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Game, DVD Sales Hurting Music Industry More Than Downloads

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the disposal-of-income dept.

Music 223

Aguazul writes with this excerpt from the Guardian: "The music industry likes to insist that filesharing — aka illegal downloading — is killing the industry; that every one of the millions of music files downloaded each day counts as a 'lost' sale, which if only it could somehow have been prevented would put stunning amounts of money into impoverished artists' hands. ... If you even think about it, it can't be true. People — even downloaders — only have a finite amount of money. In times gone by, sure, they would have been buying vinyl albums. But if you stopped them downloading, would they troop out to the shops and buy those songs? I don't think so. I suspect they're doing something different. I think they're spending the money on something else. What else, I mused, might they be buying? The first clue of where all those downloaders are really spending their money came in searching for games statistics: year after year ELSPA had hailed 'a record year.' In fact ... games spending has risen dramatically — from £1.18bn in 1999 to £4.03bn in 2008. Meanwhile music spending has gone from £1.94bn to £1.31bn."

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Some excerpt (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314559)

It sure takes a while to get to the point.

Re:Some excerpt (4, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314759)

And offers such iron-clad evidence as "If you even think about it, it can't be true," and "I don't think so. I suspect they're doing something different."

Re:Some excerpt (1)

who knows my name (1247824) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315281)

Correlation != Causality.
And weak correlation at that...

Where is the content in this story? Slapping together two changes in expenditure is news?

Re:Some excerpt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28315385)

Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'.

Re:Some excerpt (1)

AlphaBit (1244464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315291)

I don't think the point at the end is really the interesting part. I don't think the music industry is going to be comforted because "at least someone else is making lots of money." But his opening idea, that people who download illegally often download a LOT more than they could possibly buy, should seriously be taken account when thinking about this issue. Maybe any illegal downloads, beyond the value that the person might have otherwise actually gone out and paid, could be seen as free advertising (for concerts and other products not digitally reproduceable).

What's needed (0)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314573)

What's needed is someone with lots of disposable funds who can embrace the internet as a means of hype and content distribution.

Obviously, no one else has picked it up, so if anyone rich happens to want to start a production label, now's a good time to catch the hearts of lots of bored internet addicts.

Re:What's needed (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314623)

You mean like NBC did with Hulu? Or Apple did with Ipod?

Re:What's needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314731)

Or you mean like whats his face did with Napster?

Oh wait..

Thankyou Guardian (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314583)

For defining Opportunity cost, and boring everyone senseless at the same time.

Who would win in a fight? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314587)


Re:Who would win in a fight? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314633)

no one

Re:Who would win in a fight? (2, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314659)

ah you're wrong...

One of them would win, some times one, some times the other...
but the loser will always be the consumer.

the interesting part is that in a proper market, the consumer would be the winner when there's increased competition.

Re:Who would win in a fight? (0)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315159)

no one

...Except for Chuck Norris.

Re:Who would win in a fight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314747)


Whoever wins... we lose []

The magic of Blu-Ray! (2, Funny)

JoeWalsh (32530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314591)

Let's see.

Games are on Blue-Ray.

Movies are on Blue-Ray.

If only the music industry would put their product on Blue-Ray, it would sell well, too!

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314657)

Blu-Ray == fail. Anybody who buys Blu-Ray media will go the way of the schmucks who blew thousands of dollars on Laserdiscs. Every game I've ever bought has either been on cassette tape, 5.25" or 3.5" floppies, downloaded, CD-ROM, or DVD, and every movie I've ever bought has been on VHS tape or DVD. When Blu-Ray drives cost $19.95, can be made by anybody, and the Blu-Ray disc section is bigger than the DVD section, then let's talk.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (3, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314815)

Blu-Ray == fail. Anybody who buys Blu-Ray media will go the way of the schmucks who blew thousands of dollars on Laserdiscs. Every game I've ever bought has either been on cassette tape, 5.25" or 3.5" floppies, downloaded, CD-ROM, or DVD, and every movie I've ever bought has been on VHS tape or DVD. When Blu-Ray drives cost $19.95, can be made by anybody, and the Blu-Ray disc section is bigger than the DVD section, then let's talk.

BluRay is penetrating at double the rate DVD did. []

So.... how's that HD-DVD player working out for you?

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315007)

Note that those are US-only, not worldwide figures. In the UK, I don't yet know anyone who has a BD player, although I know a lot of people who had adopted DVDs by this point in their lifespan (myself included). The early adopters are moving away from DVDs and towards downloads, and the others are just not moving. In the USA, BD got a boost from the fact NTSC looks awful and digital TV and HD were introduced in the same switch. Over here, SD digital signals were introduced a few years ago and, while a few channels are now HD, there enough HD content broadcast for it to be compelling. Without a lot of broadcast HD, getting any benefit from BD requires a new player and a new TV, which is a hard sell given the price difference between SD and HD sets.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315377)

Very true. I have friends in several parts of the EU and none of them have a Blue-Ray player... leaving out the PS3 of course. I have only seen a blue-ray disc once. Actually, more people (including computer illiterate ones) have multimedia hard drives where they store the crap they download from the tubes.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315771)

BluRay is penetrating at double the rate DVD did.

So.... how's that HD-DVD player working out for you?

Who said he had an HD-DVD player? There was nothing there to indicate that beyond your own assumption.

Regardless of whether your base assertion is true (the other reply indicates that it might be US-specific), your implication that the other guy's comment was motivated as the result of jealousy from a disgruntled HD-DVD adopter or fanboy says more about you than it does about him.

Fanboys assume that any form of criticism is an attack driven by the same stupid partisan, blinkered mentality that they have, and of course, they enjoy the opportunity to gloat at any perceived victory.

Even if the guy's comment was incorrect and/or badly thought out, it doesn't mean that he's a pissed-off HD-DVD fanboy. Sheesh...

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (3, Informative)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314821)

When Blu-Ray drives cost $19.95, can be made by anybody, and the Blu-Ray disc section is bigger than the DVD section, then let's talk.

This is precisely what people said about DVD's about a decade ago, and the fact that you've bought DVD's and DVD-media games proves that it worked itself out in the end, even if only by sheer force of the market, whether or not people actually did want it (and they did). I'm not particularly happy about Blu-Ray winning the format war (I was more a fan of HD-DVD, for basically the sole reason that Sony's had a terrible track record with standardizing media), but at least we have a successor format to do us until we get some good holographic storage going. Given the consumer shelf life of DVD, that should put us in about the right timeframe for it by the time Blu-Ray is long in the tooth. Already there are BD-ROM drives for around $100, and players for about that much. Burners are still expensive, but still continuously dropping in price. Hell, a Liteon 4x BD-R drive is currently running for around $200 CAD on NCIX, and a really nice LG 8x one is only about $60 more. The price is plummeting, and with the PS3 gaining momentum in the gaming market and Blu-Ray being the de-facto standard in high-definition storage media for movies, we'll eventually see Blu-Ray take over and land nicely in the spot DVD landed in some years ago.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315135)

This is precisely what people said about DVD's about a decade ago

No it isn't. People looked at DVD and saw:

  • Smaller form factor.
  • Better picture.
  • Better audio.
  • Longer lasting.
  • No need to rewind.
  • The ability to play on computers and portable players.

People look at BD and see longer load times, and a better picture (if you also buy a new TV when you buy your BD player). DVD was better in every way than VHS. BD is not noticeably better on existing equipment. If you bought a DVD player, took it home, plugged it in to your existing setup, and watched a DVD, you immediately got noticeable improvements. BD does not have this advantage unless you already have an HD TV.

The other thing to change is that the durability of DVDs has made rental prices drop and - most importantly - made renting by post easy. These rental services give you access to a massive library of material on DVD. Most of this is not available on BD and even if it were, there is no compelling reason to prefer the BD version; in a lot of cases the source material does not make use of the quality available for DVD.

That's not to say HD video won't catch on. BD has a race to get sufficient market penetration before it's completely obsolete though. I can get a 20Mb/s connection now. My ISP is currently rolling out 50Mb/s, and their competitors are deploying similar speeds. BD has a maximum AV bitrate of 48 Mb/s. The companies that offer DVD rental are now offering Internet streaming as well. Given the choice between a BD player, where I have to get disks posted to me, or a box that plugs into my Internet connection and lets me stream video on demand, I know which I'd prefer. With the introduction of iPlayer, I already watch more via the Internet than by any other medium, including DVDs. I doubt very much that that trend will reverse, certainly not in time to save BD.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315737)

Well, you do have a point, though I do have to say that rental prices have all but doubled where I live, for no real reason. It's pretty much as expensive as going to the theatre now (minus concession items). Though quite honestly, the force of the market alone will drive DVD's out of favour simply because it can and will. Manufacturing of DVD players is starting to peter off from a few years ago, and the market is being flooded with Blu-Ray equipment and virtually every new release today is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD.

That said, I also agree that digital distribution is definitely the way things seem to be headed, as much as Sony might dislike that fact. But the state of the industry right now, along with the vested interest in Blu-Ray means that it's definitely going to dominate DVD before its end of life, even if it's only by artificial means.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28316089)

The other thing to change is that the durability of DVDs has made rental prices drop

It also made retail prices of box-set material drop; particularly things like complete television seasons/series and sets of films.

In the VHS days, with (say) TV programmes, you used to get between 1 and 2 hours and 2-3 episodes on a single tape (*), sold individually at around £15 (**). Bulky for shops to store and sell; also bulky for customers and expensive and inconvenient for them to buy anything like a complete run. (If available; outside the most popular TV series, complete runs weren't always available in the pre-DVD era. Often only "best ofs" or selected episodes or compilations came out).

And VHS quality wasn't the best for collecting.

By contrast, DVDs can be held in a very small amount of space if the appropriate box/case is used, and complete seasons are available- even for more obscure shows- at a tiny fraction of the price that they would have cost on VHS. Often with bonus material, and with picture quality usually only limited by the source footage.

You can get a lot of stuff on DVD very cheap, and without it taking up a lot of space in your house. And yet, even if- on a per-episode basis- they're selling it way cheaper than they did in the VHS days, I'm willing to bet that they make *way* more money off it since people are more likely to buy the complete runs- a nice way to exploit the archive of classic series.

(FWIW, there's less scope for Blu-Ray- and HD media in general- to take this further, since many classic series weren't made with HD in mind- or were even partly or completely shot on SD media anyway, and won't benefit significantly from HD treatment. Unless they do something like the original Star Trek with improved effects, which I assume is too expensive for the majority of TV series. They could always use the improved capacity to squeeze more SD shows onto a single disc- I assume that the Blu-Ray spec *would* allow this- but I suspect that for marketing reasons they won't do that.)

(*) It always annoyed me that blank PAL VHS tapes came in standard 3 and 4 hour lengths with no apparent problems, yet prerecorded video tapes would rarely go over 2. I believe this marketing format originated with NTSC VHS's shorter running time, but it's still annoying.

(**) Typical price towards the end of prerecorded VHS's commercial life.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28316051)

There will be no disk to follow Blu-Ray. It will all be downloadable content.

Probably with sever options. A 'purchase' option and a 'per use' option.

If they make the per sue option cheap, I can see it replacing the home movie ligrary. Why store movies when you can just pay 50 cents whenever you watch it?

Of cours,e if you ahve kids, then you will want to purchase all your kids shows.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314727)

Yay, get your favorite artists entire catalog at 96kHz on a single disk.

Except that's not what they'll do. They'll put the same recordings as on the CD, and then fill the rest of the disk with ads.

Re:The magic of Blu-Ray! (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315125)

They tried something like that with the DVD-MUSIC format and I saw around 10 discs for it and only one set-top player with the balls to say it supported it on the faceplate.

Who would have thought? (4, Insightful)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314609)

Yes, apparently, constant threats of lawsuits might cause people to spend their entertainment money elsewhere. It's kind of like with those Capitol One mailers. On the back of the envelope it says something like "tampering with or changing the contents of this envelope may subject you to legal action." Oh yeah, I am so going to get a credit card from people who start off threatening to sue me (and for what?). Same thing with the RIAA. You sue your customers, we go elsewhere and tell you where you can stick those shiny, plastic discs.

Re:Who would have thought? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315933)

On the back of the envelope it says something like "tampering with or changing the contents of this envelope may subject you to legal action." Oh yeah, I am so going to get a credit card from people who start off threatening to sue me (and for what?).

That would seem to be a threat aimed at identity thieves, or at least a cue to the recipients that the sender is on the look-out for fraud.

I don't really know for sure though. I don't spend a lot of time parsing legalese printed on the back of junk mail. . .

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RIAA blood suckers (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314637)

Eminem is suing apple for refusal to pay him for iTunes. Other artists are lining up around the block. MTV also allowed apple to air his commercials with kids humming his beats and did not pay him a dime. That's their idea of fair. Where is the RIAA to get him his money? Oh wait they only get money for the record companies not the artists who get NOTHING for an mp3.

Not surprised (1)

icsx (1107185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314639)

Every goddamn radiostation plays the same tunes over and over multiple times a day. Why buy the music if you hear it anyways? Instead, buy some other entertainment like Games and movies. The first one lasts longer than 1 music cd.

flawed logic (4, Insightful)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314683)

The article claims:

1- consumers buy games/DVDs over the latest music album
2- consumers don't have enough money for music
3- consumers download music

Based on their evidence, though, you could also conclude:

1- consumers download music
2- consumers still have money
3- consumers buy games/DVDs with saved money

Don't get me wrong. I don't think that downloading a song==lost sale, but I don't think the evidence stated necessarily means that people are choosing games/DVDs over music.

One thing that is not really debatable is that the music industry business model is outdated, overgrown with middlemen, and on it's way out. And the end won't come soon enough.

Re:flawed logic (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314795)

Exactly. The article writer is using the false assumption that all this spending is a zero sum game which is amusingly contradicted by his own chart that shows that the combined spending for all 4 areas he mentions has increased by almost 100%. Now all of this spending had stayed a constant level, then he might have a better chance at having a legitimate point, but as such he is just spewing bullshit.

Re:flawed logic (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314999)

No, what it proves is that everyone has a discretionary income, and whether they spend it on music or something else, they're still spending it, which is what's important. Not buying music doesn't hurt the economy, not spending the money _AT ALL_ hurts the economy.

Also is this graph adjusted for inflation?

Re:flawed logic (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314875)

It is a bit of a leap, yeah, but when you think about it, there are a couple of reasons for that:

1) People universally dislike the RIAA. At least around here, people like to spite them as much as possible.

2) It isn't universally illegal to download music over the internet, and still is a legal grey area.

3) The cost of a music CD, given the amount of enjoyment and entertainment (assuming all songs in the album are "good") versus the cost of a DVD/game and the amount of enjoyment and entertainment gained from that, is fairly hard to quantify, but a single music track is usually around 3-5 minutes in length, give or take a minute. Considering that music has become a much more personal experience, it isn't necessarily a social activity anymore; While a DVD might be limited to an hour and a 1.5-2 hours in length or so with limited replayability, it still remains something of a group activity. Gaming has also become an increasingly social activity (well, arguably social), with a lot of replayability and unpredictability, depending on the game.

It's not really enough to say for sure that consumers are choosing to spend their money on games instead of music, but given the general quality of music as of late (so I'm told; I jumped off the bandwagon long ago) and the rather public knowledge that the artist gets little to no support from their purchase to begin with, it makes for a very good case to spend your money elsewhere.

Re:flawed logic (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315257)

Considering that music has become a much more personal experience, it isn't necessarily a social activity anymore

Are you saying that slashdotters never have friends over for food and drinks, with a little music too?

Re:flawed logic (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315629)

I think at least in my case with my friends we are just as likely to put old familiar to all of us movie on in the background as music now days.

It is possible that

  • the IPOD killed the raido star

. People are using portables to separate themselves form the people around them rather than what music has traditionally done and created an immediate share experience with the people around you. Perhaps the music industry should try and bring back the BoomBox.

Re:flawed logic (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315727)

Are you saying that slashdotters never have friends over for food and drinks, with a little music too?

Do you really even need to ask that question?

Seriously, though, background music is background music in that kind of situation, unless you're planning on putting on a party (in which case it's louder background music), and you'll probably either try and find something that you know everyone will enjoy. My tastes are obviously not yours, so my feelings on the current musical trends don't really count here, but when faced with the decision between buying a disc or just grabbing a few tracks, I think most people would be more inclined to do the latter. Hell, iTunes has been a runaway success in spite of the RIAA's assertions, based on that very idea, not to mention that the seemingly most popular P2P app (around here anyway), Limewire (on the Gnutella2 network), is laden with fakes and viruses. A legitimate, virus-free environment, it makes for a very safe alternative to just downloading it for free. Sure, some people know better and can spot that kind of stuff, but come on. How many users are actually that intelligent?

Re:flawed logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314885)

the truth is....

Game and movie *downloads* (not sales) hurt music sales, cuz if someone is doing the former, they know how to do the latter.

But, those downloaders would not necessarily buy if they couldn't download. I don't think 1 of 1,000 downloads or even 1 of 10,000 represents any amount of lost revenue.

Yes, 99% of statistics are made up (including the above), but 99% of the statistics spewing from the filth known as the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc. are too. One thing that is made up but still true nonetheless is that 99%+ of 'unauthorized' downloads were not a lost sale.

You could also argue (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315103)

That people buy games and DVDs these days instead of music because most of the music available now simply sucks.

For some time now(years?), most of the music-money I've spent has been back filling. I've been picking up (cheap) CDs of old albums that I never got around to purchasing in the past.

Finally got a copy of "The Bends" last week. ;-)

Re:You could also argue (2, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28316011)

people buy games and DVDs these days instead of music because most of the music available now simply sucks

IMO the value of a $50 game is far greater than a value of a $15 60 min. audio CD or a 90 min. movie DVD. Music feels dirt cheap compared to games where every single object in a huge GTA map had been created and placed by hand, and when you can do all kinds of things and expect reasonable game response to them. I feel comfortable with paying for a game because I see what's there on the DVD and I'm amazed at complexity and labor that went into making that game. But I am minimally awed by someone singing (even if that) for three minutes - definitely not to the tune of $1 per song (or $10 per song that you like.) I understand that there is some labor in composing, rehearsing, recording and publishing the song, and I may be willing to pay $1 per CD, but not much more than that.

You can't play with your music, you can't introduce new elements (or your character) to a movie - they are static; because of that their replay value is low (especially movies.) But a game can be played several times - not just on different levels, but using different tactics, with different goals. A $50 Resistance can result in many hours of play - which is a creative activity, since you have to invent your own ways to get around or through those Chimera. But watch a movie of someone's playing, be interested for a few minutes at key scenes ("Does he quickly run into that end room in Cathedral, or just retreats within the main hall?") but be bored otherwise. Add multiplayer, and the movie can't be even compared - you can play multiplayer for weeks and each time get a different result; but the movie, of course, ends the same way each time you watch it.

Re:flawed logic (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315177)

One thing that is not really debatable is that the music industry business model is outdated, overgrown with middlemen, and on it's way out. And the end won't come soon enough.

I was under the impression that movie studios and game studios were on a very similar model.

There's another segment, too (2, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315513)

I download cracked games and MP3s to check out the content before I part with my hard-to-come-by money. While I no longer spend nearly as much on either as I used to, I am much happier with the items I do purchase.

And no, you can't really get a feal for whether a game is going to be worth playing on your home system from a demo at the store. Aside from that, the only game demos I see running are on consoles, not PCs.

Some music stores let you listen to a select set of albums before you buy them, but usually it's limited to the current top 10 or 20 CDs, which are rarely what I'm interested in. For that matter, I find I just gave up on shopping at the local CD store and go straight to the internet to order new CDs -- the stuff I want is rarely stocked by the local stores. (Ask them about Blind Pig Records and you just get a blank stare.)

Re:flawed logic (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315529)

In proud /. tradition I haven't actually read the article, but at any point does it mention that you're probably getting a better return on your money when buying a game?
What I mean is: say you have $30. You can either buy a couple music CDs with that, or you could buy a DVD movie (maybe two, if they aren't new releases), or you could buy a game like Team Fortress 2, Bioshock, Supreme Commander, etc... Which option is going to entertain you more, and for longer?

In my view, buying the music CDs would be the least effective use of your money.

Re:flawed logic (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315909)

The biggest problem I see with this theory is that just today a huge 23% decline in US video game sales was reported [] . This quarter video game sales dropped below $1B for the first time in years. I could be wrong, but I doubt we're going to see anything like a $300M jump in music sales this quarter.

Don't forget Disney... (3, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314705)

The rise of zero personality manufacturer bands (The Jonas Brothers... like the Monkees but with out the hard cutting edge) and their cult of multiple product selling surely also has to be responsible. Its not just Games and DVDs its the fact that for a given "star" you can get pens, pencils, school bags, DVDs, 3D Movies and all manner of other crap. Their objective almost isn't to sell the music its just to sell the image and then have people buy lots of things with that image.

Dora the Explorer has as much credibility as these bands and is focused on a similar financial plan.

Meanwhile good bands seem to be going into the live tour set up more and more and being less worried about CDs. So what is killing CDs is that at the crap end people are flogging pens and school bags and at the good end its about the live gigs. Meaning that if you want entertainment at home you go for DVDs (because the Cinema is a rip-off) or Games (where you get to do more of what you want).

The music industry has killed the CD by focusing on bag sales and forcing decent artists to focus (thank god) on live gigs.

Re:Don't forget Disney... (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314771)

Hey, I've learned a lot more Spanish from Dora the Explorer than the Jonas Brothers will ever know!

Re:Don't forget Disney... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315237)

The music industry has killed the CD by focusing on bag sales and forcing decent artists to focus (thank god) on live gigs.

It makes it much harder to justify being a full time musician thou, when you can't make a living without making a "deal with the devil" so to speak, and it really works well for local bands to have a place to do live gigs continuously, but I would have to really like a band to go to a concert anyway I would much rather just give them money directly to survive on make good music. Its a thought I think most professional musicians have lost, "If you are really good, people WANT to pay you."

Re:Don't forget Disney... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28316077)

No, most music has been useless crap.
Seriously, we remember the good stuff and for get about the thousands pieces of crap that surrounded it.

Oblig. XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314723)

The RIAA's new strategy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314735)

What the RIAA members really need to do is make free pirated copies of games and movies more easily available on the web; then people will have more disposable income with which to purchase music!

As much as I would like to believe this (3, Insightful)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314737)

As much as I would like to believe this, the mantra still applies:

correlation != causation. (and I'm not even sure there's enough data to establish for the former)

Re:As much as I would like to believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314811)

Correction: to establish the former. Proof-reading own writing fail.

Re:As much as I would like to believe this (0, Offtopic)

XcepticZP (1331217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315333)

I'm sick of hearing this over-repeated statement on Slashdot. For fucks sake, every single post about research, findings or whatnot, has a moderation-whore like you in it. Say something because you have an opinion and want to express it. Stop repeating someone else's crap.

Oh come on... (1)

lanceran (1575541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314741)

...wait till somebody tells them that you can actually download video games as well!

Re:Oh come on... (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315271)

Video game downloading has never been as big as music downloading, and I don't think that will change anytime soon.

Music CDs haven't really changed, at all, since I can remember CDs being around. You still get about 'the same' amount of stuff if you buy a CD today as you would have 10-20 years ago. If you compress that music into .mp3 files - you are looking at what....40-50mb of music? Say 100mb, just for arguments sake.

100mb is pretty darn insignificant for modern computer users. Downloading 100mb is quick and easy. Having storage for 100mb is a given. And, had you bought the CD, you wouldn't really 'have' anything'd just get the plastic case and maybe a tiny book with the lyrics (that you can get online, free).

But, computer games have kept up with technology. Compare a new game today with a new game from 10-20 years ago. Modern games are much larger/more complex than the older ones. 100mb isn't much of a download for most of us - but...10 gigs? That's still a hassle.

And, more and more games are offering online play, hosted on servers supplied by the company. Some games don't even have non-online play; and it can be very difficult (if not impossible) to play on those servers without a legit copy.

The bottom line is, for most people, they'd rather purchase a good game than download it, because they feel they are getting a good value for their purchase. I don't think most people feel that way about music anymore.

No more expensive singles or album sales (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314749)

because you can get the one song you like off of iTunes/amazon/whatever. Why always start from the assumption that it must be illegal activity that is adversely affecting sales.

The legal marketplace has changed to benefit the consumer economically, by not gouging them for $6/15 for a single/album respectively, now they can get what they wanted for around a $1. Some will buy more music but many others will move that savings to other avenues of entertainment.

Inconvenient truth? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314767)

Where is the InconvenientTruth tag? It's interesting how a fresh perspective on an issue sheds an interesting new light. Of course this is to be expected. The music industry and all of "entertainment" have probably been quite aware of this. But when delivering a plea to legislators and making arguments for why various manufacturers should support a particular measure or restriction, it doesn't help them to tell the complete truth.

People need to recognize what business they're in (4, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314781)

It seems so obvious it amazes me how many higher ups in these industries fail to recognize that they're not in the record business, or the video game business, or the film business. They're in the entertainment business. If you're going to make it a pain in the ass to purchase your music or to watch your movie, I'm just as happy to spend my time reading a book, or surfing the Internet, or playing a video game. 99% of the time I'm not even going to bother trying to hunt down a pirated copy, because quite frankly I'd rather just spend that time being entertained by one of the other numerous options I have available to me. You're not competing for my money, you're competing for my time, and you're competing against everything else I can possibly find to fill it with. The sooner these businesses learn this the easier they'll find it to get my money.

Supply and Demand (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314823)

The argument that 1 download = 1 lost sale was always pretty silly. Obviously the demand for something that costs $0 is going to be greater than if it costs $20.

Not Accunting for Ringtones? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314827)

With ringtone sales approaching $10 billion/year in the US, perhaps the data could better represent the current state of the music industry.

Could we get a "duh" tag? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314831)

Who is the main target audience for popular music (i.e. the staple of the music industry)? Teenagers. Now, teenagers have a bit more pocket money today than they did in the 80s and 90s, inflation sure took care of that, but they also have a lot more to spend it on.

I was a teenager in the 80s and 90s. What was there for us to spend our pocket money on? Music. Fashion. Junk food. Umm... Arcades, maybe. Besides that... umm... I'm open for suggestions, but that's what my friends spent their dough on (for me it was computer games, but that was me...).

Today, you have cell phones (and the various services that come with it, from ringtones to games), you have computer games, MMOs with their recurring subscriptions, Trading Card games, you have all sorts of markets geared either exclusively at teenagers or at least aiming heavily for them.

The music industry simply has to share the market with others.

I would say that fits my personal spending habits (4, Interesting)

Qazimov (225653) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314839)

I have well over 200 CD's that I paid full retail for at legitimate stores. I listen to music all day at work and for many years enjoyed my collection digitized and copied to whatever machine I was working on. That said, I haven't purchased a CD in over 3 years, and I don't download mp3s or touch any torrents of any kind.

I switched to shoutcast streams many years ago, and as of a little over a year ago I started using and haven't looked back.

I buy and play games for my xbox and my PC. I purchase movies (I still haven't paid more than $10 for an HD movie, MPC + HD/BR player FTW).

Anyway, that said - if you were to graph my spending over the last decade 1999-2009 you would see a lot of money going to the music industry (15-25albums /year @$15 each) dwindling down to nothing as of about 2005. Some spending on games (probably 5-8/year @ 50 each) staying pretty consistent with a slight upswing in the last 4 years. Movies, didn't buy all that many VHS, have probably 80 or so DVD's (at probably 10/year) - 20 or so HD/BR movies, all within the last 10 months.

News Flash: (4, Insightful)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314843)

Lack of quality music hurting music industry more than downloads.

Re:News Flash: (2, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314863)

Hear hear.

After 20+ years of Rap & Hip Hop who else is ready for something with a bit of tune to it?
Yeah, I said it.

Re:News Flash: (4, Insightful)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315275)

Everyone always brings this up when we talk about the music industry.

Give me a break. If you're listening solely to the radio, yes, you're going to be disappointed (and even disgusted) at what's there. But if you actually spend a bit of time looking, you can find some really great artists. Music is always going to be alive... just because the nostalgia you feel makes you just a teensy bit unopen to newer, different stuff doesn't mean the music is bad.

There are a ton of indie bands who write really good, smart, catchy music. I tend to like things that are a bit more experimental (TV on the Radio, Menomena, Modest Mouse, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), but if that's not your cup of tea you can always try Andrew Bird, MGMT, Cut Copy, anything that Danger Mouse is involved in, The National, Elbow, Fleet Foxes... the list goes on.

Some of the popular music may be crap (though don't make the mistake of allowing that to be your representation of different genres like rap), but if you look even for a bit you can find some good stuff.

Re:News Flash: (1)

Davey McDave (926282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315635)

Mod parent up. I'm sorry, but if you can't find decent new music these days, you aren't looking. Besides, there's plenty of good rap. Saying one genre is terrible and is responsible for the downfall of music lacks imagination and is usually terribly wrong. Music is better and more varied than its ever been, and if you have exposure to anything other than MTV, you will realise this.

Re:News Flash: (1)

Jbain (1453725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315357)

Hear hear.

After 20+ years of Rap & Hip Hop who else is ready for something with a bit of tune to it?
Yeah, I said it.

My problem isn't the lack of tune it's the overwhelming amount of tune... auto-tune that is.

Re:News Flash: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28315765)

you need to get out more.

Re:News Flash: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28315083)

I was hoping someone would bring this to the discussion. Music for the last 10 years has largely been uninventive, pedantic and very cookie-cutter. The big name bands of years past release some new material, but as the musicians of generations past release new material it all sounds the same. Modern bands are more products of an "American Idol" culture with seemingly little actual creative talent taking the music genres in new directions. Rock all sounds the same. Country all sounds the same. Rap all sounds the same and just keeps trying to outdo the previous artist at reaching a new low. I've had discussions with musicians at work as to whether or not music is a reflection of current society or if music drives society. If it is a reflection of modern times then we're all in trouble....

Re:News Flash: (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315115)

Lack of quality customers hurting music industry more than music quality.

Fixed that for you. It needed the perspective of a touring musician. (Tonight I'm playing show #23 of 26 shows in 25 days)

Re:News Flash: (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315369)

I'm also a touring musician, and I'm sick of this type of behavior coming from my peers. Whenever you have a hard time making money, you blame the customers. Bullshit. It's your job to attract the customers. It's not their job to hand over their money every time you play a note. You gotta figure out a way to get them to pay, and if downloads are making CDs unprofitable, change your fucking business model! It's called being a businessperson.

Re:News Flash: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28316045)

Lack of quality music hurting music industry more than downloads.

+1. Music these days is almost all total crap compared to even (gasp) the 90's.

If your average "hit new single" is less memorable and more irritating to listen to than some some crappy song that came out 10-15 years ago, why the hell are people going to buy it?

Business model: FAIL (2, Insightful)

Xistenz99 (1395377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314857)

After taking a step back from everything related to music, radio, magazines, and quality of artists, there isn't one thing that isn't failing, Radio isn't playing anything that isn't on their Clear Channel list and doesn't care to play anything extra. Rolling Stone, which is supposedly is a magazine that celebrates music, is failing miserably in content by falling to much on pop music when really good rock bands are out there, but can't get any airplay because the only thing that sells is pop music. Then we come to the artists, maybe I am getting older, but music, in all forms is truly horrible, at least accessible music. Rap and R & B has fell in love with the Cher, Believe voice autotune, Rock sounds like the instruments are played under water because it just plods along. Country even though I don't listen to it, turned into twang pop, and then my favorite is Pop itself, which seems to me can't get any blander, no matter how much sex and edge they try to put into it. I honestly think soon there will be something to make music better than it is right now, but I have know idea how that is possible, any suggestions?

Re:Business model: FAIL (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315091)

My suggestion is to not listen to the Clear Channel stations-- maybe find a good college station instead-- and don't read Spin or Rolling Stone for musical advice ("The Rise of Lady GaGa"? Seriously, RS?), but pick up something like Magnet, instead, for starters. There is a ton of great music being made, it just takes more work to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bands have free mp3s all over the internet, download a bunch of 'em and see what grows on you, or just use Pandora to help you find new things based on what you know you like.

Re:Business model: FAIL (1)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315151)

I honestly think soon there will be something to make music better than it is right now, but I have know idea how that is possible, any suggestions?

learn how to play an instrument

Now for the opposite argument (1)

dirk (87083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314879)

So games and DVD sales are hurting music sales? If you take away the fact that people can pirate music, what happens then? Do people take some of the money they have been putting into games and DVDs and put it back into buying music? They obviously think music is worthwhile, otherwise they wouldn't even be bothering to download it.

You can't just say "well, other things are up, so I think it's those things" without factoring in that music can be had for free easily and that may be a factor in why games and DVDs are doing so well in sales (those can be pirated, but the size alone makes it more difficult to pirate than music). It's not as easy as "pirating is the one thing that is killing the music industry" but you have to at least factor it in because it is there.

Re:Now for the opposite argument (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315045)

This may come as a shock, but movies and games can also be pirated.

Re:Now for the opposite argument (1)

databank (165049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315155)

And to add to the argument, before MP3's ever came to the computer, games were the FIRST thing to be pirated. You would think that if pirating was so rampant as the RIAA would have you believe, then the games would have long since been completely wiped out and yet the gaming industry is still going.

I disagree (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314887)

It's poor product that is hurting sales. Put the blame where it belongs, with the RIAA cartel itself.

Games, time spent on Twitter, phone (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314921)

Games, time spent on Twitter, phone, slashdot, reddit, digg, social networking, doing actually something useful with your life, you name it. This list of items that compete to some extent with activities like buying media either proves that comparing DVD sales to game sales is somehow unfair or somewhat uselessness of claims that downloading hurts media sales.

now this i would believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28314929)

If they had phrased this as "People spend more money on games because pirating them is more difficult than pirating music", I would agree with that.

No, really? (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314931)

I've said this for a while.

People only have a finite amount of money. What the music industry has failed to grasp is that it no longer has a near monopoly on entertainment that it shared with the likes of the movie industry for the decades before the internet. It now has to compete with a bigger set of movies than ever before, it has to compete with the games industry and really for teenagers it even has to compete with things like text message costs and so on.

The music industry isn't in competition with piracy, it's in competition with every other form of entertainment expenditure out there. The only way to win that battle is how you would win a single industry battle - provide the most attractive product.

When people can buy their computer games, say, Rock Band, and get their music as part of that, they'll be less inclined to buy the music alone.

The same goes for those developers complaining about people pirating their games but if people can only afford one game, they'll buy the best game, that doesn't stop them wanting to play the other game though, they simply don't have money for both, so they'll buy the better one and pirate the not so good one.

It's simple business competition through and through - again, make a good product and you'll get your fair share of sales from people who think your product is the one worth paying for. Try and sell people crap, or try and sell people the same thing multiple times in multiple formats and don't be suprised when it's not your product they choose to spend their money on.

I'm sure some people will try to argue it's immoral that people do this and that's a fair enough argument, but arguing the morality of it doesn't change the reality of it and anyone with any business sense would realise that and make sure their business factors it in and produces a product good enough to get their share of the finite pool of consumer cash out there.

Screwing the artists? (1)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28314955)

If I hear some music I like, on the radio, and I then buy the CD, the artist makes some money; if a friend of mine already has the CD and I make a copy, the artist gets stiffed. *I* still get the music, but the people who made it don't get paid.

I totally understand that artists, the **AA, the IP lobby, etc., have a problem with piracy. It may not be "theft" in the same sense as "stealing someone's car", but it is still a breach of the social contract. Artists spend a lot of time and effort creating art (music, novels, TV shows, whatever), and if we all want to continue to enjoy that art, we're going to have to pay for it. Trying to get it for free is cheating, plain and simple.

On the other hand, for the IP lobby to claim that every illegal copy of a $10 CD represents a $10 loss to the economy is just fucked up. That $10 is going to get spent elsewhere. With the exception of a small handful of filthy rich people, everyone spends every cent they make; maybe not the same day they receive their paychecks, but the next month, or maybe next year. If some kid doesn't spend $10 on the latest Britney Spears CD, because they got a free illegal download instead, they're going to spend it on a movie ticket, a haircut, a book, maybe some gas for their car.

We should all be promoting copyright violations, because local businesses would run out of teenage customers otherwise.

End consumer habits (1)

halcyonandon1 (1568125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315005)

Its no revelation that if the consumer is no longer spending for one thing, then it will surely be another. Furthermore, if the consumer finds a better product/service to spend their money on, there will be less demand for the inferior product/service. Is music as a product inferior to other creative expressions? Of course not... but as others suggest, its not about the actual product, but rather the distribution and being able to capitalize on it. When CD players took control of the market share over tapes, consumers stopped buying tapes... How can anyone be surprised that CD sales would be on the decline with the rise of digital format media and players. I'm sure most of you remember the first wave of CD burners to hit the market, media and industry people freaked out about it, ignoring the fact that people made mix tapes all the time. Why is it a surprise to anyone that consumers want to share music? So if I take a photo from a website and share it with my friends, print it out, hang it on my fridge and give a copy to my girlfriend, does the photographer or the person who owns the rights to that photograph also have the right to sue me? Of course not. Now if I redistribute that photograph commercially or use it in a commercial product or claim it as my own, then I'd be in some trouble. The real point of this whole issue is that these money hungry individuals are watching their distribution channel and their rights to profit on the product wane into oblivion and they fear losing control over the consumer's heart, mind and wallet. So they naturally chose to fight it, figuratively kicking and screaming, blaming anything and anyone, but their own failing and antiquated business model.

Correlation/causation, post hoc ergo propter-what? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315023)

Game sales going up...okay.

Music sales going down...okay.

Music sales going down because game sales are increasing? Where's the support for that? This has all the appearance of two random facts being pulled out of the air and a causal link assumed for no particular reason.

(Especially given that, in the graph in TFA, game and DVD sales appear to have been increasing over the whole period [1999-2008] and music sales appear to have started significantly declining in 2004 -- they appear to have been pretty close to static before that, though its hard to tell precisely on a stacked bar graph -- and the chart has a footnote "methodology for measuring value of music changed in 2004". The best explanation for the change in apparent trend after that point is that what was being measured changed in 2004.)

Storage media (2)

MoleyGhost (1065694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315233)

Meh, there's also the physical medium to consider. I suspect more people buy games than buy music because many come on proprietary cartridges, which end up being a lot harder to clone than CDs. This may not be true of some of the newer systems if they use standard DVDs, but it used to be that you had to invest quite a bit of time and/or money to rig up a cartridge writer.

Mobile phone bill (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315283)

Can't generalize, but a small mobile phone bill is easily equivalent to a CD album purchase.
Assuming they were buying a CD a week (they weren't) - that's just knocked 25% off music sales to teenagers alone.

As has been covered in other posts, I think it's that there's just simply more things to spend money on.

Oh and the ridiculous price gouging that came in with the transition of physical media to digital downloads. Oh and couple that with the 'pirated' version of music actually being of higher quality and easier to use than the legitimate copy. I don't want to photo-copy books, I can't be arsed trying to trick my console into letting me play a game I've burnt online - I would like my music high-bitrate and available to be played on all my kit (and not be tied to a particular platform for the rest of my life). Not saying that's the sole reason for the drop off in purchasing of music, but must nudge the decision on what you won't be buying that month.

Makes no sense (1)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315299)

People are spending their music money on other things, therefore it's the other things that are hurting the music business, and not piracy?

There is no evidence presented here that suggests that people would not spend more on music if piracy were eliminated. If it were, the biggest reason people would not spend an amount consistent with industry growth prior to piracy is because of the severe public stigma the RIAA has received from its battle against piracy. As well-deserved as that stigma is, it would not have developed had piracy had never existed. All major RIAA losses are in fact directly attributable to piracy, no matter what people otherwise spend their money on.

To summarize... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315317)

1. We don't listen to as much music that we buy as we used to.
2. We buy other stuff.
3. We do other stuff.

Hmm. I'm not typical, but I play a fair amount of gamez, have the TV on in the background, and what music I do listen to (usually at the gym or the car) is either radio, which I don't buy, or classic stuff I bought anywheres from 6 to 35 years ago. And the really old stuff I've just updated from LPs to CDs. Which last a long time now that I use players and rip my CDs that I bought.

Sounds like the market is changing. Oh dear.

Wanna hear something funny? (1)

JoeSixpack00 (1327135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315329)

In an age where virtually every computer made in the last 4-5 years came with a cd burner, some people actually still point the finger at downloads for the decline in album sales.

(Not even mentioning the lack of creativity and innovation today's radio has...)

Everytime I download music (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315419)

The money I would have spent on that crap goes some something more usefull so the market still gets this money.

the big labels (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315443)

big labes have caused it themselves by not selling their music drm free via bittorent and other option. let people decide what they pay, and the net profit will increase to a higher amount than it currently is. eventually people feel guilt, some people respond to it most of them don't but generally the net+ will be higher than nothing.. big labels are just that (too big and fat, and not adjustable for change).

The reason I don't buy (1)

Finder83 (829130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315583)

Bad product...pure and simple. It has been years since I have bought a commercial CD. I do buy individual or small studio published cd's. Their assumption? Oh, I must download it (since it is impossible that anyone would not listen to their music). In fact, I do not download music or copy music at all. Now their assumption is that the reason is because I play games instead of buying CDs and music. No, I buy products of quality with my money, and do not waste it on crap music produced by the studios associated with the RIAA. There are a lot of game studios that put millions of dollars into amazing games with great stories.

I'm tired of being insulted by this association by their assumptions that I listen to their crappy (and popular, but not all things popular are good) music at all cost...frankly, I don't care if they do well or not, though I would gladly support any movement to get them out of the news (by their going out of business, not by my wasting money.) With that said, I have pretty much already boycotted the RIAA because of these antics.

An alternative explanation. (0)

philicorda (544449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28315595)

Games are harder to pirate than music and films. Therefore more games are sold.

Games are large in terms of data, and cannot be lossily compressed like mp3/DIVX. Games have strong copy protection. Games need to be cracked, which is an uncertain process and often conflicts with patches/updated content.

Well, why not?

the business model is changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28315619)

...and the music industry is struggling to keep up.

Think about the last album you bought. For me, I watched a video meem on youtube, followed a link to an actual video, thought the song sounded cool, and proceeded to amazon to listen to the song blurbs. I liked most of the blurbs and felt the album was worth my $10, and bought it.

20 years ago, it would have gone more like: heard a song on the radio, liked the song, went to the record store to 'check out' the album. Upon 'inspection' of the album - likely cover art, and guessing at the content of songs by title - I might buy it for $15 and give it a try, crossing my fingers throughout the first listen.

I think technology has made it easier for the majority of Americans to make smarter decisions about their money. It has also made it near impossible to guess at a common method of advertising. This means smaller margins for large corporations, and plenty of business opportunities for smaller, focused companies. The music industry is struggling with all its might to hold onto a model it understands and trying to force everyone back to their old spending habits. But it's too late... Adam has already bitten that tasty fruit from the wisdom tree!

I saw a commercial for a mp3 player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28316093)

I saw a commercial for the zune I think
anyway , In the ad it said that at a dollar
a song it would cost 30,000 bucks to fill it
well I do not have that kind of disposable income
do you?
It made me think how the hell do they expect to make any money if legally it is out of reach for most people.

Just a thought

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  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>