Off: CD Promo

Paul Mather paul at GROMIT.DLIB.VT.EDU
Fri Aug 26 23:49:43 EDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-08-26 at 20:32 -0400, Stephe wrote:
> Hi Paul, Well you know if it was 5 years down the road, it would probably be
> a rare item right. Noone would think much then. THese guys are selling them
> hot off the press. I still think its a slap in the face. This is brand new.
> The album isn't released yet. Isn't a promo supposed to promote? How can it
> promote, if its free and has to be paid for? Record stores don't sell
> promo's. Maybe they should, but they'd get prosecuted. Its illegal. Read
> whats on the cd!!!

Five minutes or five years, it's all the same once they've been issued.
A lot of promos are likely to appear on the market close to their being
issued, because that's when DJs etc. will have them pass through their
hands and hence into the used realm.  This is the best time, as a fan,
to buy them, because it's when most are likely to be on the market.  I
don't know why it's a slap in the face to sell them now rather than next
week; next month; or next year.  Only a finite number of them are being
released onto the second-hand market (guaranteed to passport holders,
not to others).  And, again, I don't understand why it is a slap in the
face to sell *this* promo item and not other Hawkwind promo items.  They
all ultimately get billed to Hawkwind.

You could actually successfully make the argument that those being sold
on eBay are acting as promos for the band, though.  Everyone that sees
that auction now knows there is a new Hawkwind album coming out, which
is the primary function of the promo (to create awareness).  EBay is a
huge market, so, arguably, this is exposing the upcoming album to more
pairs of eyes that just sending them to passport holders (who presumably
know already there is a new album coming out).  You may personally
consider selling these promos as the act of an evil-doer, but it's not
all downside.  Plus, fans are likely to pay less through eBay, as they
don't necessarily have to finance the markup that "Collectibles" dealers
add on as finders fees/overheads, etc.

> I don't think a true HW fan would even sell theirs. Were these other promos,
> collectors have bought given out by the band?

In a way, yes.  They weren't sent directly to fans, like this one, but,
unless Hawkwind had radically different contracts with their record
companies, these promos would ultimately be billed to the band.  Things
like advances, studio time, promotion, etc., are not free.  They are
recouped by the record company from sales.  Nowadays, Hawkwind are more
of a homebrew outfit, because they lack a major label contract (so far
as I know), so grass roots efforts like the current promo dissemination
are more likely and more sensible for successful promotion of the new
album.  You may categorise it as a "gift to fans," but it is also
fundamentally a promotional tool.  (If it were truly a gift, it would
not have strings attached.  Let's be accurate here.)

I don't want to get into the "true HW fan" argument, because there's far
too much zealotry swirling around the world nowadays as it is, and it
leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

>  Did I miss something or maybe
> its back in the olden days before I was a fan. I may be mistaken, but its
> free for the asking via the HW website.

Sure, it's free for the asking (assuming you know to do so, and, I
guess, are online); it's only guaranteed to passport holders.  Only a
finite number will be distributed, leading to an inevitable market for

>  Selling it is making money on the
> band. Its BOLLOCKS!!!!!

I agree.  I'm just confused that this outrage has not surfaced before
when previous promos have been sold.

>  Same as selling boots. If one was to use it for
> charity as Colin has, then why not do it as a raffle at a gig? It would
> probably generate a better response.  Selling it is wrong, and I think any
> fan who does it should be shot in the head.

Shooting people in the head for selling a promo sounds a little extreme
to me.  I hope you're not suggesting we shoot Colin in the head. :-)

>  If your not a collector, that
> doesn't give you the right to sell. Its illegal!! See you in court.

Why is it okay if you're a collector?  (What makes someone a collector,
anyway?)  I agree about the illegality (or at least prohibition), what
with the "For promotional use only.  Not for sale." and all printed
clearly.  But this is printed clearly on all the Hawkwind promos that
have ever been issued down through the years, and I've never heard the
Thought Police come out saying people should be shot in the head for
selling those in the past.

I guess I'm just confused about all the fuss over this particular promo
being sold and not the others, which are also labelled as not for sale
and ultimately paid for by the band.  But, I guess I should shut up
about it for fear of jeopardising my chances of getting one myself (I'm
not a passport holder, so I have to throw in my lot with all the other
leftover lottery punters)... ;-)


e-mail: paul at

"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production
 deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."
        --- Frank Vincent Zappa

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