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Columbia House files for bankruptcy


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The owner of onetime mail-order music giant Columbia House filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, seeking to sell what remains of its business after almost two decades of declining revenue.

 

Filmed Entertainment Inc. filed for chapter 11 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, citing the advent of digital music and dramatic changes in technology that are threatening to render CDs and DVDs obsolete.

 

Since peaking in 1996 at about $1.4 billion, revenue has declined almost every year since, according to FEI director Glenn Langberg. Last year, net revenue was just $17 million.

 

“This decline is directly attributable to a confluence of market factors that substantially altered the manner in which consumers purchase and listen to music, as well as the way consumers purchase and watch movies and television series at home,” Mr. Langberg said in court papers.

 

 

Fat Lady Sings for Columbia House - WSJ

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I used Columbia house to build my music collection from the beginning. My Mother would join and split the free albums with me when I was a teenager, and I moved to CD's in college. Through constant joining and rejoining, I built a collection of several hundred CD's. I stopped using them in the late 90's once I started working for the Musicland Group, and could get even better deals on music.

 

I'm like many others...I had no idea they were still in business, and haven't even seen or thought about Columbia House in many years. I did know they had a DVD side to the business, but I never used it. Even though their CD's were overpriced, if you crunched, the numbers and took advantage of the right deals (some offered more CD's with less of a commitment), you could come out ahead. Once big box retailers started using CD's as traffic drivers and selling new releases for around $10, there was no way Columbia House could compete. I always wondered though, how many people never completed their agreement, or used bogus names to get free CD's. I knew guys in college that would sign up using phony names every time they moved into a new apartment.

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Did they ever offer 8 tracks?

 

I'm pretty sure they did. As I said earlier, my Mother was a serial user of Columbia House. My parents had an 8 track player in the house and in one of the cars, and I'm pretty certain she went through a stage where she bought nothing but 8 tracks through Columbia House. Columbia House was the only place I remember my Mother buying music from growing up.

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I to can't believe they are still around.

 

Back in high school ('80-'84), as much as I wanted to, I never joined. I always waited till friends bought something I wanted and just made copies.......my early start in "pirating" free music. :lol:

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Actually according to the article, it looks like the music division has been gone since 2010, and the DVD portion has been handled by a third party for the last several years. They used to advertise everywhere, and there was a application you'd either get in the mail or find in the Sunday paper. And if you had joined and quit, they used to offer even better deals..

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