Oh Gosh: How Dare People Want To Listen To Music

from the how-dare-they dept

It looks like we’ve found the new evil bogeyman for the recording industry: people daring to listen to music for free online. We mentioned it earlier this month, when there was a report about how all the various online streaming services were taking away from sales. Apparently, the record labels are passing around statistics claiming that such streaming services hurt music, claiming (incorrectly) that “there’s nothing left to promote.”

This morning, at the Leadership Music Digital Summit, Russ Crupnick, a music industry analyst at the NPD Group, gave a “state of the industry” talk, where he pointed out (good) that p2p file sharing isn’t as big a problem as the industry makes it out to be, but then dove into the “problem” that more and more consumers of music are “only listening to music,” using these various online sites and services, rather than buying the music. It seems to be quite a strange world where the idea that lots of people are paying attention to your product and it’s seen as a “problem.” He even noted that folks who do buy (such as concert tickets) tend to spend a lot more on music-related goods (beyond just concert tickets) but seems to brush over that.

While it’s good to see that folks are starting to get beyond just blaming P2P (though, Crupnick did repeatedly refer to it incorrectly as “stealing” music), this industry has a serious problem: it looks at every single opportunity as a “problem” or a “threat” and never as an opportunity. I would argue that’s a much bigger problem than fans daring to listen to and share music.

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Comments on “Oh Gosh: How Dare People Want To Listen To Music”

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Tyler! (profile) says:

I've never paid for a "Death Cab for Cutie" album...

…But because I was able to listen to them for free on Pandora I decided I liked them enough to buy tickets for myself and three friends for an upcoming concert. I suspect that while we’re there we’ll buy food and drinks and, if the concert’s fun, we’ll buy souvenirs. And all because I had free access to the infinitely replicable music.

LMR (profile) says:

Re: I've never paid for a "Death Cab for Cutie" album...

Couldn’t agree more. And because I saw videos on youtube taken at various concerts, I realized I was missing some really good shows and decided to plunk down some $$$ for tickets to see artists I might not have thought to go see otherwise. Yeah, this here Internet thingamajig is baaaaaaaaaaad for the music bizness….

Simon says:

Music Industry is the problem with the Music Industry

You buy a CD for $30, how much of that actually goes to the Artists that you’re trying to support?

From what I’ve heard of iTunes, you buy a song for around $2, the Artists get less than 20 cents of it. I cannot stand the crap associated with the Music & Movie industry, they cry poor & that these “theive’s” are taking away their lively hood. Heaven forbid they should have to drive a normal car instead of a luxury model & live in a less than 40 squares home.

Provide me with a option that rewards the people that create the great music that enriches our lives, & I’ll support it. For now, I prefer to pirate the CD’s, & donate on the bands website, & go see them live at every oppertunity.

I do buy CD’s of bands I listen to a LOT, or if they’re a small band trying to get started that I like. Music should be about the Art, not profits, bottom lines, bureaucracy & how the fan’s that don’t pay for it shackled & whipped in a dungeon at the MIAA’s disgression.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

He even noted that folks who do buy (such as concert tickets) tend to spend a lot more on music-related goods (beyond just concert tickets) but seems to brush over that.

I guess the real question would be: Are significantly more tickets being bought? We know that concert revenue is going up, but we also know that ticket prices have skyrocketed in the last few years.

The record labels are in the business of selling music, not really in the concert business. The potential if they aren’t selling as many records as that they may have to go Live Nation on their acts and ask for percentages of more of the pie to make it worth bringing these newer bands along.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The record labels are in the business of selling music, not really in the concert business.”

Once again, therein lies their problem. They’re too geared up to selling one potential good within their marketplace. This is why “change your business model” is the repeated mantra – more diverse middlemen are not having any problems. So far, all the majors have done is put people off buying their products.

(and again the LiveNation references…. why do you hate them so much and why do you seem to think they’re the only possible alternative?)

R. Miles says:

Re: Re:

The record labels are in the business of selling music.
This is where your defense breaks apart.

Never once has the label been interested in selling music. It’s about selling plastic disks.

If this industry had been about selling music, there wouldn’t be any piracy issues it keeps harping out. It would have opened its arms to the this thing called the “internet” and provided useful platforms for people to buy music.

But none of this happened, did it? Now, they’re scrambling, screaming the sale of plastic disks are down because of piracy.

Doesn’t sound like the industry knows what the hell its purpose is other than to bend consumers over while taking their wallet content.

If you want to defend this industry, can’t stop you. But don’t try to pan off it’s their business to sell music.

All *FACTS* point to the contrary.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: 180

Dude, seriously – read my posts – 360 deals are exactly what I have been saying: If the labels can’t make money on selling of music (as CDs, online whatever) then they are going to want a cut of tickets, mechandising, and anything else they can get their fingers on.

Live Nation tends to do deals that are more like 360 X 360 deals (all directions) because they also buy into the artist’s image rights and things like that. Think of them as spherical deals, where everything is everything and they want a part of it.

Live Nation is even more dangerous because they are attempting to take over other parts of the food chain all for themselves. I dread the idea of a system where live nation has all the best venues in each city blocked out for LN artists only, which appears to be where they are heading. If they can get their paws on ticketmaster, they will be one step closer to a true music monopoly.

Anonymous Coward says:

The record labels are just one giant hype machine like “American Idol.” They’ve forgotten how to actually make a quality product because it’s easier to make a quick buck exploiting some flavor-of-the-week no-talent singerbandgroup than actually find real talent and develop it. After all, some record company executive actually gave Kelly Osborne a record deal.

Agree with Mattyk: we used to call listening to music for free “listening to the radio.”

SunKing says:

OMFG STEALINGZORZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t even begin to debate this with someone who refers to copyright infringment as stealing in order to inflate it’s seriousness. Why would they do that? It’s already illegal. Isn’t that not bad enough? Why do these people feel they need to be more dramatic, more sensational, more ILLEGAL?

Is it because, perhaps, copyright infringment on the individual level is simply not seen as something to be THAT bothered about by the general public (and rightly so) and therefore they need to attach a bit more wieght to it, in order to make people give a shit?

Whenever the industry dickheads (and people like Weird Harold) refer to copyright infringment as stealing/theft they are implicitly agreeing that, in the hierarchy of illegalites, copyright infringement is at the bottom, next to using a foreign coin in the coke vending machine.

You’ll NEVER, EVER have a rational discussion on this topic with a single one of them. It’s a keyword. It’s like drawing the sign of the fish in the sand. It’s the dickhead identifier.

wheatus (user link) says:


They created this…people have always viewed radio as free, because it’s economic model, based on adds, was always for the most part hidden from the public.

The Major Labels missed the boat and the free market has adapted to their incompetence. If their only strategy is to sue the free market then they will fail…just like Harlod does when he tries to sound like he knows his subject.


batch says:


If it weren’t for YouTube, I would not have found out that I very much like Depeche Mode. If the RIAA has their way, many people will never find out they like bands that otherwise they would have.

Try before you buy is a good idea. People trying to sell you food or drink give you samples for that very reason.

tanuki says:

the thing is that labels are afraid of people getting to know new artists.. because for every band they have in stock they have to do all the promotion stuff, and all the other buisness stuff, like contract, phonecalls..

–> so what they are most interested in is a high ratio of listeners per band.. well they avtually care for buyers.. but listeners will leed to that..

so if its hard for you to get to know the music you really like.. you will more readily listen/buy the stuff they present you..

Joe Chapman (user link) says:


Just a note to remind people that not every band on these sites is part of some corporate thing. We live in a system which has enabled people to have free music and better quality of life, now people expect those things as if they are a right, they are not. When things are going well and people get stuff cheap they don’t bat an eyelid and speak out against those on the left of politics, when things aren’t looking so good everyone’s a socialist.

C. says:


… I think I can confidently say the record industry is, collectively, completely and utterly insane.

This really is like saying radio hurts music sales. The only difference between traditional radio and streaming services is with the latter, you can usually listen to a song on-demand. This shouldn’t in any way be seen as a threat, but something that allows consumers to wade through all the music out there and get to try the music they are curious about. The services are not only powerful promotional tools, they pay royalties to the artist and presumably license fees to the labels.

If they can convince themselves this hurts the music industry, they are truly INSANE.

They are continuing to prove themselves not only preposterously out-of-touch old dinosaurs, but bad business minds as well. They hold onto a business model that has long been irrelevant simply because they believe things should work the way they WANT them to – i.e. that people should only get music by paying high prices.

I would never consider listening to a song on a streaming service a substitute for owning it. It’s a way to listen to music I’d like to buy. If it’s ever my primary source of listening to a particular song or album, it’s because those are prohibitively expensive to buy.

So many of their problems could be solved if they lowered CD and mp3 prices. But they won’t as long as they can convince themselves everyone in the world still wants to pay a lot for music and therefore not be able to buy very much of it, and only listen to music that commercial radio and TV decides we should hear.

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