What happened was, I got a note from my friend Adam “Vudu” (MySpace) about his new CD echo :: dubstyle. I have a soft spot for dub and liked the samples, so I hit the “Buy” button. The record is good, a huge bargain at $12.97, go get it. But the buying experience was out of the ordinary.

echo: dubstyle

The Music · I understand there are people out there who don’t like dub; how unfortunate. This isn’t my favorite dub record—that would be Dub the Rock by Israel Vibration—but it’s a keeper. It’s traditional, Adam’s not trying to push back the edges of the medium. There are some surprising bass tracks—that’s his home instrument—plus he he works the soundstage well and keeps the textures shifting, without ever losing that heavy dub lilt.

I was listening while writing, and track 8, Sidestep Dub, yanked my attention away from the computer; it’s got some intelligent cool-electronica punctuation and I was sad when it ended.

There are fourteen dubs here, then eight are offered again in “slowed” (with a credit to DJ Screw for the notion) versions. I ain’t anywhere near hip enough to know about screwing or slowing, but eight more dub tracks is a good thing. I zeroed on on my fave Sideways Dub and I like it both screwed and unscrewed. This is a good thing.

Like I said, a bargain. (Potential purchasers should bear in mind that a serious subwoofer will enhance the listening experience.)

The Commerce · The online purchase sequence at CD Baby doesn’t stand out in my memory, but a few minutes later I got this email:

Subject: CD Baby Loves Tim

Tim -

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

This is just a happy automated email to let you know a real person will email you as soon as your package is sent, and you will also receive a paper receipt with your order in the mail.

Please save this email in case you have any questions about your order.

** NOTE: if any of the info below looks wrong, please hit REPLY now to let us know!

I liked the honesty about automated vs. personal email, and the notion of encouraging you to mail back if something’s wrong; refreshing!

Then the next day:

Subject: CD Baby Loves Tim

Tim -

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

[... details omitted ... ]

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, January 31st.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Then, about the same day I got the disk, I got one more:

Subject: CD Baby Loves Tim

Tim -

Did you get your CD OK? Was everything perfect?

If you liked a CD you bought, please write a little review on the musician's CD Baby page? Just click the link below, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You'll see where it says, "WRITE A REVIEW". It only takes a minute and would mean a lot to the artists.

Now, that’s what Internet commerce ought to be like: prompt, friendly, and smart.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: John Cowan (Feb 18 2007, at 00:57)

> Now, that’s what Internet commerce ought to be like: prompt, friendly, and smart.

Umm, well, yes. But the tenth time I bought something from CD Baby I'd be *really really* annoyed by the Artificial Cutesiness.

[link]

From: Aitor (Feb 18 2007, at 02:07)

I had the same warm feeling when I first bought a CD from CD Baby. There was actually a problem with my package and I emailed them to let them know. I found them really supportive and helpful. A great buying experience.

[link]

From: Sander (Feb 18 2007, at 04:01)

John: based on the huge number of raving CD Baby fans I know, who buy there monthly, if not weekly, I doubt that annoyance would ever materialize.

Moreover, the second time you buy something at CD Baby, they send along a free CD picked on their idea of your tastes, and they keep up the attentiveness like that. These people _care_ about what they're doing. They sell only independent artists (the founder was one before he discovered that he was really good at making websites for artists and helping them sell their CDs), offering a huge amount of support to those artists, and generally being all around awesome.

Tim: Have been submitting this several times due to a number of varying errors - I assume if any previous ones actually got through, the duplicates will be weeded out in moderation, right? :)

[link]

From: Daniel Haranhttp://www.tbray.org/atompub/comment?frag=/ongoing/When/200x/2007/02/17/CD-Baby&title=Dub,%20Baby (Feb 18 2007, at 06:29)

Hi Tim - if you weren't aware of it, it might amuse you to know that one of the core contributors to Ruby on Rails works for CD Baby:

http://www.rubyonrails.com/core (Jeremy Kemper, second listed).

I guess that just adds to your assertion that the Ruby community is... well, weird. :)

[link]

From: rama (Feb 18 2007, at 08:51)

are you kidding, if that third message isn't spam, i don't know what is. i hope they provide an opt-out before you get bombarded with the "Tim, we haven't heard from you in a while..." crap.

[link]

From: John Cowan (Feb 18 2007, at 12:02)

Sander, all I can say (and all I *did* say, actually) was that it would most certainly annoy me.

[link]

From: Aristotle Pagaltzis (Feb 18 2007, at 16:06)

John: I have no idea what CD Baby really does, but I imagine they would have no problem keeping a record of the number of times you have made a purchase, whereupon they could base a progression of less verbose templates for the email they send. (I’m hoping that this *is* what they do, because it seems eminently sensible.)

[link]

From: Derek K. Miller (Feb 22 2007, at 12:40)

If you're a musician selling your stuff on CD Baby, you get similarly informative and informal emails for all your updates, including when people buy stuff. Derek Sivers, who runs the company, is also a swell guy, even though he has one of the weirdest haircuts I've ever seen:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/penmachine/295073938/

[link]

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

February 17, 2007
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I am an employee of Amazon.com, but the opinions expressed here are my own, and no other party necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my professional interests is on the author page.