Monday, November 11, 2002

From the In Box: Music to My Ears XVII
File this under "Biting off More than You Can Listen to," I suppose...

Sorry for the impersonal email, but so many people have signed up for the CD Mix of the Month that I'm forced to get a little impersonal.

Thanks everybody for signing up. I just wanted to mention something:

This thing has gotten very large over the last couple of months. It used to be remarkable if I'd trade CDs with 40 people in a month. Well, last month, almost 400 people signed up, and this month's not too far behind.

So... last month I was forced to ask for money. Here's the deal: I'm asking you to please put $3 or $4 in your envelope when you send your CD's to me. I know it's annoying, but it costs me about $3 in materials and postage alone for each person trading. That's an expense I'm willing to support when there are only a couple dozen people trading, but when the numbers get this large, I really have no interest in (or resources to support) blowing $1,000 a month on this.

So please throw a few bucks in your envelope. (More's always welcome, of course, and goes directly to the Josh Benton Student Loan Pay-Off Fund.) If you've already send your discs, you can always PayPal me.

If you've got any questions, just email me. I'm really sorry to have to do this, but if I didn't ask for cash to meet some of my expenses, I'd be forced to kill off the club entirely. (For anyone concerned: I'm still not making any money off this thing. Last month, I still paid about $100 out-of-pocket for this.)

Remember, please get your mixes in the mail ASAP; November 25 is the deadline, but earlier's always better. I finally settled the November mix this weekend, and it should be hella good.
-- Josh Benton

See what happens when you make an offer like that? Wow. 40 to 400 requests in a month or two. I'm of mixed mind when thinking about his recent email to potential traders, though. I can understand the overwhelming response he's received -- and can appreciate his concerns about the increase in out-of-pocket expense to support the project. At the same time, this is what "trade" means. If you want to trade mix tapes -- or zines, or whatever -- you trade. If you don't want to bear the brunt of the trade economy, you "sell" your wares. I'm not convinced that it's worth paying for a mix made by a stranger -- even if I can see past playlists -- and especially if I am requested to send a mix in exchange as well. I'm not getting reimbursed for my materials and postage. I'm trading. Trading and paying at the same time seems a bit much to ask. Still, I don't begrudge Benton the success of his project, and I don't begrudge him his change of heart.

Be careful what you ask for; you might get it. That said, my offer still stands. If you send me a mix tape or CD at the address in the left-hand column of Media Diet, I will reciprocate. (Until I experience the Benton Effect, I guess.)

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