As of 2015, Columbia House no longer operates the Music Club. Its parent company ended music mail order in 2009. Columbia House continues as a movie club, selling DVDs.Continue Reading
The Columbia House Record Club began operating in 1959. It offered vinyl records and began offering reel-to-reel recordings in 1960. The 8-track club began in 1966, and the cassette music club began in 1969. Membership in the music club reached 3 million by 1975. By 2001, consumers had the option of buying music through online retailers at similar discounts without membership commitments. Music clubs dropped to 8 percent of all music sales.
Members of the music club often enjoyed the ability to continue purchasing music on formats no longer available in retail stores. The company continued releasing reel-to-reel tapes until 1984 and 8-tracks until 1988, six years after they had disappeared from most retail stores.
Because of the commitment to receive the initial order, Columbia House receives many negative consumer criticisms. The company has an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau due to unanswered consumer complaints. Members complain of it charging their credit cards for products they did not order. The 49-cent movie club became the subject of a specific Federal Trade Commission letter of warning to consumers.Learn more about Art & Literature