Time Keeps Draggin' On


Music Radar has an interesting little story on one of the few successes in today's declining music business: the Los Angeles company Pack Central, who is turning a tidy profit selling cassette tapes and CDs to America's burgeoning prison population. From the story:

Pack Central's success is easy to explain—prisoners have to buy their music in physical formats because they can't download it. "I have dodged every conventional bullet that has hit most music retailers," says company owner Bob Paris. "The beauty of it is that prisoners don't have internet access and never will."

So, what's been pumping on the cons' stereos recently? Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, Usher, Rihanna, Nickelback and Leona Lewis are all currently popular on the inside, while Al Green's Greatest Hits, Michael Jackson's Thriller and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon are perennial favourites.

I get Pink Floyd, but Nickelback?

Whole thing here. Senior Editor Brian Doherty on why you shouldn't cry for the record company man here.

(via Brooklyn Vegan)


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  1. Do prisoners still use those 80’s style boomboxes?

  2. The real story here is that our prison populations have grown so large that a single company can directly market a product exclusively to (at?) them and turn a ‘tidy’ profit.

  3. Clearly the solution to music piracy is to proactively imprison all potential music consumers, hence eliminating the threat of digital piracy and ensuring the growth of the physical media market.

  4. Is it Park Central or Pack Central?

  5. I get Pink Floyd, but Nickelback?

    Uhh, despite our government’s best attempts, not all prisoners are black.

    You damn racist!

  6. Do non-violent drug offenders like shitty rock music (Nickelback)? Signs point to yes.

  7. apparently a lot of people like Nickelback *shudders*
    They only have one song, anyway, which keeps getting resold as a different song.

    Has anyone else ever visited “This is how you remind me of someday?”

  8. Nickelback fans in prison? I actually feel good about this fact.

  9. There’s also Music By Mail, another (maybe the other) catalog music company. At the prison where I work, the inmates just got access to CD players. Think about that for a minute while you ponder and then criticize their musical choices. When’s the last time you bought a contemporary music cassette?

    Anyhow, they can’t have boomboxes since they make too much noise. In fact, their teevees don’t even have speakers (and are made of clear plastic and are cheaper than dirt in every way but price.) To make speakers, the inmates take two styrofoam cup-o-rice cups, put a pair of headphones over them, and turn it up. Sounds a bit tinny if they don’t do it right, but it works.

    And some inmates will hold on to their cassette players for a long time, since the electric motors make the best tattoo guns available. Not that I really know anything about that, but word on the yards is that’s how it’s done.

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