Anyone else remember the Columbia House Music Club?

There was a time when you couldn’t escape the magazine adds, tear-outs, lap cards, and inserts advertising the Columbia House Music Club. Up to thirteen albums for a penny? Sign me up!

The only catch was that you had to agree to purchases X number of monthly album choices for the regular club price. Those prices tended to be a little on the high side, so it all evened out in the end. And it was a great way to start a music collection. And (as we’ll see in a moment) was a great way for labels to move product.

Columbia House Music Club is long gone, a victim of the digital era. Here’s a look back at the company’s history, including the trick people used to game the system.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Anyone else remember the Columbia House Music Club?

  • February 22, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Yes! A Columbia House member more than once and Time Life Classic Rock too.

  • February 23, 2021 at 11:37 am

    “great way for labels to move product.” is some of the most infuriating, depressing Corporate Weasel Speak i have heard in a VERY long time.

    This sort of mentality ought to be reserved for Carnies and the like.

  • February 23, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    You’re a goof!

  • February 23, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Great article!


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