Music and the Merchandise

Hello coffee lovers and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s Corner at Olive’s Café, where you get insights on thoughts of life.


It’s been quite a while since I wrote an opinion post, mainly because I wanted to focus on the fables and quotes as there were little content in those pages. However, as time passed, it was becoming more forced to have to find new fables and quotes to talk about and analyze how they would fit into society today. So, I decided to leave those pages seasonal so that way, the ideas can come naturally.

Now, onto the juice!

Here’s my opinion on music and the merchandise: I’ve been genuinely fascinated with the differences in how albums are being sold when I purchase them from different artists. The difference between back in the early 2000s and now is incredible. Of course, there’s also the cost that makes a difference as well, but the important thing is the experience that comes with buying the albums and their entire package.

During my early adolescence, I would ask my family to buy me albums from B2K, B5, and Ciara. The moment I would get home, I would open the albums and immediately insert the CDs into the CD player and play the songs, while look into their photo booklet of them, the songs, and the credits of the producers. The albums back then were very minimal, as they didn’t have all the extra content that came with the albums. However, it didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the songs they created. I blasted the songs, and even put my favorite songs on repeat because I enjoyed them so much.

As technology started to advance over the years, I drew away from buying CDs as I bought the songs that I liked on iTunes instead. I didn’t see a point in buying the CDs anymore as the songs were available in my iPod, then later iPhone, and I didn’t want any clutter.

It was the same case when I got into K-pop in the summer of 2010, but the case was that their songs were not available in the States yet, so I couldn’t get their physical copies, let alone buy their music on iTunes. I had no other choice but to listen to them on YouTube. As soon as they were available in the States, I would buy my favorite songs on iTunes from 2NE1, 4Minute, 2PM, and many more. As for the physical copies of the albums, they were still not available in the US market, and I didn’t know where to get the copies from.

That is, until 2020 came…

Because of social media, I connected with other K-pop fans, and found a way to get my physical copies. At first, I was afraid of buying them, not because of the limited space I had, but because I didn’t want to be scammed, and because of COVID, I didn’t want to wait for an extensive amount of time. I mean, I was ordering albums all the way from Korea, and it was unfamiliar to me. I was also afraid because of the cost when I assumed that the album packaging would end up being the same as when I first got my albums from my old favorite artists. However, I was relieved to learn that a normal K-pop album would consist of the CD itself, photo books, and other content. So, I looked forward to receiving my first ever K-pop album.

I waited so impatiently because I saw so many people receiving their albums faster than me, and I was ready to send a message to the online store that I bought my copies from. Then, they finally notified me that they finally shipped my copies, and I was excited! My first ever K-pop album I’m talking about is the WE:TH album by PENTAGON, and it came in two versions, SEEN and UNSEEN. I also had the digital copy of the album because I wanted to listen to the songs upon release, and I genuinely loved their songs! Anyways, as I opened my package, I was amazed by the amount of content that came with it. I received two large posters that complimented the versions of the albums and two extra photo cards. Now, inside the packaging of the album was the experience that I have never felt before.

I was amazed by how beautiful the package was, and the content that was in it. Inside in each copy was the CD in the envelope, and it had writing on the envelope, two photo cards- one of them having a scratch-off in the back that hides a quote of the group members, a bookmark, a sticker, a lyric pamphlet, and photo books. The UNSEEN version had individual photobooks for each member and their assigned colors, and one group photo book, while the SEEN version had one whole photo book with all the members’ photos in it. Telling you that I was impressed with what I received would be putting it lightly. I was ELATED beyond reason.

When it comes down to cost, it was pretty reasonable, to the fact that it would have cost the same if I would have bought the copies in one of the stores in the US. The cost of each of the copies were $24.00 from one of the available online stores, and it was the album itself plus shipping. It sounds crazy, because it is, but with what I received it was worth it, and I considered it as a gift for myself for my hard work. So, I thought of it as a treat, and I was fortunate enough not to pay more than that because fans were paying more than that because of the country they lived in. Now, comparing that to the albums I got back in the early 2000s, one copy would cost $10.00 just for the CD and photo booklet, and it would cost maybe an extra if the album came with a DVD that showed special features. If I wanted the extra goods, say a poster, I would have to buy a magazine with my favorite groups in it with the posters attached to them. That would be an extra $5.30 back them. I would imagine how much it would cost to get extra merchandise, like bookmarks, stickers, and photo cards. All of that would have been separate.

In my opinion, it’s not about the quantity of the goods that comes with the albums in the package, but the quality that makes the experience all the more personal and meaningful. Of course, I still have to enjoy the music, that’s the point of buying an album. So, I always make sure that when I do get an album, it’s from the artists that I enjoy listening to. We can always settle for the minimal amount of goods we get from when we buy a physical copy of an album from our favorite artists, just to get the album and not want the extra content that come in the package. However, I find that just like books, getting a packaged album is a great way to have conversations with people that have similar taste in music and interest in artists. What makes buying an album worth it is not just the songs, but the experience of the extra content that comes with it when we open the album.

Remember, we don’t always have to buy the physical copies of the albums to show support for our favorite artists. But when we do, we think about the experience we get when we open our copy of an album and pull all kinds of goods that would normally come separately at another cost.

Thank you for tuning in on Olive’s Corner at Olive’s Café!

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