CD Sales Increasing, RIAA Keeps Quiet
from the funny.... dept
Funny. For the past few recession-impacted years, every time an article came out talking about how CD sales were down, they included an ominous quote from a recording industry official claiming that online downloads were destroying the industry and the American way was about to be wiped out by hoards of pirates. So, where are those people when (as the economy rebounds) sales actually begin picking up? As Ernest Miller notes, they don’t seem to be “blaming” file sharing for their new found success. They don’t seem to be saying much of anything, actually, even though file sharing continues at about the same pace it did a few years ago. Maybe, just maybe, there were other factors involved in the decline in album sales. However, with such an easy scapegoat, don’t expect the industry to buy it.
Comments on “CD Sales Increasing, RIAA Keeps Quiet”
What seems to be the problem?
A couple of other reasons for missing record sales:
1. For the first time in history we have a well-functioning international market for used records, a.k.a. the Internet. Transaction costs are lowered and information is more easily available.
2. Lower access barriers for artists. A lot of home studios help artists create music without showing up in the statistics. Independent marketing efforts taking place without help from record companies will also register as missing sales.
3. Legal downloads. There are huge amounts of “open source” music out there, which may or may not impact on the consumer market but definitely has some effect on the market for elevator music etc.
4. Changed purchasing habits. Up to one third of the available income of young Japanese women is used on mobile phones and services. This leaves less money for the purchase of music.
5. Falling quality. This is just a gut feeling, but shared by many. The artists who actually do something new are also usually well compensated. Do we really, really need compilations like “Absolute Music 197”? Consumers may be wising up to the record companies’ attempt at milking the market.
6. The changeover from LP to CD is as complete as it is likely to get – LP sales are no longer falling but holding steady or even going slightly up. A changeover, by the way, accompanied by a price hike totally unfounded in technological reasons that’s still in effect today.
So there we have it. A lot of the “missing sales” could be due to more efficient markets (1 and 2), substitution of equivalent goods (3) and a shift in preferences among the customers (4, maybe or maybe not due to 5 and 6). I have a masters in business economics and still don’t understand why this is bad. Would someone kindly explain this to me?
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I’m thinking sales are back up because people are a) afraid to download music. b) use some client to buy high quality fast downloaded music c)spyware from P2P programs. At my University (of wisconsin) there is a huge crackdown on students caught downloading music. People talk and many have stopped to prevent getting caught.
ITunes has become incredibly popular in networked dorm halls thanks to its network streaming feature.
Spyware and virii from P2P programs has discouraged many.
Yes there are still many people using P2P to get music, but the casual users (those who sign on to get what they want and sign off) have probably switched to something safer/more convenient albeit something that costs $.