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South Korean Music Retailers Dying

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the buggywhip-makers-dying-in-streets dept.

Businesses 568

terrymaster69 writes "According to this Reuters feature, 95% of South Korean music retail businesses have failed in the last year. 'While South Korea is not alone in seeing a downturn, the drop has been greatly accentuated and particularly deep because of the country's high-speed Internet access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated gadgets available.' Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?"

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568 comments

north korea (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491046)

NOrth Korea is killing south korean music retailers? I feel sorry for their families.

Natural (1, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491048)

I see it as natural progression.

People want information to be free - which is why P2P music sharing hasn't died yet.

Of course the RIAA have done exceedingly well turning everyone on the street into a criminal, I believe there is now a jail term for music traders? Feel free to correct me on that one if I'm wrong.

The USA isn't in a position yet where they can imprison people in SK. Not yet.

Re:Natural (3, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491082)

you mean "people want things for free" don't you?

Re:Natural (1)

slavetrade55 (444917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491143)

you mean "people want things for free" don't you?

That's a great succinct response to "information wants to be free". I'm gonna remember that one.

Re:Natural (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491199)

you mean "people want things for free" don't you?

While this may be true, are you seriously suggesting that a digital copy of music recording (a string of zeros and ones) is a thing ?

Re:Natural (4, Insightful)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491234)

While this may be true, are you seriously suggesting that a digital copy of music recording (a string of zeros and ones) is a thing ?

I don't know. Are you serously suggesting that anything which can be represented digitally is NOT a thing?

I'm not sure what's more frightening: DRM and copy controls, or the public attitudes that make them necessary.

Re:Natural (4, Insightful)

A1kmm (218902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491203)

People want music to be free as in speech. I don't think that there are many people who are opposed to paying people the cost of developing some form of information + reasonable profits. The problem is that it is forced upon them. The cost, hassle, and risk of paying, and of restricting freedom afterwards, exceeds the value the creator gets.

Unlike material assets, which have value by themselves, copyright is a government imposed monopoly, created to ensure that creators of works get an incentive to create above those who merely distribute. However, now there are also too many greedy middlemen(RIAA et. al. members), and the total cost paid by the users of the information is far in excess of the costs of production, plus reasonable profit. Governments should therefore be stepping in to ensure most of the money goes to the creators, and that copyright monopoly only lasts until the creator receives the cost of production plus reasonable profit.

Re:Natural (4, Insightful)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491241)

Governments should therefore be stepping in to ensure most of the money goes to the creators, and that copyright monopoly only lasts until the creator receives the cost of production plus reasonable profit.

Just wondering... what do you earn?

Whatever figure you reply with, I'm willing to bet that it's not "reasonable" profit. I'm, in fact, sure that you're overpaid. The government should step in and make sure that you're paid less - after all, I certainly don't consider what you get paid to be reasonable.

The "they're making more money than I want them to" argument is really really stupidly lame.

Re:Natural (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491246)

People want music to be free as in speech. I don't think that there are many people who are opposed to paying people the cost of developing some form of information + reasonable profits.

Hell no.

None of the guys who I know who are downloading music from internet is doing it as an expression of the desire for the free speech.

They do it because they don't want to pay for it.

Re:Natural (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491250)

Music is a valued thing, and everyone would prefere to get valued things for free. Granted Music is overpriced, the RIAA is a bunch of assholes, and musicians should get more of the profits, but that's not the point here. The point is information doesn't care if it's free or not. It's Information, it has no thought process. People want it to be free because they just want things for free... human nature I suppose ;)

Re:Natural (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491231)

Try: People want things less overpriced. Especially people who know anything about the cost of production. I for one have been boycotting retail music for about 20 years now. No loss; there's still radio.

BTW, RTFA: It said 95% failure in the last FIVE years, not the last year as the header says. For comparison, don't about 80% of all businesses fail within five years of startup?? Not to mention businesses that choose to specialize in archaic technology.

Re:Natural (2, Interesting)

sandwiches (801015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491257)

Obviously, everyone likes to get things free. It's obvious that if given the choice between paying $0 and paying ANY amount over that, people will choose $0 more likely than not.
I think it's time everyone woke up, including content creators such as musicians and movie makers, and took a long and realistic look at the way information is shared, today. They will realize that people sharing their intellectual "property" for free is truly inevitable.
All the efforts and money put into tracking pirates and creating new protection schemes, should be used into figuring out a way to still be able to sell people something they cannot get online. Sharing information will not stop. I think the question of whether it is immoral, illegal, or unethical is moot at this point. It will not be stopped and if you look closely, the new generations have even less and less inhibitions when it comes to "piracy".
Now, I wonder this: How will an artist born in a generation where he knows all his works can be traded for free, at any time, feel about it? Right now, most artists and publishers are complaining because they have seen the golden days, but what about the new kind of artist that is born knowing that he will most likely not be compensated monetarily for simply making a song?

Re:Natural (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491084)

It is a problem for the retailers that go out of business. Everyone wants most things for free, that doesn't necessarily mean they should get everything for free. To me, CD's are overprized as hell, but I still buy them for bands I like. Unfortuately, most people I know who use P2P don't.

Then again, when RIAA backed "musicians" like Britney Spears can buy a diamon rings worth $10 000 000 while other great bands and musicians can hardly afford releasing their albums, the RIAA won't get any sympathy from me.

Re:Natural (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491186)

Everyone wants most things for free, that doesn't necessarily mean they should get everything for free.
Every corporation wants the government to prop up their failing business model with draconian laws and/or corporate welfare, but that doesn't mean they should get it.

Re:Natural (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491196)

what they need is a good MPAA ;)

I agree completely (1)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491207)

It IS part of a natural progression, and one that has been too long in coming. First the retail stores will die, then the major labels that subsidize their product, then the payola radio stations and television stations that centralize their advertising. What will die last is the age of the massively wealthy musician, an anonmoly at best that has led us to such tragedies as Milli Vanilla and Britney. Think of the poor wretch, dear Ludwig Van, who created the greatest music the world has ever seen not for the pennies he was tossed but for his love of the art. This is the soul of music; this is the golden age to which we are returning. Down with the cartels!

Really? (4, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491050)

Did Netcraft confirm it?

*ducks*

Music in South Korea is dying (0, Troll)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491211)

No no!! That is *not* the way to go about it.

Here, let me show you, child.

It is official; Netcraft confirms: music in South Korea is dying.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered South music Korean community when IDC confirmed that South Korean music market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all other entertainment. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that music in South Korea has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. music in South Korea is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Pop Star comprehensive stardom contest.

You don't need to be a Slashdotter [slashdot.org] to predict South Korea's musical future. The hand writing is on the wall: music in South Korea faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for music in South Korea because music in South Korea is dying. Things are looking very bad for music in South Korea. As many of us are already aware, music in South Korea continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Pop Music is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its sexy singers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Pop Star developers Hon Chi Ko and Pom Pom Fo only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Pop Music is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Disco Pop Star Koo states that there are merely 7000 listeners of Disco. How many users of Rock are there? Let's see. The number of Rock versus Disco songs on the radio is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 listeners of Rock. Other genre songs on Usenet are about half of the volume of Rock songs. Therefore there are about 700 listeners of alternative music. A recent article put South Korean chick flick Disco at about 80 percent of the music in the South Korean market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 music listeners. This is consistent with the number of songs on the radio.

Due to the troubles at Pyonyong, political instability, abysmal sales and so on, Disco Music went out of business and was taken over by eminent American pop-stars such as the well endowed Britney Spears, who tries to sell what is called "american pop trash". Now American Pop is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that music in South Korea has steadily declined in market share. music in South Korea is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If music in South Korea is to survive at all it will be among dilettante entertainment dabblers. music in South Korea continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, music in South Korea is dead.

Fact: music in South Korea is dying

(blatantly stolen from an AC *BSD troll)

Records (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491053)

It's natural progression. Records died out didnt they?

Re:Records (1)

cinemabaroque (783205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491079)

whoa! i don't know about you but the most successful music stores in the US focus of vinyl because people who buy records don't care about going from one digital format (ie CDs) to another (mp3s).

as for myself, i own about 3 cds, one of them is a free demo and about 200 or so records.

Re:Records (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491103)

As a year 12 student, I can tell you that none of my friends own records, nor do I. How many new albums come out on records these days? This IS natural progression.

Re:Records (1)

Vint Cerf (713706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491167)

Only buying records is a good way of filtering out the trash.

Re:Records (1)

cinemabaroque (783205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491214)

actually almost everything comes out on vinyl these days. The strokes, radiohead, the white stripes, fucking kid rock and limp bisquit for christs sake releases a 12'' of their albums. Almost anything hip hop or electronic is out on vinyl (and a lot thats _only_ on vinyl). Most indie rock comes out on vinyl (sleater kinney, fugazi, unwound... could go on, but i won't). Name a band, i bet they have a record.

This is enough for RIAA... (3, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491055)

This news is enough for RIAA:
They will start a fresh more intensive drive to put the falling sales on "piracy" and "file sharing"...

RIAA will portray musicians as starving somalis who have to sell their souls to lawyers to fight for them...

INDUCE act will be reintroduced by Orrin Hatch and will be passed by 284-0

Re:This is enough for RIAA... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491174)

Wait a second, since when were sales falling? The Recording Industry Association of America has no excuse to complain about what happens in Korea, especially since last I heard sales were up here!

[yes, I know they'll complain anyway -- no need to tell me about it]

That's it... (4, Funny)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491056)

...Kim Jong Il has gone way too far now. It was one thing when he was developing nuclear weapons (hell, the US didn't seem to care), but now he's killing the South Korean recording industry? For shame.

Re:That's it... (1)

Vint Cerf (713706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491182)

I'm quite worried about their No-Dong [fas.org] missiles.

Re:That's it... (0, Offtopic)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491197)

I'm quite worried about their No-Dong missiles.

OK, so they have "no dong", but I wonder if they have they balls to use them...

Who gives a fuck? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491057)

Music retailers in South Korea? It's not going to matter much once North Korea nukes South Korea's ass.

let's see... (5, Insightful)

zxflash (773348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491060)

the industry chose litigation over innovation...

i think we know how this one ends...

Re:let's see... (1)

Snipes420 (689240) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491067)

amen If they havent realized that this is inevitable yet, then this should help

Re:let's see... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491105)

It ends with the lawyers owning everything?

Oblig. BSD dying (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491062)

I thought it was *BSD that was dying.

I just can't keep up anymore.

:/

So what? (4, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491064)

Music retailers are middlemen. They add exactly no value to the merchandise they sell. So when you make distribution cheap and easy (like buying direct on Amazon, or Itunes, etc), OF COURSE the middlemen are going to suffer. Thus is the nature of structure unemployment [wikipedia.org] .

perhaps but (1)

iamnotacrook (816556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491124)

there is no need to gloat over it, these are just people trying to make a living and if they cant see the "big picture" like slashdotters can its no reason for them to lose their livelihood, how about some symptathy wile they restrucuture into the modern age ?

Re:perhaps but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491140)

Umm I think that what you're trying to say is "I'm a South Korean Music Middle Man, you insensitive CLOD!"

Re:perhaps but (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491217)

Yes, it sucks for them. However, the problem with all this "sympathy" that's going around is that people start believing that they somehow deserve to be saved from their failure and start supporting the kind of laws (e.g. INDUCE) that turn a free society into a police state. The reality is that market forces (i.e. supply and demand) will prevail, regardless of regulation to prevent it, but that it's very possible to destroy society in the process.

In other words, sympathy is dangerous.

Wishful thinking? (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491220)

and not just gloating? The RIAA what this guy's saying loud and clear. They know what they are (middleman) and they know they're largely unecesary now. But so what? It's 2004 and us here in the US still have an Electoral College, right? Those of us in the US know those middlemen are busy figuring out how to screw us, and so far they're doing a damn fine job. They bought up mp3.com, and shut down successful bands that weren't in a hurry to sign nasty contracts (way too lazy to look that up right now, and I'm sure it's all 'alleged' and crap, but there where several band that got taken off mp3.com w/o reason around the time of the buyout).

Oh, and they do nasty stuff like witholding support from Rob Halford's solo career so he'll team back up with Priest (and make them lots more money). Then there's King Diamond, who's got a successful album but can't get money to tour. He's blaming mp3s, meanwhile not notice who's really fscking him over.

So you'll forgive me if I don't cry a river for these guys. Maybe I'm mistaken, and the South Korean industry are all music loving saints (dountful, but stranger things have happended). Meanwhile, I'd say good riddence, but I'm a pessimist and I don't think they're going anywhere.

Add no value? Excuse me? (4, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491188)

I don't know about you but I *LIKE* going around a music store and browsing. Whats the alternative , driving for an hour to the warehouse and climbing over the shelves? Not everyone likes mailorder and lets face it , online retail is nothing more than an electronic sears catalogue that my granny used to buy her knickers from 3 decades ago. I *LIKE* shops , and for some geek like you to say they add no value shows how out of touch you are with a large percentage of humanity.

Re:Add no value? Excuse me? (4, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491215)

What "value" do you get from a record store except for touching the plastic? You can see the art, hear samples (can't always do this at a record store), get poignant recommendations (I haven't seen a record store in years with more than one knowledgeable employee outside of college genres), and a cheaper price online. The only thing I haven't seen replicated online is the arrogant hipster at the counter scoffing at you because you're not buying some obscure Pavement bootleg. Oh wait, that's called a message board.

It's great that you like shops, but when it comes to music, "shops" are an anachronism.

Re:Add no value? Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491222)

You seem to miss the point he was making. The value that they add is distributing music. Something that can now be done easier and cheaper on the internet. Not just ordering CDs online, but actually downloading the music itself.

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

jschottm (317343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491235)

Quality shops deliver quite a bit of value. The staff of the two local indy shops know me by name and taste. They offer quality suggestions (far better than anything Amazon ever has) and even set aside stuff that comes in that they think I'll like. They offer information about area shows and often sponsor them.

They're doing better than the shops in the article, but they've definately taken a bad hit from piracy and the online box houses.

The economic picture (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491253)

Just to point out, the article said 95% failure in the last FIVE years, not the last ONE year as the intro says. [Though I am sure the RIAA types will conveniently make the same mistake.]

For comparison, don't about 80% of all businesses fail within five years of startup?? Since youre talking economics, I hope you might know where to look up general failure rates. Let alone failure rates in Luddite industries.

Why this is happening... (5, Informative)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491066)

I used to work for Personics.

Late 1980s they worked out a way to allow people to have professionally made audio tapes made up out of whatever single tracks they wanted from a large catalog. It involved a CD jukebox with compression that allowed cutting audio tapes at 8x or so - a 60 minute tape would run out in 10 minutes or less and all the gear to do this was at the record shop.

Detailed auditing tracked per-song revenue and royalties.

The music business deliberately killed this off in order to max out full album sales.

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9805/26/intern et .music.idg/

http://www.betagroupllc.com/1st-personics.html

In this and a ton of other ways, they crippled innovation.

They're now paying the price.

0 + 0 = 0 (2, Interesting)

PHPgawd (744675) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491070)

Say what you want about file sharing, about whether its unstoppable, inevitable, etc. etc. The bottom line is that it takes the money out of music, leaving both big evil record companies and stuggling artists with no money.

Are "professional" song writers that make their primary living as artists a thing of the past? If South Korea is any indication, the answer is YES...

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (2, Insightful)

klaasb (523629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491093)

Here is South Korea artist still make a good living, I guess they just have to get there money from somewhere else.
Concerts, performances, etc. etc.

Mozart never sold a single record in his lifetime, nor did Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, etc. etc.

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491142)

Mozart never sold a single record in his lifetime, nor did Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, etc. etc.

Probably because records had not been invented. What's your point?

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (4, Insightful)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491156)

Mozart never sold a single record in his lifetime, nor did Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, etc. etc.

If you want to go back to the patronage model, please, feel free to stump up the money to do so yourself.

You might want to learn how classical musicians were paid. Although it sounds like you might be surprised to find out that yes, indeed, they were paid.

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (1)

cinemabaroque (783205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491099)

I think we'll see a movement back to the live performance being the primary way to make money as a musician. Plus merch sales (some still buy the cd if they really like the band, there are still plenty of people without any internet access in the US, but we see the trend is south korea here) like t-shirts and stickers and posters and anything you can think of really will keep people paying money (directly) to artists.

i like to think of it as a migration to the DIY [wikipedia.org] ethic, but thats probably optimistic of me.

Random lawsuits + music with the suck at 11 = 0 (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491110)

The main reason that I don't pirate music is not that it's illegal or that it's the subject of rigged legal action, but because "popular" music is crap. Same with movies. I was offered a free viewing of Catwoman and I refused based on the artistic quality of the movie, not because of the legallity or otherwise of the offer. I'm surprised that music stores aren't failing at this rate all over the world.

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (1)

Yeshua (93307) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491117)

As noted above, the article simplay says that retail stores are going out of business, nothing about a drop in sales in general. It could largely be iTunes and the like putting them out of business.
Naturally it's a mix of factors in reality.

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491131)

Boo Hoo. I'm sorry but that's just the way it is. My Dad was an accountant at Sony who was laid off because a single spreadsheet operator could do the entire department's job for a fraction of the cost. Did management blink an eyelid? I think not.

Well, now its our turn not to blink.

Re:0 + 0 = 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491244)

"Professional"...lol

What's wrong with plain musicians playing and "WRITING" music for the love of it?

It is a real problem AND natural progression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491072)

Obviously it is a problem for the people who lose their jobs. But at the same time change is the way of the world.

It all depends... (5, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491083)

Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?

Well, much depends on if you are a Korean music retailer or not.

Natural Progression. (1)

philovivero (321158) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491085)

It's really a simple thing. The traditional music industry has been a bunch of middle men that get the product from musician to consumer, on the bizarre premise that consumers don't actually want to see the band perform, but would rather be able to listen to a stale, overproduced, overedited piece of music from a CD or cassette.

Consumers, rightly so, don't see a whole lot of value here anymore. If they want a stale, overproduced piece of music, they download it from the internet or listen to the radio.

The value will be in watching a skilled set of musicians perform together. Check out, for example, the Asylum Street Spankers. (I mean, look them up and go watch them when they're in your city. You'll understand once you see them perform (And this is just one example. I'm sure music afficionados can think of a few others)).

Band names (2, Funny)

titzandkunt (623280) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491128)


"...Check out, for example, the Asylum Street Spankers...."

This sounds disconcertingly like a product of the band name generator [elsewhere.org]

T&K.

Stop talking rubbish (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491208)

"The value will be in watching a skilled set of musicians perform together. "

Err no. The bands I listen to hardly ever come to my country. Am I supposed to book a flight to go see them in the few hours I get free in an evening? Or am I suppose to spend 4 hours over my dial up link to download their album so depreving them of money and me tying up my phone line?

Sorry pal , I'd sooner pay the $20 for a CD (and unless you're some tight fisted student $20 is NOT a lot of money) and listen to it in the comfort of my home when I want.

Re:Natural Progression. (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491251)

Most consumers don't bother to go see shows. It's not something that most people are interested in. As a point of information, my company has worked with the Asylum Street Spankers providing sound reinforcement, so I know exactly who and what you're talking about.

If you don't want to pay for the music, fine, but don't listen to it without paying for it. It's that simple. There's plenty of non-stale, overproduced music out there to buy. But most people would rather rip other people off, assuming they can get away with it.

Of course I see it as a good thing. (4, Interesting)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491087)

But I think the intriguing part is not the situation in Korea itself as much as the reaction to it in the US.
I just read in Business Week that the US slipped from number three --I'm pretty sure we're talking raw numbers rather than percentages-- to number ten in global broadband rankings. It's not altogether impossible that this decline is going to get worse rather than better in the near term.
And if it doesn't, if something like Wi-Max suddenly turns things around, then it could be even more interesting. Let's hope it's the latter rather than the former. But even then, there would be reprecussions for a rather large number of corporations beyond just music.

Re:Of course I see it as a good thing. (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491198)

I just read in Business Week that the US slipped from number three --I'm pretty sure we're talking raw numbers rather than percentages-- to number ten in global broadband rankings. It's not altogether impossible that this decline is going to get worse rather than better in the near term.

Of course it's going to get worse, and here's a few reasons why the US isn't #1 in broadband.

1.) We aren't "fortunate" enough to have something like 75% of our population in a 100sq km area (Seoul).

2.) While broadband prices are fairly reasonable tier 1 costs to provide those are ridiculous if you are off a SONET ring. Per ejemplo - one can get 1.5/384 DSL service for pretty much $35-40. However, a T1 (1.54) will run you between $100-1200 a month. With the upper end at precisely those areas that don't have good broadband access (rural areas). You can generally throw about 25-100 DSL customers (depending on usage/tier speeds/whole lot o' factors ymmv) on a pair of bonded T1's -- obviously things aren't working out great for rural area's where T1's - let along DS-3/OC-3 - are extremeley expensive.

3.) Area, Area, Area. Once again. 6600 feet is the maximum wire run of a T1. 18,000 feet for DSL. Plenty of Rural markets are waaay farther away than this and have umpteenth load coils in the way.

4.) Telco's. Most ISP's would love to offer DSL everywhere if they could. Telco's don't want to pay for the costs to do so (running fiber, installing DSLAMS, etc). Subsidies for this type of thing would make sense.

5.) Cost. Why pay double for broadband when dialup works?

same old story (5, Insightful)

i88i (720935) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491088)

in my town, the old horse & cart transports have died out too. Is this because of high-speed road access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated automobiles available?

Or is it just because there is a better way of doing things?

Old industries die and new ones come along. Of course the dying industries aren't happy about it, but the only way is forward...

Re:same old story (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491178)

in my town, the old horse & cart transports have died out too. Is this because of high-speed road access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated automobiles available?

Or is it just because there is a better way of doing things?


The difference being that driving a car instead of using a horse and buggy isn't illegal, whereas illegally copying music is.

Re:same old story (1)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491216)

>The difference being that driving a car instead
>of using a horse and buggy isn't illegal,
>whereas illegally copying music is.

So you are suggesting that we should make the cars illegal to protect the important and ancient trades of cart making and horse farming?

I don't know, perhaps people will find enough uses to keep horses around even when they are not needed as a primary form of transportation.
Perhaps it could even become a sport, you know, a bit of a recreational thing for people to do - horse riding! perhaps it could take off!

Nah, better arrest all the car drivers for destroying the livelyhoods of the horse farmers and cart makers.

Re:same old story (1, Insightful)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491224)

So you are suggesting that we should make the cars illegal to protect the important and ancient trades of cart making and horse farming?


No, because that would be absolutely stupid. But hey, nice attempt at a strawman argument.

Illegally copying music is - guess what? - illegal. Whining about horse and buggies and claiming that it's a "new paradigm" doesn't make it any less so.

It certainly doesn't justify ripping off artists.

I can see the problem - look at the charts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491095)

In Korea retail shops the top 5 are:

1) FreeBSD on CD
2) Gnome version 2 on CD
3) Microsoft XP Super Lite version
4) SCO Linux version 10
5) Celine Dion - Greatest Hits Volumes 1 to 10

Hmmm. Now we know why it is dying.

Precise and credible stats (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491097)

I like the hard statistics they give, they sound very precise and credible.

"About 95 percent of music retail businesses in the country have failed in the last five years."

"Since the launch of these sites, domestic CD sales have nose-dived by nearly 50 percent."

And they come from a credible unbiased source.

"It was two years ago when Seoul music store owner Jang Kyung-hee"

Personally, I'd like to see percentages of CD sales broken down by speciality music stores, big box stores (whatever is their equivalent of Walmart), local online shopping malls, and foreign shopping malls (such as iTunes). There are many factors that could be affecting these stats.

Well, Why buy a shrinkwrapped cd? (5, Insightful)

johnnywheeze (792148) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491100)

Let's see I can:

1. Get in my car, drive through traffic to get to the mall, find parking, and then go to my retail music store.

2. Once there, I can manually browse the racks for a while in hopes that the cd I want is there.

3. If there, I can now buy it for $14

4. If not there, I can ask the salesman to order it for me, or just come back next week.

5. Drive back home, through traffic, and put said CD in my player. Hopefully it will work also on my computer without any DRM scheme in the way.

OR....

I can

1. Not leave the house, and sit at my computer in my bathrobe.

2. Search for a song online, from as many bands as I want and know that they're there. And only get the songs I want, not being forced to buy the whole album.

3. Download said music, in a fraction of the time it would take to drive anywhere.

4. Listen to it on every one of my music devices

5. Pay or not pay for it as I see fit.

Hmmm... I'm thinking this new-fangled music download thing goes in the "trend" category.

Re:Well, Why buy a shrinkwrapped cd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491223)

well johnnywheeze, its another view point. I like to go to book/music store and browse the titles. I have bought quite a few books/CD's that i like that.

Uncopyable Bits (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491102)

"Trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet. The
sooner people accept this, and build business models that take this into
account, the sooner people will start making money again."
-- Bruce Schneier

From TFA: "These days, cellphone handset sales are the biggest source of profit for us," Jang said.

So they have realized.

But then: ``the future of music retailers looks particularly bleak since they also face cut-throat competition from online shopping malls.''

Well, looks like their business model is too last century. That's how the cookie crumbles. Innovate or degrade.

Re:Uncopyable Bits (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491165)

Well, looks like their business model is too last century. That's how the cookie crumbles. Innovate or degrade.

When evolving marketplace dynamics make the RIAA business model unprofitable, that's just fine with slashdotters.

When evolcing marketplace dynamics make it unprofitable to hire programmers in the U.S., slashdotters are up in arms, demanding government intervention.

Hmm, I wonder why the discrepancy?

Re:Uncopyable Bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491190)

That's easy. In the case of the former, white people benefit. In the case of the latter, white people lose out. Besides, nobody likes Indians anyway. They're smelly, and not very tasty.

It is a problem (1)

Ibag (101144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491104)

"...the drop has been greatly accentuated and particularly deep because of the country's high-speed Internet access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated gadgets available.' Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?"

There are two explanations for such a severe drop in music purchases: either their consumption of music is being replaced with their consumption of the other sophisticated gadgets, or (as I think was implied) the piracy* rates are extrordinarily high.

The problem is, if that level of piracy becomes common everywhere, it will stop being profitable for the record companies to make music. I realize that they are lining their pockets and fleecing the artists, but at a certain point (and 95% shutting down seems like that kind of point) it stops making sense to continue business. That would be well and good if people didn't really want the music, but they wouldn't be obtaining it like they are if they didn't.

I'm all for change, and I realize that the world will find a way to carry on even if the music industry collapses, but I don't feel that they want the industry to collapse. They just want to have their cake and eat it too.

The only way this can be considered a natural progression is in the sense tthat greed and human nature are going to make both sides sad.


*I'd say the "copyright infringement rates" but that just sounds funny.

Re:It is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491228)

I think you're right, but I don't think it's something that you can just change people's minds about. The only way that it's going to become "acceptable" to not get music for free, is if people are deprived and forced to go without. They will not understand how well they have it (up for interpretation, obviously), until they've lost it.

Of course, the music industry is still raking in billions every year. I don't see it collapsing anytime soon... no matter how much they whine about "pirates."

Re:It is a problem (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491259)

I realize that they are lining their pockets and fleecing the artists, but at a certain point (and 95% shutting down seems like that kind of point) it stops making sense to continue business.

You don't need a record company to make an album. Get a bunch of guys together and record it at home -- heck, download the multi-track software for free on your favorite p2p app and mix the music yourself. Then spread the music through the web. If people like it, they might buy an "album" that has some value-added benefit, or do what they did in the OLD days:

Go see a live show.

Oh, but that involves actually being able to perform, and possibly even play your own instruments. Frankly, the only people I see that are really going to be hurt by this are all the corporate pop "divas" and hit-of-the-hour type crapola that pollutes the air waves thanks to the juggernaut of corporate media shoving it down our throats. Go and see a live band, give them your money directly.

If a jam band from Vermont [phish.com] could make a mint doing it, I'm not too worried about the death of music any time soon.

numbers? (1)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491108)

I'm sorry, 95%? Where do these numbers come from? Very convenient that the RIAA has an excuse to go into panic spasms.

Obligatory Anti Bush Thread (0, Offtopic)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491114)

I'm going to start the obligatory anti-bush thread since it seems to be appearing in almost every story no matter how non-sequiter the connection.

Re:Obligatory Anti Bush Thread (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491129)

Not re-electing Bush is far more important than Slashdot IMHO. We should have an anti-bush thread on every article!

Re:Obligatory Anti Bush Thread (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491150)

Bush is teh Sux0r! Up with Kerry, and down the hatch with some b33r! Cheney is a script kiddy. Edwards is teh l337. w00t!

Re:Obligatory Anti Bush Thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491248)

Bush is teh Sux0r!

yOU BASTARD. sTOLEN ALMOST WORD FOR WORD. bEAT ME TO THE PUNCH. tIME TO RETIRE

Adaptation (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491116)

If "95% of the music retailers have failed", it could be because of foreign concurrence or simply because there were 20 x too many of them.
anyway, the FUD part of this announcement should also be considered.
I know which conclusions people want us to draw.

Agh! Where will I buy my buggy whips now? (1)

mjfgates (150958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491118)

Y'know, there are still a few places in any major city where you can get a buggy whip... Fantasy Unlimited is probably the first shop I'd look at here in Seattle.

Blame the ringtone sellers! (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491119)

After all, why not? :)

Unexpected but logic result of copy protection (3, Insightful)

Basje (26968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491120)

People listen more and more music through small portable [mp3|ogg|wma|whatever]players, and not directly from a cd player anymore. Thus cds need to be converted to a format that can be listened to. With copy protected cds that is impossible, or at least harder than downloading. The cds aren't usable anymore, so they're not bought.

In high tech countries like Korea and Japan, this is felt first. In more countries this effect will be noticed soon, I expect.

Oh come on now (4, Insightful)

theantix (466036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491242)

You must be living in a dream world. South Korea is widely known to be the world's leader in p2p filesharing. It only makes sense that the content middleman industries would suffer as a result of that, copy protection or not. Why pay for what you can get for free, especially when the practice is so commonplace that it's not considered "bad"?

Unless you can show that a higher percentage of South Korean CDs are copy protected compared with North America or Europe, you've got no argument.

Alternative music licensing/Music + Technology (4, Insightful)

henele (574362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491122)

Although the Korean retail business is miniture in comparison to Japan's (page 13 of this document [jetro.go.jp] ), you've got to consider things like the ring-back, or caller-tune market (explained here [techtree.com] and here [nec-globalnet.com] ) which have quickly grown into a $100 million market [wired.com] , showing that if you move in tune with technology you can make profits...

HUH??! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491127)

Christopher Reeves is dying, you Insensitive CLOD! Who cares about South Korean Music Retailers. Get some priorities people....in Japan!

Give the people what they want. (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491136)

"CD sales at Jang's Mihwadang Records, once one of the 10 biggest music retail chains in the country, dropped by two-thirds in just two years. Jang now devotes more shelf space to digital appliances, including MP3 players or mobile phones."

I bet Jang isn't forcing his customers to buy the vinyl that they used to need to replace after scratching them, either. If only the record labels would stop fighting voluntary blanket licenses for song sharing, that they allow for lucrative radio royalties, they might survive to distribute content to Jang's new wares. But it looks like instead they're just roadkill on the Infobahn.

Impossible To Tell (5, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491137)

Personally I think it's a natural progression, and I'm sure a lot of the /. folks will agree. The RIAA (or fill in the acronym of the one for your country) will of course believe it's definitive proof that the evil downloaders (tm) are the cause. The truth? Who knows.

I mean that seriously too. Pretty much all the studies that have shown that downloaders don't buy more music were sponsored by the RIAA or the companies doing them had it in their best interest to get results that would make the RIAA member companies happy. Whether the results are accurate or not is irrelevant, when there's potential for bias you have to look at them as possibly incorrect. On the other side many of the folks who have found the opposite are sometimes motivated to want that result, or at least the RIAA will claim so. In some cases they're right, in others they're not but it's hard to always know which are which so you have to treat most of those as possibly incorrect.

What's that leave us? I bunch of wasted time to produce studies that we have to be skeptical of. Frankly we'll never really know the answer, we'd need alternate universes/timelines to experiment in to really come anywhere near proving it either way. Even then I wouldn't be surprised if we could prove both camps right, but it'd only apply in those alternate universes/timelines.

What IS definite is that music sales are down, downloading is at least steady if not growing and lawsuits flying right and left have had no real effect on those download numbers. Frankly it should be obvious to everyone that something is going to have to change to fix this. Perhaps compulsury licensing is the answer, perhaps something new we've not heard of is (DRM isn't going to stop it though), but whatever the answer is pointing fingers and trying to place blame (on both sides) will not help find it. Granted the RIAA seems to be the worst offender here, but /. alone has its share of "information wants to be free, no one should pay for music" supporters.

It'd be nice to see everyone to just sit down and find a solution, unfortunately the RIAA is probably the least likely to take part so a solution is likely still far away.

Re:Impossible To Tell (1)

cinemabaroque (783205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491255)

the solution is to take down the RIAA so that more of the money goes to the artists who actually make the music. We've seen the middleman disappear in a variety of industries as a result of the internet, why not music? I haven't noticed any of the small independant labels i pay attention to bitching about slow sales or a shitty music scene in the states. I think its just the behomoth that is collapsing, and the faster it does so the better off the artists and consumers will be.

Cheaper online (2, Insightful)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491138)

"Now many die-hard music fans who were our loyal customers moved to such Web sites where they could buy what they want more easily at a cheaper price."

Good god, how awful of our loyal customers to abandon our stores for the same product sold cheaper and with less hassle elsewhere. Let's hope the government bails out our failing model of selling.

So the answer is simple, make it easier and cheaper for people to buy in your store than online...or face bankruptcy.

It's about frigin time! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491147)

I think this an important progression in music. The entire structure of music distribution needs to be rebuilt.

Right now, the music industy act as middle men, choosing what will be listened to and what won't. The artist recieves so little of the CDs actual cost, while the record companies continue to have profits in the billions.

How long did they really expect this system to stay place? How stupid do they think people are? It's only a matter of time before the music industry isn't even part of the eqation anymore.

Artists will become popular through word of mouth, because thier music is good, and not because they have a big tits. You'll be able to buy a CD for a couple of dollars, and hopefully MTV won't be around anymore.

Natural progression, and not just for music (2, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491153)

Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?
I think it's perfectly natural. If I have a good Internet connection and an Ipod, should I get my music
- in a store, where they might not carry what I am looking for, or the CD I want is out of stock, where I have to ask the store clerk for every single CD I'd like to listen to, and where those same clerks often are distinctly un-knowledgable about music.
- or, on the Internet, where I can buy music legally by the song (and at a better price as well), where they pretty much carry everything on-line, and where I can browse to my heart's content without leaving my house?

It was bound to happen, and it's only natural that the first business to be affected is the one dealing in stuff that is essentially non-physical. I think other retailers must be beginning to feel the on-line competition as well... on line purchasing is way up for physical goods suchs as toys, clothes and electronics, and these are all purchases taken away from physical shops.

natural progression (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10491159)

If thats natural progression, then outsourcing is a natural progression too...

only bad music will die... (5, Informative)

rsidd (6328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491160)

Serious music won't. I don't know anyone who uses downloading/P2P for classical or jazz. There are a lot of smaller labels out there that do a very good, serious, professional job of packaging their CDs for a discerning audience; and a lot of discerning people who buy their stuff. That's why chains like Harmonia Mundi [harmoniamundi.com] in France are doing fine. As Harmonia Mundi's founder Bernard Coutaz points out [nepalnews.com.np] (scroll to bottom), the audience is there and growing, and concert goers regularly buy CDs: it's the big labels who are failing to reach out to such customers. Me, I'm happy if the generic Tower Records crashes and burns, give me the small guy who actually knows his stuff. As for South Korea, dunno -- maybe they don't have enough of a market for that kind of thing, they're dominated by the MTV crowd?

Re:only bad music will die... (2, Insightful)

rsidd (6328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491205)

Follow up: a better link [audaud.com] to Coutaz's comments. Basically he says that concert audiences are growing, a large number of them are young people, they buy CDs at concerts, yet sales at stores are falling; this is because the big guys are not interested in marketing classical music. I'd say, let the big guys die. Except that they're sitting on warehouses of classic, irreplaceable recordings by departed and living icons of the 20th century, and if they die, a large fraction of world culture dies with them... The same is true with jazz. Harmonia Mundi stores in France (which stock other independent labels than their own too) have some excellent jazz, but unfortunately a very large fraction of the most important jazz recordings of the 1950s and 1960s are controlled by four or five big companies, even though a lot of today's best players are under small, independent (often European) labels.

Music stores are important - not everyone has PC (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491221)

Something a lot of the rich techno geeks on this forum forget is that not everyone has a PC (I'm speaking generally , not just about Korea), never mind broadband. Just because YOU can download a whole album in 5 minutes onto your top of range PC then download it into the iPod mummy and daddy bought for your birthday doesn't mean everyone has that option. For some people a cheap CD ghetto blaster is as good as it gets and I know some people who still listen to tapes.

So how about some people move out of this bleedin edge mindset and realise that not everyone on this planet is part of the wired generation.

Soon they will start pirating MMOG's! (1)

Mishtara2001 (678818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491230)

... or maybe not ;-))

I think this is a combination s of factors but first of all, it is the great popularity of computer games and MMOGs in particular in S. Korea.

If a teenager has a limited supply of money, like they usually do, what will he spend it on? Playing with his friends in real time, or buying the latest manufactured crap the RIAA has to offer?

Sadly, we in the west are always a few years behind those Koreans, but one can hope, can't he?

Imagine them mowing down all theose Virgins,HMV's, whatever... And building PC Baangs (online gaming coffe palors) instead, now that would be cool!

PS
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that if you are playing an MMOG on a standard DSL connection, you probbaly don't need a torrent in the background to drink up all your bandwidth...

Maybe the reasons are less obvious than "I just download all the time"? ;-))

Well, I was in Seoul in 1991... (2, Interesting)

Atrax (249401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491232)

... and although that is admittedly a long time ago, at least 95% of the music I saw on sale was in the form of copied cassettes with shoddilly photocopied covers.

In fact I still have two of these tapes going strong now (and before anyone whines about me being a pirate, I also own legitimate copies thereof).

Now, I don't know whether it was just the shops I was going to, but it seemed there was a cultural predilection for fake stuff - which is just being amplified heavily by the ease of broadband access.

perhaps this is good (2, Interesting)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10491252)

I've long been torn between whether or not p2p is ethical to me or not, its a very hard debate. but , after reading a post here, i'm really interested in what music would be like if gigantic labels lost alot of money and eventually become non-existant...is it possible that p2p would lead to only true music where the artist loved his craft, or is p2p just something that has spawned off people's desire to want everything for free (because hell, we pay enough for other things in life)

i believe that if p2p leads to the complete destruction of the music industry and all its corporations, that only true artists who really love their craft and care nothing about fame will be dominant and music and life (because my life mirrors the music I listen to) will be wonderful.
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