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Less than Honest Jons?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 9:59 am
by howard male
I thought you lot might be interested to read this email of protest I sent to Honest Jons a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say I didn't get a reply.

To Honest Jons Records

A word to the wise.

I am writing to you not as a world music journalist but as a punter on a limited budget and on behalf of several friends in the same boat.

We all agree that essentially Honest Jons charge far too much for their CDs. For example the pair of Lagos compilations you've just released - 'Lagos Chop Up' and 'Lagos All Routes'. Not only is £16.99 an outrageous price for a single album of back catalogue material (and very lo-fi back catologue material at that), but also, these two albums would have made far more sense as a double - even some of the sleeve notes are duplicated in both CDs. But of course then you wouldn't have been able to sting the consumer for an astonishing 34 quid!

And I'm not just thinking of the consumer here, guys - I am convinced if you put these CDs out at mid-price you would sell a whole lot more of them.

Take the recent soul diva re-releases - I wasn't going to pay £16 for a Candi Staton comp. I simply waited until I could get it in Fopp for a fiver. Had you priced it at around a tenner in the first place (mid or low price being the norm with much re-released material where studio costs haven't been incurred) you would have made a few more quid out of me.

So I will be giving 'Lagos Chop Up' the good review it deserves, but if I'd had to pay the price you're charging for it, I would have let you keep it!

Bring your prices down and sell more CDs - you know it makes sense.


Howard Male

Honest's policy - not the best

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:42 am
by Con Murphy
Good point about the double-CD. You can, of course, get these CDs for a lot less than £17 if you shop around (they're a tenner each on Amazon), but still, there'd be more chance of me getting them as a double for, say, £15, than having to decide on which one to get as a single. Chances are I'll end up purchasing neither.

London is the place for me 2

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:37 am
by David Godwin
Yesterday, I made my first visit for some months to HJ's. I'm glad that they have moved back 'upstairs', as I never liked their basement shop. I went to get this CD, and considering the entire package, I thought that £10 (£11.99 vinyl) was a very reasonable price.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 10:29 am
by Chris Walsh

If you want to complain about the retail price of Honest Jon's records in high street stores, then you're writing to the wrong people.

They are managed by EMI, just like Realworld, Narada and so many others. It's EMI who set the price. Further to that you should blame the shops them selves - their mark up is enormous.

I'll break it down.

Retail Cost: 16.99
Cost to HMV/Virgin etc: 9.50 (or less)
Actual Cost to HMV/Virgin (After file discount*): 8.05
Distribution Cost: Around 40p depends where it's going
Returns Contingency (price is usually bumped up a bit to anticipate any returns that may come back from retail (over stocks, faulties etc):50p

And so EMI are left with around 7.15 per disc. And out of that comes royalties (at a premium for compilations), manfacturing costs, EMI's profit, and finally Honest Jon's profit.

So you see that the stores are really the ones screwing you over. They get a 100% mark up, rather than the standard 50% for indies. (Which is why it's actually cheaper in Honest Jon's and on the internet.)
Whilst I would guess that out of your 16.99 - Honest Jon's probably get no more that 2pounds (maybe 3 at a push).

*File Discount = A mandatory discount that HMV and Virgin expect from all their suppliers. It means that all mark up percentages are based on the listed dealer price. But in reality what is paid is 15%-17% below that. Any supplier that does not comply is treated as an importer. And then the price really rockets.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 10:43 am
by howard male
I can see what you're saying Chris, but how come other labels put out mid price CDs, such as the new 'Introducing' series and loads of cheap compilations, and can do so and make it economically viable? Surely the same rules and price-breakdown apply to them as to Honest Jons?

As others in this topic have pointed out, The Lagos CDs can be bought cheaper if one looks around, but the fact remains they are still more expensive than they have any right to be, considering they are comps of old material. I repeat: They should have been a double CD because £34 for both is simply taking the piss.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:00 am
by Chris Walsh

You're certainly right that other labels manage it. However, it all depends on who their supplier is and what terms they have with the majors that affects the overall price. I imagine that World Music Network are pretty charitable to us as well.

While I agree that the Honest Jon's thing could have been a double, I would guess that EMI probably veto'd that idea. (I can't know for sure of course). There is more profit to be made out of single cd's than doubles. Also - smaller stores within big chains generally do not stock double cd's. Charlie's comp is a great exception to the rule. We've been very lucky with that one. It's also to do with past performance on Charlie's part.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:08 am
by joel
(Wo)Man the barricades: the Trolls are back in, and I don't mean Howard ;-)
FWIW, the Lagos Chop up compis make much more sense as 2 x 2LP sets in gorgeous gatefolds (prøn to follow). I buy a fair bit from HJ online, and the prices are pretty good. Especially good now the pound is @140 yen.
Edit. Sterling is @ 134 yen this morning.

Re: Dis Honest Jons?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:20 am
by monkey
Recently I tried to purchase a record from so-called Honest Jon's. This must be one of the greatest misnomers ever!

It must be company policy to insult customers as not only did I never receive the record after 2 months of being put off by an employee, and I received abuse from 2 members of staff for politely stating my disatisfaction over it not arriving.

From Mark:

"Christ, more pompous waffle."

From Alan:

"do us a favour and knock the pompous waffle on the head as well? Thanks.
Best wishes

Does the company believe it is in their interests to not only be incompetent but then to be rude to customers?

Re: Less than Honest Jons?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:43 pm
by jackdaw version
Not that I've ever been to the store, but when I tried to buy online they didn't have the release as advertised. Had no trouble getting the refund.

The label strikes me as boutique with boutique pricing and packaging. I was recently tempted by the Africa Boogaloo: The Latinization Of West Africa compilation when I encountered it in the flesh at Easy Street, but I put it back in the rack. Later, I downloaded a boot and felt reassured that I'd made the right decision.