How is classical CD buying in Australia?

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Lance
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How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:28 pm

I used to buy a lot of CDs from Australia, mostly on the Eloquence label, but very few now. Around the USA, with the exception of perhaps NYC and larger cities, brick-and-mortar stores are now absent. Places like Barnes & Noble have just a bare minimum of what they used to carry and I haven't purchased a disc from B&N in years. England now seems to be the place to go for good selections, and, of course, Amazon. But I note Amazon is raising prices somewhat and due to tax laws, no matter from whence the discs come (even from out of the country), tax is added. It goes without saying that New York State experienced a huge loss in revenue until the law was changed. [If you love taxes, you will love New York State!] Is Australia experiencing the same thing? Do classical buyers in Down Under depend on places like Amazon or Presto?
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Belle
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:35 pm

Sadly, we have much the same experience here in Australia. Shops like Discurio in Melbourne closed last year after 96 years of business!! I do buy from Amazon and can only use the Australian website because of the consumption tax issues you mention. Ironically, items take longer to get here than from USA, and that includes books! I prefer to go into a shop and browse because I'll often find things I wasn't looking for, so Amazon is useful only if you know what you want. And they're not very good for deletions/second hand, "no longer available". These used to come from private buyers in the USA and you'd pay through the nose but I'm unsure how that will work now with Amazon Australia.

I am very annoyed about only being able to shop at Amazon Australia and it's yet another reason why I say the party I vote for is "the least worst option" in politics!!!

To my knowledge, Gramola is still going in Graben, Vienna. I was last in there in 2015 and they stack CDs right up to the ceiling and have very knowledgeable staff who'd put on the CD for you in case you were ambivalent about it. They seem to sell a lot of DVDs too; all musical, of course. All of these mediums are now under siege by the internet and smart TVs. What is a retailer to do in such a challenging environment? I'm betting the rents in Graben, Vienna, are staggering!!

https://www.gramola.at/

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:27 pm

Sue, cannot understand why you cannot buy from Amazon/USA since they are now charging sales tax to all states (apparently) that have taxes that could work in Australia, I should think. Have you tried Amazon/UK, or Presto Records in England (a fine place with a huge catalogue). It was unfortunate that MDT in England had to go out of business as well. JPC in Germany is rather on the high-priced side. No question … online buying has hurt local businesses substantially. Locally, our Sears and Macys closed their doors at the malls, among several other stores leaving the malls without their mainstay (big) stores. While we are a college town here, we have tons of restaurants (chain-type) but I understand Friday's, Applebee's, Outback, and others are hanging on with threads. When colleges close down for the summer, students don't pack the places like they might normally.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Belle
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:10 pm

Lance wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:27 pm
Sue, cannot understand why you cannot buy from Amazon/USA since they are now charging sales tax to all states (apparently) that have taxes that could work in Australia, I should think. Have you tried Amazon/UK, or Presto Records in England (a fine place with a huge catalogue). It was unfortunate that MDT in England had to go out of business as well. JPC in Germany is rather on the high-priced side. No question … online buying has hurt local businesses substantially. Locally, our Sears and Macys closed their doors at the malls, among several other stores leaving the malls without their mainstay (big) stores. While we are a college town here, we have tons of restaurants (chain-type) but I understand Friday's, Applebee's, Outback, and others are hanging on with threads. When colleges close down for the summer, students don't pack the places like they might normally.
I have tried to access Amazon USA but have been unable to do so!! Or this was the case when I tried several months ago. I haven't heard of those other places you mention but can try Amazon UK, but I imagine we'll be blocked from using this too.

I discovered the limits of online buying just recently; though not really a fan as I prefer to shop in store, I bought my WA son a dinner set from one of our leading retailers. It arrived late, was not delivered to the home as I had requested and 3 of the plates were smashed. When I complained to them (David Jones is the store) I found I was unable to speak to anybody but had to 'chat' online to somebody in the Philippines (presumably) who kept saying "please be patient while I look up your details". I heard this for 20 minutes before fuming about the appalling service. I had emailed and got no response prior to this. Life is too short for such frustration and, apart from books, CDs and DVDs, I'll never shop online, except for one company - Peters of Kensington (Sydney), whose products and service are absolutely superb.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:29 pm

Well, join the club. I, too, have had some frustrations with Amazon third party sellers. Just yesterday I received a CD that was cracked, thus unplayable. The jewel case was in perfect condition indicating it was not damaged in transit. The third party that sold it sent me a defective/broken copy. They should check the merchandise before they ship. On other occasions, the CD was missing or the booklet was, never having been shown in the description. On a few occasions, I also got the incorrect item. Amazon, when they ship without third party, is outstanding, especially with PRIME service, the cost of which is additional but worth it.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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John F
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by John F » Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:32 pm

Nobody "loves taxes," but New Yorkers (this one anyway) love the public services that the tax revenues are spent on, which few other states provide. For example, it costs the MTA more than $15 billion a year to run the region’s massive transit network of trains, buses and subways, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; everywhere else, public transportation shuts down ca. midnight. Of the MTA's budget, $5.3 billion comes from dedicated taxes and $1.2 billion from state and local subsidies. You upstate folks may not appreciate the MTA's service, except the millions who commute to work in NYC or need to get home after the opera,
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barney
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by barney » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:21 am

I don't buy many CDs because I still get some to review, though far less than even two years go. Lance, Eloquence is still going strong. I just received 8 CDs of all Brahms' orchestral music with the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Masur, and 9 CDs of the complete Bruckner symphonies with different conductors: Abbado, Stein, Bohm, Maazel, Solti and Mehta.
Certainly retail opportunities are vanishing. Sue, I think Discurio closed many more years ago than one; but you may be thinking of Thomas's, which was a really fine store in Bourke St, now gone. Or maybe Discurio had a Sydney branch that hung on longer. It was founded by a passionate music lover, Peter Mann.
But I buy a lot of books online, mostly either via Book Depository (free delivery) or Abebooks, which is a worldwide collective and rival to Amazon. I haven't had any problems at all.

maestrob
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:16 pm

Lance,

A point worth making here is that I buy quite a lot from amazon's third party sellers, and find them very reliable. I've only been stiffed once, by an outfit that sent me the wrong title twice, and I applied for a return/refund and got my money back within a week each time. In fact, I find amazon's prices for amazon Prime quite high, and often buy from third party sellers for a hefty discount.

Belle,

My own procedure for broken merchandise is to dispute the charge with my credit card immediately (telling them that I've already contacted the offending company). The result is that my card issues a credit to my account right away, so the retailer in question can bear the burden of faulty service.

As for CDs, the anti-competitive practices of your government astound me! Not being able to order from the USA or England is axtremely confining, I must say. Trade agreements we have with the EU allow us to order from European sellers without paying VAT: we just have to declare the purchase on our taxes when we file (I generally spend less than $1000 overseas/year so that's what I put.).

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:16 pm

barney wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:21 am
I don't buy many CDs because I still get some to review, though far less than even two years go. Lance, Eloquence is still going strong. I just received 8 CDs of all Brahms' orchestral music with the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Masur, and 9 CDs of the complete Bruckner symphonies with different conductors: Abbado, Stein, Bohm, Maazel, Solti and Mehta.
Certainly retail opportunities are vanishing. Sue, I think Discurio closed many more years ago than one; but you may be thinking of Thomas's, which was a really fine store in Bourke St, now gone. Or maybe Discurio had a Sydney branch that hung on longer. It was founded by a passionate music lover, Peter Mann.
But I buy a lot of books online, mostly either via Book Depository (free delivery) or Abebooks, which is a worldwide collective and rival to Amazon. I haven't had any problems at all.
Yes, you are correct; it was Thomas's. Discurio was a great store and I was very sad to learn of its passing. The Sydney store which closed ages ago was Tarantella at Gordon.

Belle
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:22 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:16 pm
Lance,

A point worth making here is that I buy quite a lot from amazon's third party sellers, and find them very reliable. I've only been stiffed once, by an outfit that sent me the wrong title twice, and I applied for a return/refund and got my money back within a week each time. In fact, I find amazon's prices for amazon Prime quite high, and often buy from third party sellers for a hefty discount.

Belle,

My own procedure for broken merchandise is to dispute the charge with my credit card immediately (telling them that I've already contacted the offending company). The result is that my card issues a credit to my account right away, so the retailer in question can bear the burden of faulty service.

As for CDs, the anti-competitive practices of your government astound me! Not being able to order from the USA or England is axtremely confining, I must say. Trade agreements we have with the EU allow us to order from European sellers without paying VAT: we just have to declare the purchase on our taxes when we file (I generally spend less than $1000 overseas/year so that's what I put.).
I did sort out the broken dinner set, finally. American Express was also excellent recently dealing with my disputed charge from MediciTV. I wrote to them and thanked them, assuring of our future custom. Amazon US was also excellent with the few breakages and problems I've had over the years. But I'm generally steering completely clear of online shopping, thinking the capacity for rip-offs is huge; you just don't know what you're getting from a picture and description.

Unlike JohnF, I hate taxes - especially when I'm the one paying huge amounts of it. Mostly consumption taxes. In 2017 we bought a new car and we paid a huge amount of GST (goods and services tax) as well as an additional "luxury car tax". And it all came to a five figure amount!!

Let it never be said that Australian retirees do not pay tax!!!

barney
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by barney » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:31 pm

I'm too mean (and possibly too skint) ever to buy a new car. I can't bear that you lose about 30% in depreciation the second you drive out the door. My last few cars, since we became older and more comfortable, have been a year old, with most of the depreciation already gone.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:48 pm

barney wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:31 pm
I'm too mean (and possibly too skint) ever to buy a new car. I can't bear that you lose about 30% in depreciation the second you drive out the door. My last few cars, since we became older and more comfortable, have been a year old, with most of the depreciation already gone.
You only realize the loss if you sell the car. We won't be selling. The car will last longer than we will!! If I do come into some cash, however, I'd like a sedan of the same brand because the SUV is very high and impossible to wash. Cannot take it to car wash because of the paint protection system, which means it never needs polishing, but requires only 'conditioning' car shampoo!! That car lives better than some people in developing nations!!!

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:17 pm

John F, your point is well taken. For New York City-area dwellers, it probably is very effective cost-wise for you folks. But my state taxes are helping to pay for it and I get no benefit from it on a local level. Much of the state revenue goes to the larger cities with high population and NYC is the biggest. It doesn't seem quite fair, does it? Now Amazon is charging taxes on ALL orders, even if the items arrive from out of the USA, we have to pay 8% tax just because Amazon is a "clearing house" for third-party vendors working through their site. It used to be the rule that if a company or institution that sells commercially has a brick-and-mortar store or presence within NYS, we would have to pay the tax. Amazon has no brick-and-mortar store in NYS (though they almost did but lost it because of Cuomo), then I would gladly pay the tax. And it is true that most states were losing considerable tax money because Amazon was not charging taxes. Seems to me, the more fair thing to do is if the vendor is located within NYS - pay the sales tax. If not, the sales tax is not levied. Now I'm paying tax on everything from Amazon, even goods shipped from England, California or elsewhere. Amazon tried to fight for no taxes, but they lost out on that, thanks to our politicians.
John F wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:32 pm
Nobody "loves taxes," but New Yorkers (this one anyway) love the public services that the tax revenues are spent on, which few other states provide. For example, it costs the MTA more than $15 billion a year to run the region’s massive transit network of trains, buses and subways, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; everywhere else, public transportation shuts down ca. midnight. Of the MTA's budget, $5.3 billion comes from dedicated taxes and $1.2 billion from state and local subsidies. You upstate folks may not appreciate the MTA's service, except the millions who commute to work in NYC or need to get home after the opera,
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:26 pm

You said: "I hate taxes" - and at my age now, I DO TOO! School taxes, sales taxes, county taxes … and on and on. It seems to me that those reaching 70 years of age should not have to pay (at least) school taxes, which rise continually - even if you have a "Star" program. I certainly believe in quality education, but I also believe those who use the SERVICES or schools should also pay for them.
Belle wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:22 pm

[...] Unlike JohnF, I hate taxes - especially when I'm the one paying huge amounts of it. Mostly consumption taxes. In 2017 we bought a new car and we paid a huge amount of GST (goods and services tax) as well as an additional "luxury car tax". And it all came to a five figure amount!!

Let it never be said that Australian retirees do not pay tax!!!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Belle
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:53 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:26 pm
You said: "I hate taxes" - and at my age now, I DO TOO! School taxes, sales taxes, county taxes … and on and on. It seems to me that those reaching 70 years of age should not have to pay (at least) school taxes, which rise continually - even if you have a "Star" program. I certainly believe in quality education, but I also believe those who use the SERVICES or schools should also pay for them.
Belle wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:22 pm

[...] Unlike JohnF, I hate taxes - especially when I'm the one paying huge amounts of it. Mostly consumption taxes. In 2017 we bought a new car and we paid a huge amount of GST (goods and services tax) as well as an additional "luxury car tax". And it all came to a five figure amount!!

Let it never be said that Australian retirees do not pay tax!!!
You'll get no argument from me about a user pays system. We pay for roads in our taxes and public transport and we have to also pay to use them. Same should apply to state school education.

barney
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by barney » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:03 am

Well, I have no problem with paying higher taxes for a luxury car. You don't NEED a luxury car; it's a lifestyle choice. And I entirely support your right to make it. But nor do I have a problem with your making a contribution as a result.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:12 am

We also paid lots to have our 4 children go through Catholic schools. Out of our own pockets. When our Principal at the state highschool where I taught said he couldn't get the majority of parents to even contribute $50 for a yearly fee my blood boiled - especially when many of them paid for extravagant 'schoolies' for their school-leaving children on the Gold Coast, cruises etc. And I don't remember how many times out on 'bus duty' I'd see flash AWDs pull up to take the kids home.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:58 am

Well, let's say you have the cash to pay, say $100,000 for a Bentley automobile to be purchased in the USA. And that's ALL you have If the tax is added at 8%, that's $8,000 more to pay the tax - $$$ you don't have. So you don't get your automobile. On the other hand, if all you had was $100,000, you might have no business even thinking about a purchase like this! You might be better off buying a Ford Escort … for practical purposes.

I think I mentioned this on another thread long ago, when a fine Canadian friend of mine (an American who moved to Canada), chastised me when I complained of having to pay $1.60 in tax on a $20 CD. His comment was that I should think of it as $21.60 for the item and quit complaining!

If you are buying a $500 big boxed CD set on Sviatoslav Richter in NYC, the tax would be $41.25 at 8 and a quarter percent. You might think twice about dropping off to the government the additional $41.25, foil the sale, so the seller loses out too.

I'm being picky tonight - maybe it's the cold weather. But I am sure people do NOT buy some items when they figure in the tax. Nobody wins then, the seller, buyer, nor the state tax people. We go without!
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Belle
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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:52 am

I absolutely hear you. Tax on properties in Australia is huge. Not just GST (goods and services taxes) on all purchases, restaurant food, consumables etc., but on housing it's very steep. Just say I bought a house for $500K - and that I'd struggled hard to get a deposit and had to borrow 75% for that purchase from the bank: I'd have $20,000 tax to pay the state government, costs to the bank/institution to apply for and trigger the loan and then the costs of conveyancing to buy, then further state taxes. I'm glad I'm not a young person trying to save for a home. My later father used to say, "you're only here to support the state". By god, he was right.

We have user pays for roads, public transport, water and public hospitals (funded through an income levy). Even the poor pensioners in Australia have to find fares for public transport and money for registration of motor vehicles, insurance and fuel levies to run their cars (which many of them use only sporadically). The only place nobody pays is state school education and that's totally unreasonable, for the reasons I listed earlier. It's unsustainable and it needs to be means-tested so that poor kids can get a fair go and the middle class has to stump up. I feel passionately about this as pensioners are effectively subsidizing the lifestyles of the affluent middle class who get free education for their kids, which includes free books. This was unheard of when my own 4 children were at school. Parents of state school kids pay the same taxes as those of us who do not use the system. And it's a hangover from the days of the (Australian) colonies when universal free education was promulgated. Times have changed and this policy needs serious review as there are now so many calls upon our resources. We need to lift the at-risk kids at the bottom and the only way to do that is through means testing.

I'll buy my CDs and pay the tax, but it's cheaper to listen to a lot of things on U-Tube for nothing. Of course, they can vanish overnight too.

And who is going to take our CDs, books and DVDs when we die? We had this conversation on Thursday at our music group, with everybody saying nobody in their families are interested in their parents' musical tastes or objects d'art. Antiques have fallen out of favour too. One friend said she had very old books and a chaise lounge from 1820 which nobody in the family wanted. I try not to think too much about it because it's too depressing.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:57 am

Back to the Amazon thing and paying taxes.

Last year the government, under then treasurer Scott Morrison, decided to collect GST (sales tax) from purchases outside of Australia at any price point. Originally this was for goods over $1000 but now applies to everything regardless or price. Instead of having our customs and excise people collect the tax, they made overseas vendors liable for this and demanded that they add the GST to the cost of the goods being purchased.

Amazon.com didn't want to be a tax collector for an overseas government (I can understand why) and told Morrison where he could stick his idea. They then, via geocaching and delivery addresses, prevented Australians from buying from the US site. We are a small country and the loss of our business was negligible for them. They also had a vested interest in their new Amazon.com.au store being used instead. Before the introduction of the legislation, Australians generally would use the US site for the following reasons and the Aussie Amazon store was doing poorly.

Cost (much cheaper)
Range of products (Amazon Australia has about 10% of the goods available from the US store)
Delivery time (amazingly, it's quicker coming from the US).

While I could use delivery services in the US that would then send on goods to Australia I also realised that there is more than Amazon out there and there are online store who have no intention of complying with the Australian governments wishes because - they can't be made to.

However, it's goodbye to Amazon from me.

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:04 am

Bravo, you've nailed it 100%. I use Goodreads for books but still use Amazon Australia for some things - which, as you said, takes longer to get here. My patience (not good at the best of times) is wearing thin.

I've even flirted with buying from Gramola in Vienna but the conversion costs are not easily negotiated on any day and postage costs from Austria to anywhere are HORRENDOUS.

And the party I vote for is the least worst option. That's all!! :roll:

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Re: How is classical CD buying in Australia?

Post by barney » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:27 am

If Amazon Australia doesn't have an item, will it forward the request to Amazon US? Or are you just out of luck?
I don't give much thought to GST when I'm buying online - I imagine the Book Depository and Abebooks, my usual sources, do not pay it.

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