

 

Think about when you took up my challenge to listen to a well made digital file at 256kbps and compare it to cd. You said it was too close to call. With that being the case, why would cd make a comeback? I'm not saying they definitely won't, but I cannot see any solid reasons why they would. 

 

It is so much cheaper to store a digital master file and let people buy copies of it than it is to mass produce cds, ship them to market, and have a place to display them for sale. Or even just to produce and warehouse. 

Edited by Scott Dolan

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because of the permanence of the media - and the unavailability of so much that I own, in equivalent quality, as downloads; too much historical material is only available in inferior quality, and this will only get worse.

attitudes will change. People grow up. I actually think the download-culture has a very disposable, and hence changeable, attitude.

 

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