CD Clubs: How to Get the Best Deals Online

(1) The BMG Music Service offers the best deal you'll find -- 11 CDs for the price of shipping ($2.79 each) when you buy one CD at full club price, which is typically about $15 plus shipping. That works out to about $4 per CD. Its chief competitor, Columbia House, has an offer that works out to about $8 per CD.

(2) When you join, you will receive a catalog in the mail about every three weeks, along with a postcard that highlights a featured selection in the genre you selected when you joined. You must return this postcard by the due date or the club will send you the selection. You can decline online, however, by logging into your account. This makes the process much easier.

(3) If you forget to return the card and receive a CD you don't want, the clubs are good about letting you return it. But the beauty of this system for the clubs is that this happens often enough and many people don't bother sending it back. They just pay the invoice.

(4) If you don't see the CDs you want in a newspaper or magazine advertisement visit the club's site to browse. Copy down the item number of the CDs into the form (some titles will not be available as free selections and this will be indicated). Also, the clubs usually do not have the latest and greatest albums until months after their release.

(5) The clubs press their own CDs, which some people feel makes them inferior. But if you can hear the difference, you have better senses than most humans.

(6) The clubs no longer have toll-free numbers, so the best way to contact them is by email. Always include your account number. The current phone number and email address is listed each month in your membership catalog.

William Pilgrim has been a member of both BMG and Columbia House. You can read more about the clubs and their history at http://www.dealdude.com by searching for keyword "cd clubs." Copyright 2005 cc Media, Inc.

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