Music Labels Still Don't Get It

from the who-gave-these-guys-power? dept

Last month we wrote about how the music industry was, inexplicably, looking to (a) raise prices on digital downloads and (b) force people to buy a bad song to get a good song. They clearly have no clue that they're basically killing the one, very minor, success they've had in the world of digital downloads. Now, even folks in mainstream magazines like Newsweek are screaming about how the labels just don't get it. Steven Levy takes a look at a number of downloadable albums that cost more than their CDs, while giving the user less (one of the CDs comes with a DVD as well). He also can't believe that the industry hasn't pushed to make downloadable songs play on a variety of devices, as that would encourage more people to buy. However, the folks who run the labels don't get it. They only look at digital downloads and see piracy. They are blind to the idea that it might be an opportunity, and thus they have no real reason to come up with reasons to encourage it. Of course, all this really does is push end-users to seek less than legal alternatives.

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  • identicon
    Erik, 4 May 2004 @ 1:00am

    Question is: Do they want to get it?

    My take on the situation is, they get it. They just don't want to admit they got it. If they did, they would have to act accordingly which in turn would change their revenue model.
    I think their approach at the moment is: "Can't hurt trying to milk the customers and reconsider later."
    Bad idea, IMHO. The digital world has a really short attention span, thus if they don't do it right the first time around, failure is inevitable. There will be no second chance.
    Erik

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    • identicon
      thecaptain, 4 May 2004 @ 5:50am

      Re: Question is: Do they want to get it?

      I agree...

      I think they do "get it" and what they get is this:

      - They know they'll continue making money if they do as we've all been suggesting, but less money then they make now.
      - They probably also realize that pirating, while it might increase, won't be an issue to the cash coming in (and I don't believe its affecting the sales right now all that much either)

      BUT:

      - They know that if they continue to screw things up online the result will be that sales will continue (in other words, they'll STILL make money because people are still suckered AND they have a virtual monopoly)
      - They also know that they can point to their blundering attempts and say to the law makers, "SEE? We TRIED it..and they didn't buy! They just kept STEALING...help us put them in jail!"

      They have NOTHING to lose by keeping the status-quo because even if sales go down by a little (which is ALL it will dip because most of the people buying are sheep) they'll still rake in a ton of money because there is almost no other outlet for music...AND they can buy all the politicians they want to sponsor initiatives to scare the public into going their way.

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  • identicon
    eeyore, 4 May 2004 @ 5:11am

    better "get it" soon

    I for one am sick of paying nearly twenty bucks for a CD with one or maybe two good songs and a lot of crap filler simply because I like one song. Back in the days of vinyl I probably bought ten 45s for every album I owned. I've just ventured into legal downloading and while I'm happy with paying 99 cents a download, about what I was paying for a 45 twenty-five years ago, I'm not happy with the limited selection, particularly artists who want to force you to pay to download the entire CD. I'm looking at you, Metallica. I'd pay 99 cents to download "Enter Sandman" but if I wanted to pay for the whole album I'll go to Target and buy the flipping CD. The RIAA effectively killed of the single so the only two options now are buy the whole CD or download songs. But for me it comes down to this: if I can download it legally for 99 cents I'l buy it. If it's not available except as a twenty buck CD I won't buy it.

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  • identicon
    Ed Halley, 4 May 2004 @ 6:24am

    No Subject Given

    Of course, all this really does is push end-users to seek less than legal alternatives.

    It shouldn't. Pop music isn't food. Pop music isn't air. Pop music isn't shelter. There's no reason to seek less-than-legal alternatives to get a product which is only legally available at the end of a purchase transaction.

    I believe in the Copyright bargain: fair use is a legally defensible concept, but the whole of the content isn't at your discretion.

    Borrowing a disc from your friend (and making a track selection copy for personal use) is fair, but installing or visiting an anonymous dorm room download server isn't fair.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2004 @ 7:15am

    No Subject Given

    Think they get it just fine. They see demand so they going to see how high they can set the price before demand wanes. It's really just good business when you have something people want to see how much they are willing to pay. We know they'll pay .99 ... how about 1.05 .... and keep going until you see demand slacken and stablize your price.

    The important part of this equation is that the consumers (I would be one of those) don't buy if they raise the price or at the very least, buy a lot less. Bought 4 singles off itunes last night. Price goes up ... I would have only bought 1 ... the other 3 were impulse buys ... at .99 it's a good price. At 1.19 ... nope.

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    • icon
      Mike (profile), 4 May 2004 @ 9:12am

      Re: No Subject Given

      Think they get it just fine. They see demand so they going to see how high they can set the price before demand wanes. It's really just good business when you have something people want to see how much they are willing to pay. We know they'll pay .99 ... how about 1.05 .... and keep going until you see demand slacken and stablize your price.

      That's an incredibly short-sighted way to run a business. It doesn't take into account the fact that this is a new, developing market that they should be trying to grow.

      The risk is that they further piss off people, driving them to other solutions. I agree with the others that people should just walk away if they don't like it, *however* the point is that it's pretty clear that most people don't just walk away - they walk away to file sharing. If you're trying to compete with that, then it's best not to piss off your customers.

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      • identicon
        Ryan, 4 May 2004 @ 12:33pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        The music industry isn't really "a business". It's a million businesses all taking it one day at a time.
        It's not like we can all sitdown and have a meeting and that's why change takes time.

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

  • identicon
    alternatives, 4 May 2004 @ 7:50am

    Then walk away.

    If you don't like the way they are doing business, walk away.

    There is no government threat of force or denying you the ability to use your property if you choose to NOT to do business with the RIAA/MPAA monopoly.

    So stop doing business with 'em.

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


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