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You Better Shop Around

Real Life Consumer Guide 2005: The music bargains start here

You don't need to be Eliot Spitzer to know that retail pricing of CDs can be, um, quirky. We shopped for a basket of likely holiday gift items at stores both nearby and virtual (finding deals via shopzilla.com) and found that prices (which we've mostly rounded) vary widely, even for stores located in the same Union Square building.

Some highs and lows, excluding shipping if any: Amadou & Mariam, Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch) Disc-O-Rama $11, Tower $19; Animal Collective, Feels(Fat Cat) cdconnection.com $12, Tower $16; Antony & the Johnsons, I Am a Bird Now (Secretly Canadian) 3deers.com $11, J&R Music World $16; Chris Brown (Jive) J&R $10, Virgin $15; Danger Doom, The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph) 3deers.com $11, Mondo Kim's $14; Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (Atlantic) St. Mark's Sounds $13, Tower $17; Jorge Drexler, Eco(WEA Latina) J&R $12, Virgin $19; Bob Dylan, No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (Columbia/Legacy) Disc-O-Rama $15, Tower $26; Fiery Furnaces, Rehearsing My Choir (Rough Trade) 3deers.com $9, J&R $16; Ivy Queen, Flashback (Univision) 3deers.com $10.59, Barnes & Noble $17; R. Kelly, Trapped in the ClosetDVD (Jive) Disc-O-Rama $10, Virgin $20; Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor(Warners) J&R $10, Barnes & Noble $17; Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note) J&R $14, Virgin $19; New Pornographers, Twin Cinema (Matador) Tower $10, Barnes & Noble $17; Oneida, The Wedding (Jagjaguwar) 3deers.com $11, Virgin $17; Public Enemy, Power to the People and the Beats (Def Jam) Tower $10, Virgin $17; Tralala (Audika) Tower $13, Kim's $15; Kanye West, Late Registration (Roc-a-Fella) cheap-cds.com $11.39, Barnes & Noble $20; Dan Zanes, All Around the Kitchen! DVD (Festival Five) deepdiscountdvd.com $9, Tower $15.

Bonus 12" vinyl rummage items: Virgin, Mike Kelley, Silver Ball (Light & Color, Mostly) (Table of the Elements), $12; Kim's, Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner, 2,013-Year-Old Man (Warners), 50 cents; Tower, Musics of the Soviet Union (Smithsonian/Folkways), $8; Disc-O-Rama, Eric B. & Rakim, "I Know You Got Soul" single, $8.


Addresses: Disc-O-Rama, 186 West 4th Street or 40 Union Square East; J&R, 23 Park Row; Kim's, 6 St. Marks Place; Sounds, 20 St. Marks Place.

 
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