Wednesday, December 1, 2010
EU or not EU?
For over a decade, releases made in European Union member countries will often say 'Made in the EU' as a catch-all for items made in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Spain, and Portugal. It consolidates production, whereas in the old days, manufacturing for one country was done within that country; for instance, WEA Fillipachi in France made records for shops in France and Monaco, though WEA Germany often made items for sale throughout what was the EEC by the '80s. EMI closed their plant in Swindon, Whitshire, England and moved production to the continent at the existing factory in Uden, Holland well before their current crisis. Anything designed as of 1999 may now use the EU label, but occasionally, some indies will say the exact country of origin, whether not to confuse those who don't read the papers, or an anti-EU bias, whatever the case may be. Non-EU countries like Switzerland and Norway may have their products made in the EU as well, as they're not major music markets.
On older items from present-day EU member nations, I put the label on. Even we Yanks know about what goes on in Brussel, but go to a news site for more on that as I'm no pundit.
As with any imports, it's easier when the shop in town has it used, but I order online occasionally, but it's too easy to go overboard, you know.
As in North America, physical sales are in decline due to downloading and the economy alike. Lesser-selling items in Europe may wind up in US stores as impulse buys, like a Jennifer Lopez CD.
Major labels maintain offices for every sizeable nation catering to national and international signings just the same. Non-Anglophone artists that don't perform in English may not be able to expand their fanbase beyond their own people if they don't wish to take the ABBA route, if you like.
There are also DVDs and Blu-Rays made there, but they will only work in PAL units unless they're region-free or NTSC formatted. They haven't suffered as much as their audio counterparts since video takes up more space and bandwidth.
If you think the EU is a lot to take in, Sony are outsourcing disc production to México! That's NAFTA for ya!
As of 23/6/16 - the UK have just voted out but this may not be over just yet but that's just not our area to report on here. Only CDs from the continent in member nations count as EU from here on out.