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Based on housing prices here in NYC, a late 30's early 40's record buyer of
top line merchandise paid disproportionately much more than we do now.  Our
house was built in 1940.  Absurdly,  resale value of houses here in Fresh
Meadows are now 70 times that of when they were sold new.  Taking that
factor, a two sided 10" 75 cent disk sold for $52.50 in 2004 US funny money.
A Victor Red Seal of Dvorak's "New Work Symphony" was $10: $700 in current
dollars.  Compare that to CD prices, which are widespreadly, sophomorically
regarded as 'expensive'.  That'd pro-rate a 16 song compilation to $420!

A much less  extreme comparitive (and less localized) basis is first class
domestic mail: 3 cents in 1940, 37 cents now.  That's a factor of 12.3:
'only' $9.25 for a two sided 7 minute 10" 75 cent 78 &  $123 for that Dvorak
album.   The 16 track compilation cited above would cost 'only' $111!

I acknowledge that a formula for comparing currency values between 1940 and
now can be highly debatable, but these two examples at least, have
comparable inherent value.  The house is the same size as it was in 1940.
It has new windows, siding and central air conditioning but it's essentially
the same as it was in 1940.  Similarly, the comparison of 3 & 37 cent first
class mail fees are analagous for the services they buy.

So I assume that the REAL inflation factor is somewhere between 12 and 70,
and that means that even budget 78s at the time the film was made were
expensive.

A more extreme example of their early cost is the first Red Seal Sextette
From Lucia, when was that, 1906?  What was the weekly take home pay of the
average working schnook then?

And these examples don't factor the considerations that what's being sold
has far greater intrincsic value: the media don't deteriorate with each use,
and have much better clarity.

Best,
Shiffy