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The Numbers Behind the Copyright Math

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the each-song-is-worth-all-the-songs dept.

Businesses 311

TheUnknownCoder writes "The MPAA claims $58 billion in actual U.S. economic losses and 373,000 lost jobs due to piracy. Where are these numbers coming from? Rob Reid puts these numbers into perspective in this TED Talk, leaving us even more puzzled about the math behind copyright laws. 'Ignoring improbabilities like pirated steaks and daffodils, I looked at actual employment and headcount in actual content industries, and found nothing approaching the claimed losses. There are definitely concrete and quantifiable piracy-related losses in the American music industry. The Recording Industry Association’s website has a robust and credible database that details industry sales going back to 1973, which any researcher can access for a few bucks (and annoying as I’ve found the RIAA to be on certain occasions, I applaud them for making this data available). I used it to compare the industry’s revenues in 1999 (when Napster debuted) to 2010 (the most recent available data). Sales plunged from $14.6 billion down to $6.8 billion — a drop that I rounded to $8 billion in my talk. This number is broadly supported by other sources, and I find it to be entirely credible. But this pattern just isn’t echoed in other major content industries.'"

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Losses, but due to piracy? (5, Insightful)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423879)

I haven't pirated music in about 5 years. I also haven't bought any CD's in that time, either. I have moved almost entirely to using Spotify, Pandora, and other subscription services for my music. Music I do buy, I buy electronically. I estimate I spent about 25% as much on recorded musical entertainment now than I did in the late 90's, during the heyday of the CD. This probably results in less revenue for the content owners, but that is not attributable to piracy. An industry's decline due to changing market factors is not necessarily a problem - it's just the natural way of things.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (5, Interesting)

TheLordPhantom (2527654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423925)

I have noticed the exact same thing with myself. I don't pirate, and haven't in years. Yet, I almost never buy music anymore. I do own a decent collection of music, but really, I find Pandora, Spotify, etc. to be a far more interesting sources of music, even at times more practical (as in I don't need to copy files from one piece of hardware to another). I honestly don't think that MPAA really can blame even the majority of the decline in sales on piracy. In my own anecdotal experiences, that is simply not the case. People's methods of listening to music are changing. Ultimately, the media companies will have to change the way the approach the gathering of revenue.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423995)

Look at the gaming industry. They have modified their business models to battle piracy. However, not everyone likes it and especially on Slashdot you can see many people complaining about free2play games and everything moving online. That is the only choice companies have tho. So, if everyone continues pirating games (the actual piracy rate is about 90%, even with indie games), every game will soon be something like Zynga's facebook games, mmo's or some other multiplayer games. Personally I have no problem with this, I love TF2 too, but I've noticed people complaining about this on Slashdot.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (4, Interesting)

Lyrata (1900038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424071)

I think one of the main issues with F2P games and other new business models is the realities that come with it that gamers aren't used to. Take Heroes of Newerth (HoN), for example. That game used to cost $30, with additional content for sale after that. League of Legends (LoL), free from the beginning (supported by paid content), became wildly successful and easily eclipsed HoN in terms of revenue and player base. The interesting part is when HoN changed to a F2P model in response. The floodgates were open, if you will, to a much larger - and much different - player base. A huge influx of foreign players (in this case, foreign being non-US) quickly and fundamentally changed the community. There is now a great deal of acrimony between players based on their nationality and style of play (they are linked, by the way, Starcraft 2 being a prime example). The game and metagame underwent changes that weren't nearly as significant in the older paid model. TF2, as you mention, is another example. Open to anyone, the average skill level has declined (my opinion) and the focus of the players is strongly leaning towards collection and customization instead of the original, fundamental concept of the game. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate, of course. I feel that it's an effective business model and definitely has potential, but you can tell how I feel about some of what I perceive as downsides.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424547)

Speaking of the game industry. Some people get better quality sound/music from games (e.g. Guitar Hero) than from the CDs the labels try to sell them .

FWIW I think nowadays people have more different things to spend their money on. So unless incomes increase, there should be no surprise if they spend less on CDs or music.

Especially if CDs are expensive for what you get compared to the other options.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424653)

So how do you increase income? US tried to. See what happened in the long run. And as population increases, income goes lower to everyone as there are more services available. And as the income decreases, everyone will try to do more and save more, so whole economy will suffer.

The funny thing is that this isn't really relevant to China or other countries that are developing now. And it's also the reason why China will dominate later.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (5, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424251)

Actually, I have never pirated. But I have downloaded. What I did was use the downloads to preview the music. Then I discarded them. The only downloads I still have are ones from a few artists sites that were intentionally giving them away. I used the preview downloads to make decisions on which CDs to buy, and actually did buy CDs based on the previews. The rate was about 8%. That is, if I had bought a CD corresponding to every downloaded tune, that would be 100%. But most of it I didn't like, such as Electronica that had vocals injected somewhere (I much prefer instrumental music, but I do have some vocal music I like, too). The downloads helped me to actually buy CDs. Had the downloads NOT been available, these are CDs I would likely never have.

That said, CDs are today very impractical. It's physically too large. No one carries a player anywhere near that size. The RIAA needs to get that clue bashed into their stupid heads and figure out better marketing. Still, I have bought a couple CDs in the past few years ... and "ripped" them so they could be a part of my collection. If I can't "rip" them I can't play them. If I can't play them, what's the point in buying them.

Today, most of my music collection comes from Magnatune [magnatune.com] , a site I do believe the RIAA has tried to shut down by means of illegal tricks, because it's a business model (not be evil) that they don't like. One of the great things with downloads from Magnatune is that I can modify and remix them. A lot of the music has a faster beat than I want, and I can actually slow it down in mplayer (I have my own wrapper program to do it). I can't do that with music played by some proprietary player program. And I doubt it hurts the feelings of the artists if I play their music in a different way or even remix it for my own playing as they get their bits either way and they can't hear how I might have corrupted their art.

Sales of CDs has gone down for reasons very similar to the reasons that vinyl has gone done ... there's something better out there. Unfortunately for most big corporations, they didn't figure it out soon enough ... to actually give people what they want. The vinyl format was industry produced. The CD format was industry produced. Music files that can be downloaded was not, and they just can't stand that they didn't invent it.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424273)

Actually, I have never pirated. But I have downloaded. What I did was use the downloads to preview the music. Then I discarded them.

The RIAA and the courts doesn't care if you deleted them or not, to them it was still piracy and they still consider you a criminal.
You might just as well keep the music.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424339)

they consider ripping piracy as well, it's their Right to tell you what you can or cannot do (or what to pay extra) with their property. They say.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (3, Informative)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424505)

Yep, I'm giving a monthly amount to somafm.com and get some great music from
their channels. Another upside to this particular radio is that they use a lot of indie
bands that operate disjointed from big distributors, so when you buy an album
from those bands or an LP, you know your money actually goes towards the
music.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423999)

I'd venture a guess that piracy is hurting them (slow down there, read the rest before you foam at the mouth and post a vitriolic reply), and that what they're doing to combat it is making it much, much worse, turning what would be an inconvenience into a death spiral.

I don't recall the major labels being quite so vilified in my youth. Possibly there's an element there of the internet giving voice to malcontents who waste no time in airing the recording industry's dirty laundry, but I suspect the big issue people have with them in their anti-pirate tactics. Suing grandmothers is never good PR. Nobody likes DRM. Laws that shore up antipiracy measures are widely loathed by anyone who knows much about them - see SOPA/PIPA or the DMCA.

What does this have to do with piracy? People like free shit, and dislike feeling guilt. People can pirate music for free (we'll stick to just music, since TFA is about the RIAA), but feel guilty about the artist. They assuage their guilt by familiarizing themselves with the evils of the recording industry and "stick it to the man". And by reminding everyone who'll listen that the artist hardly sees a dime from album sales anyway, unless they're already a big name. Guilt gone, music free.

My evidence for this statement is that when the artist is separated from the industry, when the pirate CANNOT pretend to be Robin Hood, then the musician actually can make a living selling their music online, DRM free. See Jonathan Coulton (who'd never make it in the industry) and Nine Inch Nails "Ghosts" album (which were actually made available for free, with a "please pay us if you like our music" option that made Reznor more money than he gets from his regular album sales).

Watch now, as the entire thread below this comment devolves into exactly the same guilt deflecting "but they're evil" roundabout justification from absolutely every retard who didn't make it as far as this last paragraph. Or maybe slashdot will pleasantly surprise me (hahahhahaha).

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (3, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424189)

People like free shit

Your cynical view of humanity is not accurate. There is such a thing as altruism. Charities somehow manage to persuade people to donate. There are actually many people who do NOT like free shit, because we don't believe it really is free, we're suspicious there's some catch.

You also attribute piracy to the desire to "stick it to the man". Yes, but that's not the whole story either. I am offended that these psychopathic dinosaurs insist on wasting all kinds of resources and then insist on PASSING THE COST OF THAT WASTE ONTO THE CUSTOMERS. We should pay all this extra money to cover the costs of producing millions of plastic disks and delivering them to thousands of bricks and mortar retail locations, just so those miserable bastards can feel more comfortable that all this extra and needless friction makes piracy more difficult? When we can have the same music delivered via the Internet for a fraction of the cost and time? Why should anyone choose to pay for someone else's gross stupidity? Because if we refuse to do it their way, they try to force and browbeat us into it, that's why. They trash us all as evil pirates, threaten to sue us all, keep cooking up extremely offensively stupid legislation and laughably pathetic DRM schemes, lie through their teeth about the amount of piracy and damages allegedly suffered, cheat artists, manipulate the public with things like Payola, and seriously think they have the moral high ground and the justification to do all this and almost any other reprehensible act to preserve their very dead business model. They should have been ashamed that Sony tried to rootkit PCs, instead they defended it! They pay lawyers to go after the very most vulnerable and helpless citizens. If they had no power, we could just ignore them. But they're old and established, and still have enough power to hurt a lot of people. The revolution is ongoing, and they're throwing themselves against the wall. They're acting like Capt Bligh-- "it's mutiny I tell you, mutiny", only they say piracy in place of mutiny. Don't point the finger at us for rebelling, point the finger at them for causing the whole thing, for calling us all thieves and rebels whether or not we really are.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424299)

People like free shit

Your cynical view of humanity is not accurate.

Yes, it is accurate, and there's nothing cynical in his statement.

There is such a thing as altruism. Charities somehow manage to persuade people to donate.

People donate for a few different reasons. Yes, some people are actually just nice and like giving back when they can. But most people who donate do it to deflect guilt, to look good to other, to get a tax break, or other reasons which are more selfish when you really look at it.
But that has absolutely nothing to do with people liking free shit.

There are actually many people who do NOT like free shit, because we don't believe it really is free, we're suspicious there's some catch.

Right, you're suspicious because you don't think it's free, and you want free shit not shit with hidden costs.

You also attribute piracy to the desire to "stick it to the man".

No he didn't. He pointed out that people use that as a rationalization so they don't feel guilty. They're doing it because of point #1: They like Free Shit.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424407)

Your cynical view of humanity is not accurate. There is such a thing as altruism. Charities somehow manage to persuade people to donate.

This is diving off into philosophy and psychology now but there are many reasons people donate other than altruism. When we see starving kids on TV it makes us unhappy and creates feelings of guilt which donation alleviates. There is also the fact that giving money to a good cause validates a person's life to some extent.

In my case there is some self interest too because both my parents had cancer, so I figure if I give money to cancer research it might help me one day. I give money to cat charities too because I like cats, and I also donate to help victims of the Japanese tsunami, but I honestly couldn't tell you what percentage of these actions is down to altruism and what is something else.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424201)

I don't recall the major labels being quite so vilified in my youth.

I dunno how old you are, but they weren't exactly popular in my youth! The Sex Pistols song "EMI" kinda embodied the way people felt about them in the 70s.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424317)

I don't recall the major labels being quite so vilified in my youth.

I dunno how old you are, but they weren't exactly popular in my youth! The Sex Pistols song "EMI" kinda embodied the way people felt about them in the 70s.

And Pink Floyd, "By the way, which one's Pink?" And others.

However, I think they became much more reviled when the technology for production and distribution made them utterly useless middle-men (compared to the LP era), who insisted on maintaining their stranglehold on the market and their profits despite changing times.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (2)

pxc (938367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424205)

There's a problem with your post in that you assume that music pirates only use the irrelevance of music sales to revenue for most artists as a dishonest rationalization. All of the behavior/psychology described in your post could be restated simply as ‘people are more interested in seeing through the success of the artist than they are in supporting the success of some salesman’. They may not necessarily feel any guilt about piracy to begin with. The younger generations certainly don't. The RIAA doesn't have to be evil to justify the view that pirating music is morally acceptable. The facts that (a) publishers are not artists, and (b) copyright law is, for the citizens whose interests it ought to serve in any democracy, purely instrumental, and only valuable to the extent which it helps introduce new art into the ecosystem (which was once-upon-a-time called ‘the public domain’) are enough.

This isn't a view which comes from a place of reflexive entitlement, either. In the case of online piracy, pirates ask nothing of the publishers — they download nothing from the publishers themselves. There is nothing about the view that I should be able to copy a recording from a friend which entails any obligations toward me, on the part of the publisher (or even the artist). The only demand made is one of rational thought: for all parties involved to recognize that ideas are not objects, and do not share the constraints of actual objects. They are not natural property, and the enormous legal efforts to make ideas emulate natural property have proven ineffective in the face of recent technological developments. But this is okay, because the goal of ensuring the production of creative works for the sake of the public good remains attainable by other means — and we can resume pursuit of that goal as soon as we abandon this sinking ship of ideas-as-property.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424309)

They may not necessarily feel any guilt about piracy to begin with. The younger generations certainly don't

I don't recall feeling guilty about copying tapes when I was young... maybe the guilt is something that is acquired with age as we learn how the world works - if that's the case then I fully expect the RIAA's actions to counteract this tendency for people to acquire guilt.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424105)

I buy more music than ever by using emusic, I just don't buy anything associated with the RIAA corps. On average I spend about four times as much per month these days.

Either way, even if the lies were true, disposable income spent on copyrighted entertainment means more spent on other activities as well as the converse - money spent on copyright cost jobs in other industries.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424197)

I haven't bought a CD in the last decade. Not worth the cost considering the quality of the recordings you find nowadays.
Now I listen to the music broadcasted on the radio, or via streaming both of which are free. Or as a last resort I go back to my father's collection of classical and jazz music he built up during the eighties and early nineties.
But the RIAA will never again see a cent from me.

I'd buy music directly from the artists if they would release in lossless high definition 24 bit/96khz.
Otherwise what I've got will do.

I guess I have to be the worst kind of pirate. He who has stepped off the continual upgrade cycle.

Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (2)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424623)

An industry's decline due to changing market factors is not necessarily a problem - it's just the natural way of things.

I think this particular industry is not declining due to changing market conditions - after all they change in all the industries all the time. The difference is most other industries adapt to market, while the entertainment industry tried to force the market to adapt to its model. With rise of digital media (lossless copies) and fast internet (instant worldwide distribution) they lost control of their distribution channels. Now they're trying to change the situation by lobbying for crap like SOPA/ACTA et al. and freedom of speech/civil liberties be damned. It's time they went the way of the dodo. This system cannot be changed, it needs to be rebuilt from scratch, including copyrights.

I am sure you aren't comparing apples to apples (1)

hashish (62254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423885)

Pun intended btw.

Pirating music maybe part of the drop but there are many other factors. The world has changed, people play youtube music at parties now.

Re:I am sure you aren't comparing apples to apples (2)

wierdling (609715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423913)

Ah, but don't you know, all YouTube music is pirated. Even the butterflies.

Re:I am sure you aren't comparing apples to apples (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424331)

Ah, but don't you know, all YouTube music is pirated. Even the butterflies.

I've been wondering why YouTube apparently isn't being hammered with take-down notices. You find a published song or bootleg recording, watch it, and it's still there several years later.

Maybe the labels tacitly acknowledge that it's good advertising.

Re:I am sure you aren't comparing apples to apples (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424453)

I've been wondering why YouTube apparently isn't being hammered with take-down notices. You find a published song or bootleg recording, watch it, and it's still there several years later.

Maybe the labels tacitly acknowledge that it's good advertising.

They can leave it there, claim it is theirs, add adverts, and make money off the adverts, instead of taking it down.

The boss of SONY was complaining that the music rights organisation in Germany was just taking down videos, instead of doing this: http://torrentfreak.com/sony-music-boss-censored-youtube-videos-cost-us-millions-120224/ [torrentfreak.com]

Re:I am sure you aren't comparing apples to apples (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424733)

Google essentially made a deal, they spent a lot of money creating Content-ID [youtube.com] to please the copyright holders.

I found the other $50 billion... (3, Funny)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423897)

Clearly, it's coming from all the economic losses suffered at the hands of DRM and additional copyright enforcement.

Taxes (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423899)

I'd like to see these losses reported to the IRS.

the quality dropped (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423907)

While I have _a lot_ of vinyl from the 60's and 70's I slowed down buying at later years. Now the CD recordings are unpleasant to listen because of loss of dynamic range (loud mastering) I don't buy them. One reason for the growing sales of vinyl. I don't download either. If the music industry can come up with artists and quality of the past I will not buy anything (new). I believe I am not alone on this.

Re:the quality dropped (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424451)

No, no. You just have to buy the latest audio equipment with golden cables and this stuff. This brings back the full dynamic range of your audio experience.

Re:the quality dropped (1)

bobv-pillars-net (97943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424593)

+1 Funny.

3 hours of entertainment daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423933)

I watch and read what is freely available world wide.. that fills my 3 hours daily.. feel sorry for someone who pirates in a global world of entertainment..

losses...what losses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423947)

I've never downloaded music or Vids. I have brought used CDs and DVDs from a couple of local stores. Also checked out CDs and DVDs from the local library. And have ripped most of them to my HD. Is this illegal? If so, sue me...I'm tort proof as I have no assets.

Re:losses...what losses? (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424121)

Oh that's fine if you don't currently have anything, because they'll make sure you stay that way for the rest of your life.

It's not piracy (4, Interesting)

Hackysack (21649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423955)

There is a fundamental shift in the underlying business models. (Thank goodness)

a) No longer is the only source of getting a song, buying an album. Now, if you like a song, you buy the song for 1.29, rather than the album for $20 from HMV or wherever.
b) Social media and word of mouth trumps advertising and corporate presentation. It's much harder to convince your audience to spend the $20 for the album with 1 mediocre song, and it's much easier for your audience to talk amongst them selves and realize that the album isn't worth it.

c) Thanks to the digital age, the industry is shrinking. Same for newspapers.

A large portion of the size of the industry was the overhead necessary to distribute physical media. I'm not sure what %, but I'm certain it was significant. This business value is gone and/or going now. What you're left with is the value of the purely creative side, some marketing, some overhead.

If the value of a newspaper in 1990 was $100M, and $60M of that could be attributed to the capital & overhead required to actually produce and deliver the newspaper; now it's 2012, and after inflation the same company finds itself worth $40M because they've lost the need to maintain the infrastructure to do the physical delivery. The same is true for Music (tho not yet for movies, although coming) A very large portion of the value of a music distribution company was the distribution part. That's gone now, thank goodness.

We just need the industry to adapt to the new mode where creation is harder than delivery, because right now I feel like we're not being served well by record company A&R.

But that's just me

Re:It's not piracy (2)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424149)

"a) No longer is the only source of getting a song, buying an album"

I'm always vaguely bemused at this canard, which is constantly cited over and over by both sides of whatever argument you happen to be having at the time.

'The only source of getting a song' has _never_ been buying an album. At least in by far the most common case, which is 'wanting to buy that popular song that you keep hearing on the radio'. All those songs on the radio are called 'singles'. And you've _always_ been able to buy them...as singles. CD singles, record singles, whatever - you get the song you wanted, and a couple of tracks of filler, for about 1/8th the cost of the album.

Until recently, when digital distribution changed everything, singles massively outsold albums. I'm just not sure where this phantom image of millions of sad people buying entire albums just to get single tracks comes from, because it's never actually been the case.

Re:It's not piracy (1)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424215)

Singles weren't a common practice everywhere around the world. Maybe they were easily available in US and Europe (I don't really know about that), but they have been quite rare here in Brazil from the Vinyl Era to these days..

Re:It's not piracy (1)

mojotooth (53330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424255)

Who said we're only allowed to like the songs that the record companies release as singles?

Re:It's not piracy (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424335)

Ok, what if you wanted a song that wasn't released as a single? What if you wanted the album version instead of the single version because it was edited to fit within 3 minutes and you really liked the long guitar solo?

Re:It's not piracy (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424359)

Until recently, when digital distribution changed everything, singles massively outsold albums. I'm just not sure where this phantom image of millions of sad people buying entire albums just to get single tracks comes from, because it's never actually been the case.

Possibly the Slashdot demographic isn't the run-out-and-buy-the-latest-top-40-hit crowd. I probably bought one single for every 10-20 LPs I bought.

And never a Super-Dooper-Deluxe-Remaster of a single, though I'm embarrassed to admit that they suckered me into buying a lot of SDDR albums.

Re:It's not piracy (3, Interesting)

amck (34780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424651)


Possibly the Slashdot demographic isn't the run-out-and-buy-the-latest-top-40-hit crowd. I probably bought one single for every 10-20 LPs I bought.

Is there still a Top40? I mean, that people can name musicians on, rather than a manipulated sales list up on a website somewhere?
Once upon a time, "Top of the Pops", giving the top40, was one of the biggest programs on BBC TV. Ok, it lost its market to MTV,
but really it died when the labels dropped their midlists in the late 1990s -early 2000s. They dropped over 80% of their _profitable_ artists, concentrating on the few big earners. Now, there aren't enough new songs out there to stage a Top40 show every week, least one that people want to watch (rather than fill the hours on MTV).

If RIAA gave me vouchers for 4 new albums from 2011 or 2012 for free, I couldn't name any music I would want.

So, I go to gigs and buy CDs there if the band is any good. RIAA should be ashamed of themselves for how bad a job they are doing at promoting and selling music. Their top-5 only model collapsed on them, and they should stop blaming piracy.

Now, I may not like X-factor, etc. but there would have been _something_ out there. I used to cringe at some of the "oldie" material that made the Top40 in Ireland etc when I was growing up, but it was bought by people. The equivalent music isn't there for someone who doesn't want the top 3 songs that make RIAA the most profit.

Re:It's not piracy (5, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424371)

Except singles weren't released for $0.99. No you couldn't just buy the song. You had to buy the Single, which had 5 different versions of the same song for about half the price of the entire album if the single was still in the charts, and still about $5 if it was not.

There's nothing good to be said about the overpriced distribution methods the industry is trying to hold on to. The fundamental problem is that these like many things were priced as high as the market would bare, however the market changed, as did consumer expectations and the price did not.

Re:It's not piracy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424425)

yea 10-15 euros for a single or 15-15 for an album...

very few singles sold in 2 euros range. mostly punk.

Re:It's not piracy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424401)

Until recently, when digital distribution changed everything, singles massively outsold albums. I'm just not sure where this phantom image of millions of sad people buying entire albums just to get single tracks comes from, because it's never actually been the case.

Yes, actually that's been the case for quite a while. I worked at a major music retail store in the 90's so I have a little bit of an "insider" view of this. First, keep in mind that none of what I'm saying is 100% universally true, there are always exceptions.

Most of the time, a song will be chosen for "placement" on the Top 100 charts. This is done by adding the song to the mandated radio playlists, which pushes consumer interest in the song. At the same time, a "single" of the song would be released ahead of the full album, usually a few weeks prior, in the form of a "single" which was produced in limited quantities.
Then the album itself would release, and most of the people who bought the single would be back to buy the full album. Once the singles had sold out that was usually it.
Now, if another song off the same album started trending, OR if the industry wanted a song to trend, it would get released as a single as well.

Only in rare situations will you see a song from an album released as a single after the album debut, and most of the time such singles will have remixes, live versions, or some other re-hash which isn't on the main album to attract buyers.

Most of the songs on an album never actually get released as a single. Or at least they didn't use to. Now days it's more common to see artists release multiple singles, and then after they get enough they might release an "album" which in reality is better described as a "compilation of singles".

Re:It's not piracy (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424519)

Not all songs are released as singles. You must be a 12 year old Justin Bieber fan to not know that.

Re:It's not piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424291)

Maybe you are mentioning this fact as well...

Take into account how much money they spend to buy off ISP's, how much they spend for lobbyists to buy off politicians, and the hoards of Lawyers and legal fees.
Are they taking this out of there gross profits, so the number they are "publicly" (wink wink) giving is false.

I would agree with your assessment, the author of this article seems to be more of a horrible blogger then an actual fact finding free thinker.

Here's an idea... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423957)

Perhaps the people who stopped buying music because it was available free through Napster started spending more money on other entertainment industries, since cable tv, movie sales, box office sales and pretty much everything except music grew much quicker than historic figures would have predicted.

So maybe RIAA lost a few billion. MPAA looks like they have gained more than what was lost.

Re:Here's an idea... (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424237)

The movie studios (the MPAA & RIAA are just lobbying bodies, they don't actually make any money off media sales) have almost certainly eaten into the profits of the music studios with the advent of the market for home movies to buy/rent. The same can also be said of the video gaming industry, which didn't exist until the early 1980s and only really started making serious money by perhaps 1985 or so. OK, the video and game industries have probably also grown at the expense of other entertainment businesses - cinemas, arcades, bars, bowling alleys, etc. - but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find a correlation between the growth of movie and game sales and the music industries post-1973 decline. They are all competing for the same disposable income, after all.

Apple killed it (1)

dbergerson (1116701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39423967)

In 1999 CD's sold for $15-20. You can thank Apple for the pricing shift. We have gone from paying that much for the physical media to 9.99-12.99. We have also gone to a "45's" model of selling singles. The 99 cent song has done more to bastardize the sale of the physical CD than anything. The music industry tried to replace the 45 in the past with cassette singles, but never had a true CD replacement.

vs Bankster Trillions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39423991)

If the banksters don't get away with stealing trillions, then people will have jobs again and buy more music. But as it stands now, no banksters have seen jail, no money clawed back, just more profits for the REAL pirates at the top printing FRN's from pure imagination.

Until the Constitution is restored, the music industry will fuck itself to death, stripping all our rights along the path.

The only people that give a shit now are the actual bands who can't sell much swag shit cause people are out of work, but the MPAA doesn't represent their own bands. The bands are treated like contract signing golden sac muppets.

MPAA, the people don't give a shit about your numbers or your claims of piracy. Only your treasonous pirate enablers in the government will be happy to swallow your hot dogs all in one sucking while leaving the people with the shit like usual. I got only one question for you, when the civil war starts because of your bullshit, do you think sales for music will go up or down?

Autotune to blame? (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424001)

I hate seeing compression artifacts in so-called high def video - it causes me to think about the display rather than the story. The same thing happens to music when processed with Autotune. To my ear, it sounds like a machine - not a human. The same thing happens with poorly remastered CDs. I've pretty much given up buying new CDs or any modern digital music from big companies because the sound grates my ears.

Re:Autotune to blame? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424671)

Don't take this personally but I wonder if this is similar to what happens in Autistic people. An autisic brain interprets it sensory input at face value whereas a "normal" brain interprets it alongside what "should be" and tosses more of the noise away, making it literally non-existant to the owner of the "normal" brain. As the owner of a "normal" brain my comprehension of the written word is pretty good but my proof-reading sucks because my brain regularly auto-corrects mistakes and fails to inform me. As I understand it, the owner of an autistic brain has the opposite skill set

Jobs and Profits (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424013)

The argument that piracy results in job losses is bunk on its face.

Imagine that the MPAA is right, and millions or even billions of dollars really are lost due to piracy. Now imagine that piracy doesn't happen and that all that money goes where the MPAA says it should. The companies of the content industry now have extra billions of dollars in revenue and profit.

Where does this money go?

Do they give all their workers a raise? No, they're not a charitable organization. As publicly-traded corporations, it would even be illegal for them to do such a thing out of the goodness of their hearts.

Do they hire more workers? No, what would they hire more workers for? The jobs they provide are already enough to make these untold billions in profit. Extra people employed (beyond the necessary few extra for shipping&handling of the increased volume in CDs, etc) would just be a drain on the balance sheet. Again, not a charity providing make-work jobs.

Do they pay out bigger executive bonuses, pay out stock dividends, execute corporate takeovers, bribe, erm, lobby congressmen? Yeah, these things seem quite a bit more likely.

Re:Jobs and Profits (3, Interesting)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424191)

A better question is where the money comes from.

I mean a 160GB MP3 player can hold about 40k songs, so that's $40k if you buy them on itunes. So, the guy with a mp3 player full of pirated music:
1. Has spare $40k in his drawer (or safe),
2. Has spare $40k in a bank account,
3. Bought something else with those $40k.
(or the money was divided between the three options).
So, if it's #1 then great - more money in the economy. If he takes te $40k from his bank account, then it's a loss for the bank (not a big one though). If the guy decides to fill his mp3 player with legal music instead of buying something else then it's a loss for the whatever industry that has his money now (when he decided to pirate the music and buy something else instead).

Re:Jobs and Profits (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424301)

If the RIAA ran banks, they would be whining that people are withdrawing money to buy stuff.

Not due to piracy (4, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424021)

The decline in record sales has nothing to do with piracy. It's roughly outweighed by an increase in sales of downloadable music. The only difference is that the revenues end up with other companies such as Apple (or directly with the artists), instead of with the record companies.

Really, this is nothing new. Just comparing the raw numbers is likely to mislead you if you don't have knowledge about the music market.

Re:Not due to piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424287)

The decline in record sales has nothing to do with piracy. It's roughly outweighed by an increase in sales of downloadable music. The only difference is that the revenues end up with other companies such as Apple (or directly with the artists), instead of with the record companies.

Really, this is nothing new. Just comparing the raw numbers is likely to mislead you if you don't have knowledge about the music market.

Although I still think piracy is making some impact on their sales, I agree with you whole heartedly that much of the decrease in music industry's sales is due to the increase of downloadable music (coupled with what other people have pointed out, that we can buy individual songs now).

I remember being forced to buy $20 CD's where I only ended up liking 1 song, and 2 different greatest hits albums with 60% similar contents because the other one were missing songs I just gotta have (the original albums weren't always available where I grew up).

Once this option stopped the music industry from stuffing their fucked up pricing down our throats, they are bound to lose revenue.

I for one vow to pirate music as much as I can, being ripped off heavily in the past.

You don't have to work for the RIAA anymore. (2)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424035)

I buy a decent amount of music. I'm just finding that most of the stuff I listen to is not on an RIAA label and tends to be from other countries. The RIAA stuff I do listen to are bands that have been around a long time (like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden). The internet made it possible to find good music from all over the world rather than buying whatever is on the radio, and it turns out people on the other side of the world aren't as eager to move to Hollywood to get screwed over by a big record label.

Ever tried considering that times changed, too? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424041)

Let's take a look at the record industry's main customers: Teenagers and young adults. I hope it's no secret that the people who buy the most music are in the 14-25 age bracket.

Now, what did teenagers have to spend their dough on before the 2000s? Well, I was in that precious age bracket just before Napster came into existence, so maybe I may talk about it: Music, fashion and ... umm.... I guess computers counted only if you're a geek. Music and fashion WAS pretty much what teens blew their money on before the millennium rolled over. Throw in a few movie tickets and the odd night out with friends in the local teen bar (yes, such things exist in Europe where you may drink before you may drive, but I digress) and you got what teens wasted money on.

Fast forwards to the present. Now, I'm not a teenager anymore, but I "fortunately" have to suffer from having contact to them. Sidenote, never volunteer for anyone. But I digress again. So I see what they have to pay today. Cellphone bills, online gaming, gaming in general (mostly console outside of WoW, actually), iPod accessories (ok, they double as fashion, actually), ... you get the idea.

In other words, the companies that vie for the teens' money multiplied. It's no longer Diesel jeans and Sony music alone. I don't want to claim that this, in turn, doesn't make them copy music instead of buying it ... but then again, so did we when we were young. Ok, it was tape-to-tape copying rather than downloading it, aside of that, well, you cut corners where you can when your money is tight. And there's hardly a teen who isn't short on cash constantly.

Silly media people (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424043)

thinking that because they created it everyone should be buying it and because it didn't sell now they have the "internet pirates" to blame. Maybe they should talk to Ford about the Edsel. Every second movie being a remake and every pop song sounding the same has nothing to do with people not wanting to buy the shit and just download it to see how horrible it really is.

I use to buy tapes and cd\s blindly because I wanted that new album or wanted to discover something new just to find out it was shit work which I just wasted money on. This was improved a bit in the late 90's when some record shops let you listen to the cd's before you bought them. At that time my hit to shit ration improved but by then Napster appeared and I was set to save money and only buy good works. Unfortunately this led to downloading madness which revealed just how bad lots of the music out there was.

Re:Silly media people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424131)

I don't know. I thought they were pretty catchy, myself.

Our house, in the middle of our street.

Re:Silly media people (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424677)

Welcome to the house of fun, now I've come of age. Welcome to the house of fun.

Great stuff [pulls up iTunes store]

Revenue vs Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424045)

OK, Let's say that revenue should never ever change for any industry ever unless it rises. A pretty faulty premise but what the heck. What has happened to their costs over the same period? I don't know an awful lot of people who buy their music on physical media anymore. Digital media simply does not cost as much as any physical media so there must have been some savings there. What are their margins like now compared to back then?

Boycott (5, Insightful)

thestuckmud (955767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424049)

To Whom it may concern,
Please count the lack of revenue you are receiving from me in the boycott category. I do not pirate music, but I'm sending another dime to companies that gang up to alienate me.
My grudge goes back a ways - highlights include: Lying to me about CD price hikes in the '80s; taxing my computer media in the '90s, intentionally distributing malware laden CDs in 2000, and now the outrageous legislative attempts.
Sincerely,
One bitter ex customer.

Re:Boycott (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424397)

highlights include: Lying to me about CD price hikes in the '80s

Don't forget the early period panic-mongering, "there's only going to be one limited run of your favorite album on CD, so you'd better buy it while it's on the shelves".

Re:Boycott (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424499)

Do you believe that boycotting customers is a substantial factor in the sales then?

How many people are boycotting the record industry?

Re:Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424525)

If I count myself, and GP, at least 2.

Re:Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424645)

one here...

Re:Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424613)

Someone please mod the parent poster to 5.

I won't fund RIAA or MPAA any more. I am sick to death of these organisations and their underhanded tactics.

Let's put it simple, the best way I can kill you is by not supporting you. It's GAME OVER. NO MORE PURCHASES.

Now please p*ss off and die.

Shame you had to set the FBI onto MegaBox - now the concept of money to the artists without a middle man who does nothing? That I can buy into.

AC

That money and jobs are not lost (3, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424057)

consumers just gained a way to even the playing filed with not getting stuck with worthless music and movies. Now that money has shifted to help out other industries and created new jobs in those. Unless that money is taken out of the country by corporations using off shore accounts and tax heavens that money went back into the countries economy so nothing was lost.

I bought 200 CDs when I was younger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424079)

Maybe 30-40 a year for 5 or 6 years And so did my wife.

Then we had enough and stopped buying, even though we have 10x the money now.

Now we are in our 40s and we listen to the stuff we already own. We buy maybe 2-3 a year now, and mostly via iTunes or direct from the artist (self published).

So we spend 95% less on music and none of that is attributable to piracy.

One word (2, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424081)

Correlation is not causation.

Re:One word (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424403)

Correlation is not causation.

Are you sure the drop in revenues didn't cause piracy?

Re:One word (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424521)

One word? What kind of math do you use? I count 4 words using traditional math and my fingers, -1.702e^9 words using copyright math and excell, and 11 words (including those in hidden dimentions) using a popular version of string theory.

It's not hard mate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424083)

Forecast what the growth in the music industry should of been from 1999 till 2012, then do you're numbers.

I'd suggest that across content, 50 billion is an amazingly reserved figure.

Other content providers aren't quite as susceptible to piracy. In the case of games it's the risk of piracy (time delays, risk of virus, broken content, online bans) v the desire for instant gratification and the percieved value to a user. In the case of movies its quality vs perceived value.

Music has almost entirely has no drawbacks to piracy, probably since the mass take-up of MP3.

Not a valid comparison... (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424097)

You take (sales in 1999) - (sales in 2010) = $8B, the loss in sales for one year, and compare it to $58B, which is over an unspecified time period. This comparison does not make sense. Maybe it's more clear in the video, but I didn't watch it, because I can't skim it.

I'm no fan of the recording industry, but come on, don't be disingenuous about this.

Re:Not a valid comparison... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424395)

and compare it to $58B, which is over an unspecified time period.

A quick Google brings up a PDF from the MPAA site claiming that "$58 billion in economic output is lost to the U.S. economy annually" [mpaa.org] . If the guy's research is as thorough as he implies in the summary then it probably was explicitly mentioned in the video.

Total content spending up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424109)

It has to be adjusted for total content spending.

There is a major new type of content that was not available in the original timeframe: Video Games.

There are also some modified versions such as streaming services.

I think the TOTAL spending on content has likely increased, but it is also being re-distributed, as people just don't have enough personal discretionary budget available to spend the same that they used to on music & movies and add in video games.

Re:Total content spending up (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424417)

It has to be adjusted for total content spending.

There is a major new type of content that was not available in the original timeframe: Video Games.

Also, in 1970 every teenager didn't have to have a cell phone and all the other portable electronics that are de rigueur these days. It's possible that the music-buying demographic spends a smaller portion of their disposable income on music. (OK, that's what you were saying.)

Inflated Numbers Due to Price Fixing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424143)

I thought that the sales numbers from 1995 to 2000 were inflated due to the 'minimum-adventised pricing' that the record companies got sued for. I'm not sure it's fair to compare sales figures now against numbers from that period.

Re:Inflated Numbers Due to Price Fixing? (1)

Tjebbe (36955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424379)

Yup, as it happens, 1999 was not just 'the year of napster' but the year the industry got slapped for price fixing. So the 8 billion there may very well have been caused by that. And even if it's not the only real cause, it's still highly inflated or plain wrong to attribute that 8 billion only to 'piracy'.

in a totally unrelated topic... (1)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424241)

did you know that, this dude is married to Morgan Webb of Tech TV and G4 fame ? :-)

Piracy =/= loss (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424247)

The main problem with music industry figures seems to be that they estimate how much piracy there is and then claim that as a loss. However, that's based on the flawed assumption that if people weren't pirating the music they'd be paying for it - which they wouldn't, they'd just go without it most of the time. Just because someone downloads a song for free doesn't mean they would have bought it if it wasn't available for free. A lot of people who download pirated music also buy music. There's only so much money available to be spent on music anyway.

I'm sure a part of the reason why sales went down is because the music industry resisted the move to downloads. If they had half a brain and they'd embraced downloads from the start, sales probably would have been stable or maybe even risen a bit. As it was, their troglodyte attitudes forced people to turn to piracy.

Efficiency, not losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424261)

It's not $58 million in losses. It's $58 million in efficiency savings being delivered across the economy thanks to new technologies driving productivity improvements.

Re:Efficiency, not losses (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424327)

Think of the RIAA members as banks. Instead of depositing $58B into accounts and letting it sit there, people are withdrawing that money and actually spending it on stuff. So the RIAA member banks are whining about loss of deposits. Want some cheese with that?

It's a changing business model, and piracy accounts for only a small percentage of the drop. No one wants CDs, anymore. MP3s may have artifact noise, but they do have a higher dynamic range than CDs. Even though a CD can range out to 96db, it has too few bits at the lower levels because it is linear PCM, so the dynamic range comes quantization noise, making it effectively just 48db usable dynamic range. Neither media is perfect, and people deal with it. High end audiophiles are trying to get things in 24 bit 192k samples, which does sound better. But, it cannot ever be on CD that way.

How do you know it's piracy? (2)

FunkDup (995643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424265)

There are definitely concrete and quantifiable piracy-related losses

How do we know these losses are piracy related? I tend to think a lot of it is because no-one has to buy an album they don't want just to get two or three songs. Here in Australia that means a $10-$15 song drops to to $1.50. Market correction related losses?.

I personally am spending more than ever on music but it's all from Beatport etc. I'd be surprised if the RIAA is counting much of that money.

Uhm, yes, but... (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424307)

The Recording Industry Association’s website has a robust and credible database that details industry sales going back to 1973, which any researcher can access for a few bucks (and annoying as I’ve found the RIAA to be on certain occasions, I applaud them for making this data available). I used it to compare the industry’s revenues in 1999 (when Napster debuted) to 2010 (the most recent available data). Sales plunged from $14.6 billion down to $6.8 billion — a drop that I rounded to $8 billion in my talk. This number is broadly supported by other sources, and I find it to be entirely credible.

OK, you find it credible twice. Any particular reason?

Also:

Are you claiming that Napster has something to do with this? If so, how much, and how do you know?

How do you take the economic melt-down into account?

How do you account for aging Baby Boomers who are losing the ability to justify shelling out for yet another remastering of LPs they bought 40 years ago?

Why calculate on revenues rather than profits?

How much of those revenues are the inherent cost of pressing a CD and putting it in a plastic box, which was *much* more common back then?

Who's losing jobs? Are musicians giving up because they can't find a gig and a sharecropper contract? Or do executives just need to hire fewer people to count their money?

These raw numbers are meaningless.

Re:Uhm, yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424657)

Who's losing jobs? Studio musicians, recording engineers, producers, arrangers, song writers etc... Although part of this is due to other technological developments (more sophisticated softsynths, sampling, home studios with computer-based DAWs) - then again I work in the music industry (as a recording/mix engineer at a rather large Los Angeles studio)... But I do see a lot of my colleagues who had great careers no longer able to find steady work (no musician can recoup what it costs to really make a well produced album.) Obviously there will be outliers who can truly do it themselves at a high level - but to me it's sad to see my art-form decay due to lack of industry. /rant

Not due to piracy? (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424389)

It's a mistake to assume that the $8 billion drop in music sales is entirely due to piracy. DVDs appeared in 1998 and by 2004 DVD sales were $14 billion. VHS sales were never that high so much of that money must have been coming out of other entertainment spending. I think a lot of people stopped buy so many CDs when they started buying DVDs.

Re:Not due to piracy? (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424495)

What didn't help is that a movie DVD on the whole was (and probably still is) cheaper than most CDs to buy. DVDs have more content, the original content is much more expensive to produce, and yet a DVD movie costs less money to buy than a CD. For any economically savvy person that was a clear indication that we were being gouged on CD prices.

How much does the way we buy music affect things? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424459)

Claiming that there's absolutely no effect on sales from piracy is as hopelessly naive as claiming that every pirated copy is a lost sale, but can we put the entire difference down to piracy?

Online purchasing makes it a lot easier to buy. However, it also makes it possible to buy a single track. Perhaps many people are shunning albums.

Are mp3 downloads also cheaper? Do online services like Spotify affect sales?

Alternatively, is piracy an even bigger problem than the raw numberws suggest, and the easy of online purchase mitigating this somewhat?

oakley eyeglasses frames (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424509)

No matches found for this city name. Try searching on a shorter string, such as "Frankfurt" instead of "Frankfurt am Main".
http://www.oakley-cheap-sunglasses.org/

Two likely causes (1)

Kohlrabi82 (1672654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424537)

Dwindling sales of the RIAA labels could have two probable causes:

1. With Spotify and similar streaming services, most people can get all the music they need for 5$ a month. The offers there probably satisfy most users.

2. The CDs that get released by major labels are produced so poorly that I entirely stopped buying any major label releases (also because my taste evolved). It's completely retarded marketing on the majors end. The people buying CDs today are actually not the young people, but rather in their late twenties and thirties. Those actually know how properly mastered music sounds, and current CD releases are far from that. It's totally schizophrenic to still put out CDs, but to treat your own product in such a poor fashion that it's simply worthless.

BAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424551)

The plunge in sales is simply because modern music is crap. Everyone knows that - even your grandparents!!!

Fabbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424563)

Just wait until fabbing takes off in a real way. That's when the real IP battles heat up.

The Problem is Digital Music (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424575)

I believe that since music became digital people only buy it once. I have some albums in Vinyl, 8-track, cassette and CD. Once I went all digital though I only buy music once and then have it forever. I bet I've bought some albums on cassette 3 or 4 times as tapes got lost or deteriorated and the same with Vinyl LP's. I know I"ve bought Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffitti album at least 10 times in various types of media over the years. It's on my server now and I"ll never have to buy it again.

Assuming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424611)

Asuming apple made its profit in those last years only on the hardware it sells.

Ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39424675)

Lets get it right here. Calling copyright infringement "piracy" is the RIAA/MPAA and other's attempt to make copyright infringement sound like a much worse crime than it really is! The real pirates (both past and present) murder, rape, sink ships, all for profit. How does copying a CD for a friend or downloading a few mp3 files compare with that?

It seems that the MPAA/RIAA want everyone to think that all of their shrinkage of income is to be blamed on copyright infringement. Actually people are buying less CDs for a variety of reasons such as:
Poor quality of mixing, overcompression, and just plain lack of good music. As far as I am concerned, there has been very little good new music realeased since the mid 90s.

There have also been very few good new movies released since the mid 90s. Most of today's movies are crap, rehashes of older movies. Same with TV shows.

The RIAA/MPAA are killing themselves and can't seem to realize it. The sooner that they die off the better!

Enertainment Industry as a Holy Cow (3, Insightful)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424719)

I believe it is similar in the USA, but in the UK the story went like this :-

1) First the motorcycle manufacturing industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

2) Then the electronics industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

3) Then the shipbuilding industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

4) Then the mining industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

5) Then the railway equipment and train building industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

6) Then the car making industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

7) Then the steel making industry was in trouble. The Government told them to f#@k off.

BUT

8) Then the entertainment industry was in trouble and the Government said "OH MY GOD WE CANNOT ALLOW THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY TO FAIL! We must give them tax breaks, subsidies, knighthoods and do everything we can to keep this luvvly bunch of luvvies in the manner to which they are accustomed!"

I put this down to the fact that the vast majority of politicians are "humanities" people. They have degrees in history, English, fine art, psychology, PPE; hardly ever science and technology. They (like most people) see entertainers face-to-face, they are charmed by them. Unlike ships, cars and electricity which are "just there".

So politicians love the entertainment industry, which is why its pronouncements are so dangerous.

PS: Some might point out that Mrs T , about the worst offender in this, had a science degree. Very unusual for a politician. There is a different explanation for her. Having changed careers she wanted to justify it by destroying what she left behind, and getting her own back for being the junior in the lab etc.

Perhaps the lesson is that there can never be intelligent support for technology in government, except in wartime or for fads like wind generators, the workings of which any humanities guy thinks he can understand more than a nuclear power station for example

Correlation != Causation (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39424721)

So music sales have gone down, why is piracy automatically to blame?

Perhaps people consider all the manufactured pop music coming out these days trashy?
Perhaps the current state of the economy means people have less disposable income to spend on cds?
Perhaps people simply have something better to spend their money on?

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