The Shift From CDs To Downloads Is So Much More Than A Format Change

from the when-you're-in-a-hole-quit-digging dept

Although overall music sales in 2006 fell, unit sales told a little more complex story. Sales of physical formats dropped, while unit sales of digital music skyrocketed over the previous year, while older music sold quite well and new music stumbled. Data from the first three months of this year follow this trend, with CD sales off 20%, would-be blockbusters not selling as well as they have in the past, and retailers like Tower Records just giving up. The WSJ article is hung on the idea that digital sales (in revenue terms) haven't grown enough to offset the decline in CD sales. Certainly, they haven't, but this isn't exactly the proper comparison to make. Switching to digital and online distribution isn't a format change, like the switch from cassettes to CDs -- it's allowed for a whole new way of selling music. Not just the ability for people to buy only the songs they like, but also the ability to easily search huge inventories of music from their computer, which is likely behind the rise in sales of older music. This comes as retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, which dominate CD sales, are reducing the space they devote to CDs, making it even harder for consumers to find older music in their stores. The problem isn't that piracy and file-sharing are destroying sales; in fact, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. The problem is that the record labels haven't shifted their business models to accommodate the new environment, and remain committed to the old, physical-format-driven model. While they may not be changing, there are signs that other folks in the music business are. The article quotes the manager of several well-known acts who says he now sees CDs as promotional material, that they're "the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that's it." Recognizing that music has promotional value, and not just direct pecuniary value, will allow the industry to open up all sorts of new business models to revive its flagging fortunes.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Noel Le, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:23am

    Read up on your topic

    Carlo, its hardly flattering to yourself that you say there is "plenty of evidence" that piracy is not killing music industry revenue, and then reveal that you've read at most one academic study on the topic. I suggest you read more on what you write.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Quantum John, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:34am

      Re: Read up on your topic

      Carlo most certainly did NOT reveal that he's read at most one academic study on the topic. He provided a link to one relevant article as an example of the evidence. I suggest you search Techdirt for its many other relevant articles. But since your web link is to the "Progress and Freedom Foundation," perhaps you're not really interested in studying evidence contrary to their views.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      JJ, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:34am

      Re: Read up on your topic

      Noel, its hardly flattering to yourself to say that Carlo only has read "at most one academic study on the topic" when Carlo and the crew at tech dirt have pointed to plenty of other research in the past. You must be new to the site, because tech dirt usually just posts to a single older link on things like that, rather than highlighting each and every one.

      In the mean time, you suggest people read more - but I see you didn't provide any evidence to counter Carlo's claims.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 5:20pm

      Re: Read up on your topic

      Warning: Industry hack. Warning: Industry hack. Warning: Industry hack.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    hank, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:26am

    using FM radio to sell physical objects

    Soon there won't be any incentive to be a modern "record company".

    The truth about the RIAA supporting higher licensing fees

    Recordings were first invented to simulate live performances and the first record companies (Edison) were the phonograph manufacturers. It was a way to make sales after the sale of the machinery. Soon, independent record companies began manufacturing these "phonograph disks of recorded music" as well, thus providing a "record" of some musical performance that has occurred in the past, be it in a studio or a "live" performance. If you think about it, it is much like today, a bunch of engineers and scientists are dictating musical taste, applying their skills not to provide the best music or even the best recordings, but to engineer product lines that return the best investment performance for their shareholders.

    Bands on the radio probably would not get national exposure without the aid of the record companies. There are hundreds of other acts that sound just like the them, but without company support, they will never get out of the garage. Many would even argue that many do not deserve to get out of the garage.

    Since the sixties record companies have learned to manufacture pop superstars made up of amateur models playing simple tunes.

    In this current model, the overall quality of music that is consumed by the public is generally low and formulaic. The radio stations engineer their play lists in the same manner, ensuring that they are pleasing the majority of their listeners and their advertisers.

    This limits the overall choices to the publics ear, ensuring that only the most profitable music has the best chance of exposure to the general population. This very market force artificially lowers the publics taste for more complex and creative musical styles.

    This is also why the RIAA wants the government to impose unmanageable fees on podcasts and internet radio. Since they and the record companies do not have much influence on these play lists, there is the risk of dilution away from the most profitable songs. On the surface the strategy is to raise more licensing revenue from internet broadcasts, but the real strategy is to keep music off the internet where musical taste is harder to dictate, and instead use FM radio to direct record sales to profitable categories.

    Let's assume a world where free internet radio becomes the standard for exposure to new music -- Selling copyrighted recordings will eventually become a somewhat silly business to try to get into. It won't be cost effective to support bands and spend $400,000 on recording studio fees If radio is free and recordings are free, this leaves live performance as the main revenue model. So after a brief stint with the obsession of pre-recorded music, the music business returns to its more natural, market-driven business model, and almost everyone wins.

    The only artists that will be able to survive in the new music business will be the ones that can perform live *better* than on a recording. This will force the musicianship and quality of popular music to a higher level. Artists that rely on electronics and studio gimmicks will fall out of favor because their live performance will be almost non-existent. And without support from record companies, manufactured music will be difficult to promote and distribute on a national level. This will have the effect of returning the music business back to the musicians (to a certain extent). After a while, the public's tastes will change as they are exposed to better music and experience more live performances.

    -hank

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      james, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 3:56pm

      Re: using FM radio to sell physical objects

      Well said Hank.

      Imagine this. A young new band calling themselves the Beatles are told to map out their tunes and revamp their appearance to ascertain artistic relevance. Jimi Hendrix is directed to gangsta-up and glorify $bling$ for marketability. Odetta isn't signed because she won't cast well as a gyrating video ho.

      Dag yo.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Pogey James, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 1:34am

      Re: using FM radio to sell physical objects

      Thats right teach the old school some new tricks

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jacaranda, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:32am

    Do you have a link to the WSJ article?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Noel Le, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:42am

    Reply to QJ and JJ

    Quantum and JJ, there is only one existing academic article I'm aware of that supports Carlo's argument. That article hardly constitutes "plenty" of evidence, even when coupled with previous TechDirt posts.

    QJ, I've looked through existing economic studies on the effects of piracy. I will write them up on PFF shortly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:45am

    The article quotes the manager of several well-known acts who says he now sees CDs as promotional material, that they're "the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that's it."

    The manager is talking apples and oranges. For most acts, where does their money come from? Does the act get its money from CD sales (or downloads, for that matter) or does it come from concerts? Doesn't most of the record money go to the label while the act gets the concert money? If that is true, then of course the act doesn't care about revenue from the recordings, since they are not the one's who profit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 5:29pm

      Re:

      But doesn't that point to irrelevance of the record companies? If you can sell and market directly via the internet, why sign with a major label? You could probably sell your music at a lower price and make more money per sale versus signing a contract with a record company.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    hank, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:04am

    the only musicians who make real money from record sales are the U2's and madonnas of the world. bands make cash by touring and if they are big enough action figures! (licensing)

    there was a report that the dixie chicks only made $300,000 each from the first two records or something like that. 60 minutes perhaps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Overcast, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:06am

    It's simple, but the recording industry is just too stupid to understand..

    If you go into Wal-Mart or any other place to buy music - they simply can't stock enough music to fit everyone's tastes...

    I haven't been to blockbuster in a while, other than them spinning the 'no late fees' BS (yea, they are 're-stocking' fees now).. The main reason I use netflix is because of the selection. Of the last 9 movies I have gotten from Netflix, blockbuster had zero...

    Same with music - when I looked last at Wal-Mart they just didn't have any of the 5 different CD's I was looking for. Although - the 18+ dollar price tag would likely chase me away in any event, but even if it didn't - they still didn't have what I wanted.

    With digital music:

    1. I don't have to fight for 15 minutes with the 'anti-theft' device. DRM is just that - same reason I won't buy it. you know how BAD I hate those plastic anti-theft devices?? Only difference is - the last time I 'fought' with DRM - on a legit file no less... required 2 updates and a reboot. After which I had to so some other BS to get it to work.. Not sure which 'anti-theft' device is more annoying.

    2. I don't have to wait in line

    3. I can find what I want in seconds, not an hour

    4. Digital Music doesn't get scratched

    5. Don't have to find a parking space or waste gas. Afterall, aren't we supposed to be saving gas?

    6. I can download the music faster than it would take me to get dressed and get in the car.

    Now.. I can think of one - and only one reason why a retail CD is better... because I actually get the CD and a spiffy jewel case. Of course, I can fit far, far, far more on a single blank DVD...

    From just a pure logical standpoint, I see not one reason at all to go buy a CD.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Giggler, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:08am

    Progress & Freedom Foundation

    Did someone from yet another think tank -- with a misleading name -- whose primary goal in life is to allow industry to run rough-shod over mankind for profit's sake -- by cherry picking science they like -- just suggest they were interested in actual science, not opinion?

    I just shot coffee through my nose onto the keyboard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Noel Le, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:14am

    Reply to Giggler

    Mr. Giggler, we obviously differ in our opinions on industry. I grant you that industry is important for consumer welfare and societal progress, and yes, there should be a balance between the interests of consumers and industry in regulatory policy.

    I am interested in actual science. Didn't I just say I would report on my survey of piracy and sales displacement articles- probably by the weekend. I hope you don't drown in coffee before reading it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Giggler, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:29am

      Re: Reply to Giggler

      Obviously.

      The only thing outfits like the Progress and Freedom Foundation are interested in is maximum possible revenue for their clients and founders.

      I'm a huge fan of your company's noxious tobacco industry disinformation. It's utterly charming.

      Your organization is a public relations firm, nothing more. Personally, I'm not much for dressing up PR as economic theory and science, but I'm a minority these days.

      Lamenting a lack of objective analysis after years of scientific cherry picking and noxious propaganda tickles me.

      But yes, please do write up your objective and thoroughly compelling report.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 5:44pm

      Re: Reply to Giggler

      I grant you that industry is important for consumer welfare and societal progress

      So explain again why the industry needs copyright protection for 70 years after the death of the creator or 120 years from the date of creation for works for hire? Exactly how is this supporting consumer welfare and promoting societal progress? Surely, most successful movies, albums, books, tv shows and so forth, earn the creator and all those involved some revenue within their lifetime?

      Why was it okay for Disney to create new works based on materials in the public domain, but no one will be able to create a work based on Steamboat Willie until 2023? What was that about balancing between the interests of consumers and the interests of the industry?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ab, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:20am

    CD Sales are slipping

    because new music, pop music, and blockbusters suck. they are lowest common denominator pleas, and when consumers see that they can find something custom-tailored to their interests, they will not choose the generic sound of American Idol fabrications.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 5:49pm

      Re: CD Sales are slipping

      That is a fallacy. Music has always been about popularity. Every genre of music has had their popular musicians.

      CD sales are slipping because competition for the almighty discretional dollar is at an all-time high. When I first started buying CDs as a teenager, there were no cellphones, there were no DVDs, video games were not as common as they are today, and so on. Today's consumer has a wide range of entertainment choices. And at $18 a pop, many consumers (and retailers) are walking away from CDs.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    deadzone (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:40am

    Oh yes.

    I can't wait to see this report myself. I"m sure it will be useful only in the sense of us, (meaning the real consumers that you guys are hurting), wiping our collective butts with it if we somehow were to run out of toilet paper.

    Objective and Compelling? I think not.

    Funny and Sad at the same time? Certainly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alex Hagen, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Sillyness

    "The problem isn't that piracy and file-sharing are destroying sales; in fact, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary."

    Oh, so are we implying that piracy doesn't hurt CD sales now? Really, do you honestly expect people to buy this stuff? I mean, the industry's "every pirated copy is a lost sale" argument is stupid, but this is just as dumb. There is some number of pirated copies that equal a lost sale. The RIAA says 1, you say infinite, but I suspect the truth is more like 10 or 20.

    You guys like economics, so here, I will give you an economic question. If Joss Stone's new album came out yesterday, and I can buy it from Amazon for 15 bucks, get it from ITunes for 10 bucks, or get it from the Internet for 0 dollars, which am I going to do?

    Ok, so, assuming I want the album, why won't I just download it for free?

    1) Perhaps I want to support the band, or have a moral code that thinks that it is wrong to screw someone out of money they have earned because of their creativity and hard work.

    2) Perhaps I don't have a good enough Internet connection.

    3) Perhaps I have so much money I can't be bothered to go looking for it.

    4) Perhaps I don't know where to find it for free.

    5) Perhaps I am afraid if I download it I will get sued.

    6) ????

    Ok, so every time someone buys an album nowadays, they buy it because they fit into one of these categories, and I suspect that the majority of reasons are 4 and 5. And both of those reasons exist today because of the RIAA's massive lawsuit campaign. Is that a good enough reason for them to continue it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Sillyness

      Oh, so are we implying that piracy doesn't hurt CD sales now? Really, do you honestly expect people to buy this stuff? I mean, the industry's "every pirated copy is a lost sale" argument is stupid, but this is just as dumb. There is some number of pirated copies that equal a lost sale. The RIAA says 1, you say infinite, but I suspect the truth is more like 10 or 20.

      The argument isn't that every download doesn't represent a lost sale, but, rather, that the promotional impact of the free music expands the overall marketplace so that there are more ways to profit.

      That is, while some people may download for free rather than buy, a lot more people will be exposed to the particular musician (larger market) thanks to the free music -- and then that makes them more likely to either buy a CD or go to a concert or some other way to make money.

      So, sure, some of the people will download rather than buy (lost sale), but if you assume that more people will be exposed to the music, meaning more people will make some kind of purchasing decision based on the music, the monetary gain outweighs the loss from decreased sales.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        RandomThoughts, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: Sillyness

        Mike, that's a pretty big assumption though. You are talking about the gain outweighing the loss, but how do you know that is true? It sounds like it could be correct, but it also could be wrong. Would you really recommend that a label do this if they were paying for your advise?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Casper, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 2:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Sillyness

          Let's be honest here, what the music industry is really afraid of is the fact that they know people are not buying their product. They are not afraid that rather then buying a CD people are downloading the songs. What they are afraid of, is that people will download the songs, discover that they are horrible, and not buy the CD. Why do you think a CD has mostly fluff songs on it and the samples never seem to show the crappy filler tracks? Do you honestly think that they are producing a product worth purchasing in the quantities of the past?

          I'm young and happen to have a job that affords me extra money to spend on frivolous purchases, but even I won't buy CD's any more. It's just throwing away money to purchase a CD because it has a single song I like, wrapped in 8 songs I hate, and I have to buy them all or nothing. Besides, most of these "artists" can't actually sing to save their lives, they just look the part and can be synthesized to sound good enough to make some sales.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2007 @ 6:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: Sillyness

          Mike, that's a pretty big assumption though. You are talking about the gain outweighing the loss, but how do you know that is true?

          I know it to be true because you can look back at history and see that it's true over and over again. It's the non-scarce "ideas" that help expand every market.

          It sounds like it could be correct, but it also could be wrong. Would you really recommend that a label do this if they were paying for your advise?

          Yes, it's absolutely what we would (and do!) advise those who are paying for our advice.

          There are two things to consider here. The first is what happens if you do nothing. When you do nothing, you are only opening up the opportunity for people to completely route around you and chip away at your existing business model. So standing still isn't an option.

          You can fight the tide -- and that clearly isn't working.

          So the third option is to come up with a business model that actually serves consumer needs -- and that's what we recommend.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re: Re: Sillyness

        You have to be open to ideas outside your rigid business model. Back in the days of Napster, I downloaded lots of random stuff. One example is a band called "Afro Celt Sound System." Never heard of them before, but I sure know them now. I wanted all their music RIGHT NOW and bought two CDs. I also introduced the band to friends who also bought their work. When they toured my city, I bought concert tickets. That lost sale was nothing more than a loss leader, wasn't it?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Noel Le, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Reply to Giggler again

    Mr. Giggler, the thing about those of us who appreciate industry is that our ideas are actually put to practice; thats quite different from your parasitic social commentators who make a living blasting successful enterprise, or try to reduce the importance of industry in order to free-ride off them.

    I"ll talk to you about any substantive issues you would like Mr. Giggler if you get off this rant. I trust you can back up your views with some research of your own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Musical Justice, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:47am

    Noel... you give too much credit to the academics, a fact to which my PhD wife would agree. But even so, I spent no more than 5 minutes researching your claim that there is only 1 academic article and found several staring with this one:

    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/resolve?id=doi:10.1086/500683

    and this one:

    http://www.gesy.uni-mannheim.de/dipa/31.pdf

    and this one:

    http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~felten/boorstin-thesis.pdf

    and then I got tired of looking...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Noel Le, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:58am

    Reply to MJ

    Thanks MJ, I"ll look through these. Just looking over them for a few minutes, they seem to take a snapshot of a set of data, but don't address the issue I'm interested in, which is: at what point does file sharing turn from having positive effects (offsetting deadweight costs to consumers, providing exposure for artists) to negative ones (displacing sales that would have occured).

    My argument is not that file-sharing has zero positive effects. Rather, I disagreed with how Carlos implied that it has zero negative effects.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jezsik, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:58am

    Progress and Freedom Foundation?

    Oh great, what's next, "The People's Freedom Party"?

    "... industry is important for consumer welfare ..."? I think you mean that industry tends to have a negative affect on consumer welfare and government must step in to make sure the public isn't abused.

    "... and societal progress."? You mean like how the Industrial Revolution was so progressive for society?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    The Man, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    Carlo

    This comment has nothing to do with this article, but i can see that everybody hates carlo,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dewy, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 12:11pm

    PFF

    I just went and read through some of the articles on the PFF, and some were well presented, others seemed a little biased against the consumer... while others spoke of "harsh" tactics by the RIAA.

    Biggest thing I see about the PFF is they are closed to opinions. No replies or comments sought. This suggests to me they are a mouthpiece, not really weighing the impact on the consumer.

    It ultimately comes down to simple economics and a determination of our government. Do we promote an Free market economy, or do we subsidize obsolete technology. Considering the RIAA and ADM's standing in congress, I fear we are witnessing the end of America as a "Free Market", and heralding the onset of Corporate Led Bureaucracy.

    Its often said here "IF Congress wants to do the right thing", and I submit this is folly. If the propping up of the sugar prices to make the production and sale of High Fructose Corn Syrup profitable is any indication of how congress will act on the behalf of Free Market Economy and to benefit the American citizen and eventual consumer of said goods, then we're on our own.

    Do not blindly obey a law because some corporate or government goon says not to. Read the fine print, ask artists and check out the story. Download a Brittney Spears tune and see if you feel like knocking over a liquor store... ultimately decide for yourself.

    100+ years ago artists made money and along came the phonograph... Free markets worked it out.

    50 years ago Radio was born and everyone seemed to work it out without undoing the fabric of the universe (or criminalizing fans).

    25 years ago recordable tape became affordable to the masses and the industry lept up and created a fee to pay itself and criminalize the manufacturers.

    Now they have Digital reproduction to fatten themselves with. How will we respond. Will we be sheep and continue to pay for gold plated humvees, bling bling and trashed motel rooms?

    Or will will we live our lives as best we can with the enrichment of music and digital media, and let the artists and fat cats figure out how to make money off of it.

    As an artists I speak for myself when I say "Let them eat CD's if they think they're worth $18" I'll deal with independents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Apennismightier, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 2:01pm

    Not worth it

    To be honest, whether you're stealing or not, for DRM and RIAA regulations or against it, the bottom line is that music isn't what it used to be. These days music just plain sucks. And I'm under 25 so don't think I'm some old hippie who thinks the world needs more Deadheads and Zeppelin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Erik, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 2:27pm

    Format change that doesn't obsolete the old one

    I think one thing that the recording industry is missing is that they got a false inflation for a few years when they switched from vinyl to CDs. The CD format was (from a consumer standpoint, not necessarily an audiophile standpoint) a massively superior format for keeping music. As a result, I (and a lot of people I know) spent a significant amount of money in the transition period rebuying music that I already had on vinyl.

    This time though, the digital distribution model hasn't obsoleted the old format. CDs live quite happily next to downloaded music, and ripping software is accessible to even the most neophyte computer user. I don't need to rebuy the music in my CD collection. So we need to take into account the fact that the record industry sales numbers were profiting from a false inflation for a number of years that is tailing off now, so no matter how good the digital sales are, they're going to have to come to terms with the fact that the market is smaller than they thought.

    From the summary of the numbers noted above, it's clear that the record companies have no idea what they're doing. Older music is selling well, and new music badly. This would imply that they are doing badly in selecting bands to sign and market since there is a lot of new music out there that I buy from independent artists (direct DRM-free sales models only, but that's another discussion) that is really very good.

    On the other hand, if older music is selling well, for god's sake, open up the back catalogs to downloads. The investment is practically nil as automated ripping plus some data entry would be able to handle the conversion nicely, and then I'd be able to buy some of the music that I simply can't find otherwise. I've done the peer to peer route for some music that I tried to buy on CD, but that simply wasn't available from any local or online retailer. Used stuff is hit and miss and marginal bands at the tail end of the vinyl era are really hard to find.

    The numbers are the market's voice and they're saying "we like good music, and are willing to pay to have it in a convenient format, but you're just shoving crap on us right now."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alex Hagen, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Sillyness

    "the promotional impact of the free music expands the overall marketplace so that there are more ways to profit."

    Well, OK, that has been your position for a while Mike, though I am still waiting for this magic business model that will make up for all this money the music, movie, software, and drug industries are going to lose when IP is routinely ignored. I don't think there is one, but I am willing to listen. You promised that you would get to that part once you establish that IP laws are un-economic, and I really wish you would get around to it.

    But it does seem that Techdirt is also trying to make the case in several places that piracy does not affect legal sales, and that is just silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alex Hagen, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Not worth it

    "These days music just plain sucks."

    "Do you honestly think that they are producing a product worth purchasing in the quantities of the past?"

    "Older music is selling well, and new music badly. This would imply that they are doing badly..."

    Ok, so one of the alternate premises here for falling sales is that music sucks nowadays. But it could be that older music is being bought by older (and lass tech-saavy) customers and that newer (kiddie) music is being massively pirated. What we need is another benchmark of music popularity to use as a comparison...like say concert sales. I have tried to find records of concert sales but I have not found anything. Can anyone else find this data?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      james, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 3:38pm

      Re: Re: Not worth it

      "But it could be that older music is being bought by older (and lass tech-saavy) customers and that newer (kiddie) music is being massively pirated?"

      Why sure it could - in the land of "lass tech-saavy" that is. In the free market however, products sell on their merit. CD sales are down - across the board. So, that includes older music - savvy? FYI - that means that whoever is buying older music, is buying it via download :0 Do you suppose that downloaded older music is subject to the same piracy that downloaded "kiddie" music is? Hmm.. I wonder what's happened to all of the pirated recordings of it over the last 30-40 years anyway?

      Well, I can't find ALL of the concert data, but I know that the Rolling Stones have a recent sold-out world tour under their belts. And The Who are in the midst of one right now. Perhaps you would Google Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears if you weren't a little lass tech-saavy

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This