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Music Downloading not Entirely to Blame

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the well-goo-then dept.

Music 538

Outlyer writes "A recent article in The Economist discusses the proximate causes for the decline in music sales. Of some note is this quote in the article: "According to an internal study done by one of the majors, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the drop in sales in America had nothing to do with internet piracy. [...] Other explanations: rising physical CD piracy, shrinking retail space, competition from other media, and the quality of the music itself. But creativity doubtless plays an important part." The article discusses in some depth the short-term viewpoint of the majors and why that is likely to be the dominant problem, not the internet bogeyman."

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fp (4, Insightful)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756384)

I switched from buying new CDs to buying used ones. It saves money and puts dents in the RIAA statistics.

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756415)

I used to do this, but Used CDS are getting to be really really expensive. Like 10-12 Dollars. I don't quite get that at all. Anyone have some insite to why they are getting to be so much?

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756470)

becuse the new ones are $18-$20.

Re:fp (5, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756526)

I used to do this, but Used CDS are getting to be really really expensive. Like 10-12 Dollars. I don't quite get that at all. Anyone have some insite to why they are getting to be so much?

Simple, supply and demand. In may cases, the only place you are going to find a particular album is in a used record store. (At least retail.) What was a second hand market is starting to evolve into a collector's market.

It's like the surge in "upscale" thrift stores. It turns out there is a market for retro clothing that is apart from the market for inexpensive clothing.

Heck, lobster used to be a low-cost offering for sea food. (There was once a prison riot in Maine over being served lobster.) Over time it grew into a luxury item.

Re:fp (5, Insightful)

creep (150035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756459)

Right, but it does nothing to help the artist. Even for musicians and bands who're on RIAA-represented labels (who receive next to nothing for album sales), new album purchases serve as an important popularity gauge. The *only* entity you're helping when you purchase used music is the store you're buying from. Might as well just download the music for what it's worth.

Re:fp (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756494)

I don't listen to music anymore (I can say for about 1.5 years now.) On radio I only listen to talk-shows (good ones in Toronto area.)

BTW. when I buy blank CDs I am forced to pay a tax on it to 'help the artists'. Shit, I don't even care about any artists anymore, why am I forced to help them?

Re:fp (4, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756707)

Ever since I started buying music on iTunes, I have yet to buy an entire album. What does that suggest? There are too many junky tracks on every CD. There is no reason to make consumers pay $12 for CD, when I can download the track I want for $0.99.

The sad part is the consumers are being blamed, when the record company execs steal the most. They don't need a promotion everytime an artist successfully go mainstream. If anything they should be fired for the lack of promotion of new artists. So many good artists out there are invisible under the radar unless you sample on iTunes or something.

Re:fp (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756536)

"Right, but it does nothing to help the artist. Even for musicians and bands who're on RIAA-represented labels (who receive next to nothing for album sales), new album purchases serve as an important popularity gauge. The *only* entity you're helping when you purchase used music is the store you're buying from. Might as well just download the music for what it's worth."

If I like the artist, I go to the concert. This helps him or her out much more than a CD purchase, out of which they only receive a tiny fraction.

Downloading music is something I almost never do anymore. If I do, it's typically because I want to test it so I can get the CD, it's only available in other parts of the world, or it's out of print and I can't find it via the used disc outlets. Very rarely do I actually 'steal' music, which is legal here in Canada anyway. I didn't pay the $35 musician-levy on my iPod for nothing.

people like me quit buying altogether (5, Insightful)

CrudPuppy (33870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756562)

I have bought 2 cd's in the past 3-4 years, not because I am pirating or downloading, but because I firmly believe the RIAA are the biggest crooks in this picture and refuse to support them.

I believe the RIAA will rape their artists every which way they possibly can, and cheat them out of their royalties at every chance. Given this, I find it more than a little ironic that the RIAA campaigns against piracy by boldly proclaiming that downloaders are cheating the artists.

Here's to hoping that sales continue to decline until the RIAA crumbles entirely out of the picture.

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756683)

For what it is worth, buying used items of most kinds is perfectly legal. Additionally there is nothing moraly wrong with. I have never understood people who bitch about others buying used.

Re:fp (5, Interesting)

Suburbanpride (755823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756564)

I buy used CD's, I buy albums direct from the band at concerts, and I buy new LP's direct from my favorite independant labels like Saddle Creek [saddle-creek.com] and Jade Tree [jadetree.com] I have bought about 20 albums in the past year, and I'm sure none of them show up on the RIAA sales records.

oh yeah, I have also purchased a dozen or so random songs on iTMS. IIRC, legal digital downloads aren't counted are album sales, so they can bitch about how cd's don't sell, but millions of albums a week are selling on iTMS.

Its time for the record companies to stop fighting the future and adopt a new business model.

Re:fp (1)

megarich (773968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756592)

i buy new ones but i don't spend more than 12 bucks. granted i like alot of obscure rock so for 8 bucks at best buy, i can get a heavy metal band with a sampler cd and a bonus dvd where as say for something like britney spears i would have to spent 20+. of course supply and demand is in effect here but when your used to paying 10 bucks for brand new cd's, you don't go back to anything expensive.

Re:fp (1)

davesplace1 (729794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756657)

You and lot of other people too. The good thing about used CDs is that they still sound good and save you money too. We need some better music comming out and then CD sales will start going up.

Re:fp (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756693)

I usually buy second hand CD's but I found out that they can be weird the hard way. For example, most CD's have a clear backing but some people take this out and replace it with a black one to hold the CD im place. This can be annoying expecially if there is an image behind it. I always check for that now.

The thing is, Second hand isnt always the way to go, for example I could have brought a CD in a second hand shop for about 10 to 15 pound, in Virgin Megastores, they had a '5 for 30 pound!' offer, this made all the selected CD's/Games/DVD's/Videos etc a net total of 6 pound each, saving me at least 5 pound.

Besides, half the music I like anyway is local music so the CD's are usually made independantly and therefore:
  1. Dont cost as much because they arent money hungry record companies
  2. Most of the time they play live shows every now and then so I can see them easily anyway, this not only supports the local bands, it also supports the local promoters
Basically, i aggree with some of the other things that have been said, that going to live shows are better, not only is the music better and sometimes more unique, the atmosphere is great, but it also helps out the band a lot more, as well as that, live music can be recorded if you really want a CD of that band that badly.

Re:fp (0)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756726)

Same here (I also buy from clearance sales). I haven't bought a full price CD in years.

Well, except for about half a dozen favorite artists that put out an album about once every two years, so that's, what, 3 full price purchases / year.

It helps, of course, that I don't listen to what other people listen, so I don't have to fight for that last copy of Britney Spears' latest flop.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756389)

No fucking way!

Fizerst Pizost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756395)

Motherfackers

When The Economist slams a huge industry... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756402)

Well, at least we can be reasonably sure that the RIAA higher-ups will read it. Not that they'll listen, but they'll at least read it.

Re:When The Economist slams a huge industry... (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756467)

Of course they won't listen to it. It says that they are the cause for most of their ills. They are the ones that are recruiting shitty music, pushing it to shitty/controlled radio, not embracing the Internet, wasting time on lawsuits instead of their original purpose, and not buying up the independents that they used to get some of the best fringe talent from.

The Economist just blew away their views on how their little corner of the world works.

I have a feeling that the music industry will claim that this article is nothing more than a conglomoration of Internet forum non-sense and that their business-model is acceptable and will continue. Afterall, they can claim whatever they want, the media/controlled-radio will distribute it, and the public is stupid.

Re:When The Economist slams a huge industry... (5, Insightful)

lifeblender (806214) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756692)

They will listen, but they will still respond as you suggest. The article will be ignored, and when record labels are asked for comment they will downplay its accuracy and relevance.

However, the labels will take notice. Now the people in the recording industry who have wanted to alter the course of industry have something big to point to. They will slowly attract the attention of the executives to alternatives, and eventually, the recording industry will be prepared to handle the current state of technology and science.

Right before the world changes out from under them again.

Phacts are Phacts (1)

dunsel (559042) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756704)

Much like the Bush administration, large corporations tend to ignore facts and instead create their own "phacts" that look much nicer.

If the Economist shows enough people that it isn't the internet boogeyman, the RIAA will show that it is phactually the internet gremlin. And the power of a Phact is relative to how much $$$ its backers have, easily overpowering simple facts with a little advertising. Or a lot.

Um, duh? (1, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756403)

Is this article news, or merely that is covered by the Economist? Studies pointing out the drop in music sales are mostly due to a lack of stuff people want to buy are legion.

Not in Korea (5, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756405)

Where I live, everybody downloads, the internet service advertize showow much faster you'll get your music, and the teens don't even think of buying music.

Retailers are in bad shape in S. Korea.

Re:Not in Korea (5, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756433)

When I was a boy, (back when computers lacked hard drives and we had to write our own games in BASIC) we had this music swapping system called casette tape. If that wasn't enough, rogue elements of the music industry were simply broadcasting these songs over the radio for free.

Heck, I remember that some of the stuff was so good that I actually went to the music store to buy the album. (Which was subsequently copied and distributed to friends...)

Re:Not in Korea (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756505)

I suspect that you and I are about the same age, then. I had copies of the Metallica demo and Kill 'Em All on cassette-copy, and a bunch of other music, too, but I always wanted some decent sounding originals. My guitar took all my spare cash.

When I got into Uni, I blew lots of money on albums. The kids here in Korea that I know don't even understand that they may want to buy albums. It never enters their minds. The teachers at school tell them that they should not trade files, and the students look back at them puzzledly.

Re:Not in Korea (2, Interesting)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756456)

I'm actually stationed overseas in Japan - where CDs regularly go for 2000-3000 yen. 2 CD packs go for up to about 4500 yen. No thanks.

Even in the base exchange, their choice of music makes Wal-Mart look like iTunes. I'm going to go nuts if I hear Usher's "yeah" or one of Metallica's white trash anthems again.

This definitely puts me far outside the market in offline music purchasing.

Re:Not in Korea (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756542)

Yeah. For the first time in my life, I am a downloader. The closest theater that shows movies in English is about an hour and a half away. I also suspect that my choice of English language music is even smaller than yours. ;)

Re:Not in Korea (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756663)

Nah, most of my collection is English-language music. I don't really care for J-Pop music, even if "BOMB A HEAD!" is catchy at all.

Well... (5, Funny)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756406)

May I be the first to say ... "No shit!"

Re:Well... (-1, Redundant)

russint (793669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756420)

No you may not, I want to be the first one!

Re:Well... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756521)

You're funny, I like you. You can come over to my house and fuck my sister.

I don't buy music (3, Interesting)

fawlty154 (814393) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756409)

I don't buy music because it all sounds packaged and the same to me. I'll buy a CD when something good ocmes out. I'm sick of the labels blaming the internet for their crappy products not doing well.

Re:I don't buy music (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756443)

Ditto. I'll buy new music when I hear something worth buying - its no coincidence that the last few CDs I bought were used copies of The Wall and Depeche Mode's "Exciter".

Re:I don't buy music (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756458)

Maybe you should expand your horizons beyond the top 40 then. There's plenty of good music out there, almost always has been. You just have to do the legwork to find the stuff that'll keep you interested.

Re:I don't buy music (3, Interesting)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756517)

And to that end I'd suggest your local college radio and/or NPR station as possible sources, depending on your tastes.

If they don't scratch your particular itch, trying some of the small-time indyish stations that have webstreams - you can find music of just about any genre being streamed over the net, and a small or academic radio operation is more likely to weight musicianship in its playlist building than it is to weight billboard chart position.

Re:I don't buy music (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756525)

I knew my musical tastes were definitely outside the realm of what's being pushed when I found out I liked The Dillinger Escape Plan. [dillingerescapeplan.com] (they have streaming music if you're just that curious)

Unfortunately, it's very hard to find things anywhere in between that and cookiecutter. I've spent years trying to find other things I might like without much success.

Re:I don't buy music (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756530)

That's just the thing. I'd say there's a much larger percentage of crappy new music coming out now than five or ten years ago. Seems like the highly advertised music sucks, and the stuff that's good you gotta dig for. People would spend a fortune on CDs trying to find good music, so they listen to samples online, and are much more selective.

This just in... (5, Funny)

FlimFlamboyant (804293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756540)

(The boardroom of a major record label)

"Guys, we have a major problem. Sales are at an all-time low, and if you all want to be able to pay for your BMWs and 2-million dollar mansions, we need a new strategy!"

"Now, our attorneys and marketing boys have been hard at work, attempting to pass th blame for this dilemma for months on such things as piracy of all kinds. However, these conclusions just haven't explained the numbers, and we have just recently uncovered a shocking statistic that cannot be ignored. Please consult the chart on the wall to see how the numbers break down."

Internet piracy: 9%

Media piracy: 7%

Any other kind of piracy that we couldn't pull out of our asses: 2%

We sign crummy bands and try to pass their music off on people who actually have taste, despite all of our really expensive research: 80%

Re:This just in... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756717)

"Additionally, our statistics team cannot add, or account for missing percents."

What a shock?! (2, Funny)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756430)

According to an internal study done by one of the majors, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the drop in sales in America had nothing to do with internet piracy.

OMG, like I am..sooo SHOCKED to hear that!

These people will never "get it"....

Did they ever think their current business process and ATTITUDE towards its customers could be the problem????

Re:What a shock?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756510)

According to an internal study done by one of the majors, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the drop in sales in America had nothing to do with internet piracy.

I'm about as shocked to hear this as i was to hear that Ashlee Simpson was lip syncing on SNL.

I stopped listening to music back in 1987 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756436)

Seriously. All my Mp3s are '80s era. I don't even know what music means to kids in their teens these days. Ashley Simpson or Metallica? GEE. HARD CHOICE THERE.

Re:I stopped listening to music back in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756507)

Yes, it is a hard choice. They BOTH suck.

I wish it would make the RIAA stop whining (1)

marika (572224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756437)

But I am afraid it won't stop the bad bad internet from being blamed.

Re:I wish it would make the RIAA stop whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756557)


"But I am afraid it won't stop the bad bad internet from being blamed."

So? Let them spend their last dime fighting the hopeless fight "against the internet" while the other, real reasons for their decline finish them off.

Get a guitar or a piano or a drum and make your own music. That'll teach them. Anybody with $100 can do 96kHz recording now. I expect to see a revolution in music creation that makes the last century look quaint.

Well obviously... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756439)

Other explanations: ...and the quality of the music itself.

Obviously "Tainted Love" was the pinnacle of musical creativity in the world, and CD sales were bound to decline.

"Tainted Love ... oh, oh, oh, don't touch me please"

Re:Well obviously... (1)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756561)

i'm more of a fan of the divinyls' classic

Finally (3, Informative)

Nomeko (784750) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756449)

Have we been waiting for this a long time?

Anyways, I buy a lot of my music off the street, literaly. A lot of bands down here in BsAs are going the way around the musicindustry and publish their own records, playing on the streets for publicity..

They tricked me, anyways..

Reason why I don't buy cds (2, Insightful)

loconet (415875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756461)

The reason I usually don't buy CDs is because 90% of the mainstream music sold out there is simply SHIT.

Re:Reason why I don't buy cds (1)

El (94934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756520)

Try buying from non-RIAA companies, like Sugar Hill and Rounder...

Re:Reason why I don't buy cds (2, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756533)

Somehow that doesn't seem like a problem. Hundreds of CDs are released a year. If 90% are shit, that means there are dozens available which might be worth listening to.

The world is full of people, and it doesn't seem wrong to have less than 10% of music aimed at me.

Re:Reason why I don't buy cds (2, Insightful)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756590)

>The reason I usually don't buy CDs is because 90% of the mainstream music sold out there is simply SHIT.

i never bought this argument. i'm pretty sure in the 90s, we blasted the 90s music as being crappy compared to the 80s. and in the 80s, we blasted the 80s music as being crappy compared to the 70s. and so on.

you may think music now is crappy compared to what you grew up with. what makes this generation so special that the entire consumer base thinks the music is crappy at the same time?

Re:Reason why I don't buy cds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756623)

Sturgeon's law... 90% of everything is crap.

Re:Reason why I don't buy cds (3, Funny)

eric_brissette (778634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756662)

80s music is crappy compared to everything. Even compared to poop itself.

Make a difference? (2, Insightful)

Deflagro (187160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756462)

Question is, will this really make any difference at all? Not likely... these companies have their minds made up that the internet(s) is(are) the cause. It's interesting that someone had the balls to write it up especially in an economical media outlet but it won't change anything.
Not a real shocker but nice to be higher profile.

Re:Make a difference? (1)

megarich (773968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756650)

Yea i liken this situaion to exactly what the cigs companies was doing. Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, it's addictive and all the health factors involved but the tabocco industry wouldnt admit it until 7 years ago.

moral of the story, BEWARE OF BIG BUSINESS or facist organizations such as the mpiaa

Brick and mortar stores don't serve me (5, Insightful)

nyekulturniy (413420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756468)

I am not a big music buyer, mostly because I can't get the music I like to hear (classical, folk and Celtic) at local stores such as Wal-mart, and the local folkie store is off my beaten path and has little parking. I would use a service such as this eagerly. And yet, everyone seems to focus on the indie rock scene and the big rock/pop/hiphop acts, and don't think that online distribution might mean the flowering of genres with smaller fans, such as folk, bluegrass, opera, choral, or whatever!

Frankly, the best way for a business to thrive is not to have a radical change of the business model. Instead, incremental changes and continual improvement (hitting singles instead of homers) will get the job done. One incremental change can be to make sure that downloadable music isn't just for young listerners.

How come.. (3, Interesting)

armer (533337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756490)

nobody points to the real reason music sales are dropping? Today's music isn't based on music, but on image and one hit wonders... Just look at Hoobaskank, one formulated bubble gum song, and they are headling big shows... what have they done since??? And don't forget about the eye candy... Jessica Simpson, Brittany Spears, couldn't sing their way out of wet paper bag, but with the volume down...

Re:How come.. (1)

Zane Edwards (562074) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756625)

Oh, and one hit wonders is really something new?

Re:How come.. (1)

PyroPunk (545300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756658)

You're only looking at the music that's played on your ClearChannel radio stations. You should look beyond this music and you will find better stuff. You have to realise that most of the top 40 groups out there are just trying to get that one or two good songs per albumn so they will get their radio play and music videos. If you listen to stuff not played on the radio you will probably find albumns where every song is decent.

I listen to punk music. I'm almost 33 and have been listening to punk since I was 13. It's just the music I've come to love. The last 4 albumns I bought:

  • Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First
  • Social Distortion - Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll
  • The Angry Samoans The UnBoxed Set
  • Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 - Viva Los Violence


When listening to these CD's in my car I don't skip any of the tracks, all the songs are good. This is something you don't find in your top 40 bands very often.

Re:How come.. (3, Informative)

thebatlab (468898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756690)

Hmm. I'd agree on the Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears but Hoobastank? What's the problem with them.

They a good CD a couple years back with some strong tracks on it and it was one of those CDs that I could listen to all the way through and not want to change the song.

The same with their new release. Sure, that song is a bit cheesy but it's got a catchy beat to it. Have you listened to the rest of the album? It's again, very solid. Every song almost builds on another telling a story throughout the entire album.

And as for what they've done since...um, that CD just came out recently. You want them to pound another one off within 6 months? I think you expect a bit too much there.

But... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756495)

According to an internal study done by one of the majors, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the drop in sales in America had nothing to do with internet piracy.

So, one-quarter to one-third of the sales drop is due to internet piracy? I can see why companies might be worried about this. (And everyone who votes me down because I won't subscribe to their "waaa waaa waaa! I want my music for free!" is a wanker.)

Re:But... (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756684)

More likely it means "we have no idea about the remaining 25-33%". But the chances are the record companies won't mention any percentage terms - they'll turn it into cash and spin it that way:

"$500 million lost due to the Internet!" (they won't mention that this is in a $multi-billion industry).

Its the... (4, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756498)

Its the economy stupid! obviously those at the top didnt see that millions of jobs were lost because of the economic downturn that was accelerated thanks to 9/11...

hmmm, food or the new Britny Spears CD... tough call

The War on Piracy. (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756570)

Its the economy stupid!
We know that, and they know it too... But they wanted to be seen acting decisively, by declaring a War on Piracy. A "War on declining shelf space" or "war on crappy music" doesn't sound as good.

MP3 players (2, Interesting)

Krypto420 (652140) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756502)

I have an iPod and I no longer buy CD's. I mostly listen to live shows that are freely available all over the net. However, when there is an album that I would like to buy, I just get it from iTunes (or other online music store). For me the benefits are:

1) Don't have to go to the mall.

2) Same price as a CD or cheaper.

3) I can back it up on a CD.

4) I have a copy on my HD.

5) I can convert it to different formats.

6) Don't have to go to the mall.

7) I can listen before I buy.

8) If I like only one song, I don't have to buy the entire CD.

9) Don't have to go to the mall.

God I hate the mall...

Re:MP3 players (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756630)

I have a minidisc recorder and I create all my own music.

No not playing it, but recording at concerts. there is a LARGE number of bands that allow taping at a concert. I end up with live albums of my favorites and not so favorites that is usually massively better than the junk the RIAA tries to sell.

I got sick of crap music a long time ago. the only NEW album I have bought in over 2 years was the new CAKE album, and I bought that off the band's website to ensure they get the money from it.

Now I collect my own minidisc or if it's really important on a portable DAT. then I get it in mp3 form for my audiotron or make CD's for the car.

Tons better Celtic, Rock, Real Alternative (not that crap they play now), and others.

collecting your own music is better.

Re:MP3 players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756708)

# 1) Don't have to go to the mall.

Amazon.com

# 2) Same price as a CD or cheaper.

A CD is the same price as a CD. Not usually cheaper though.

# 3) I can back it up on a CD.

Not required if you bought a CD

# 4) I have a copy on my HD.

Easily done if you have a CD, e.g. using the iTunes program.

# 5) I can convert it to different formats.

A CD is actually better for this, converting between compressed formats reduces quality.

# 6) Don't have to go to the mall.

Not all music stores are in malls.

# 7) I can listen before I buy.

Some shops have listening stations. Borders in the U.K. has a system where you swipe the barcode at a listening station and it'll play the album in the headphones. Doesn't always work though.

# 8) If I like only one song, I don't have to buy the entire CD.

Yay! Good point.

# 9) Don't have to go to the mall.

OK.

Anyway, my point is CDs are an OK medium. The main reason I don't buy them often is price and bulk - I have a crate of the damn things which I regret owning every time I move. Which is at often, since I'm a student.

NEWSFLASH!!! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756519)

The CD boom was people format shifting to CD media, many people own legit vinyl, cassette and CD copies of the same album. I'm not in a real hurry to switch formats again and the great thing about digital music is that I can make unlimited copies without the sound quality degrading, this is the ONLY reason I re purchased on CD's, and if they want to make it hard for me to do that I'll stop buying.

The drop in sales has fuck all to do with filesharing, and everything to do with the witless commercial pop that saturates the market; everybody except the RIAA knows it!

Innovationless... (5, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756524)

I think the main reason why music sales have declined is indeed an innovation problem - but it may not be the record company's fault (for once).

In every decade you had technical innovation - whether it was 4 track recording in the 60's, the emergence of prog rock and sophisticated recording techniques in the 70's, synthesizers in the 80's, or rap/rock fusion in the 90's.

Question: What has the 2000's offered that previous decades have not? Answer: Not too much. For the first time, there's no real innovation in the sound itself - there's simply nothing that hasn't already been done, no tech that a generation can call their own.

If the music seems lame, it's because it is - it's all been done before.

Re:Innovationless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756648)

or rap/rock fusion in the 90's.

Maybe that is what killed music?

Re:Innovationless... (1)

Paladin84 (176257) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756660)

The 2000s? What about Protools?

Oh wait, you meant an innovation that a generation would willingly call it's own.

Makes me feel better (0, Flamebait)

sidepocket (817256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756537)

Good ol' slashdot. Always setting my conscience at ease and making me feel better for stealing music.

I'll sleep well tonight. THANKS /. !!

Let's get one thing clear though... (4, Insightful)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756545)

...that this still does not legitimize music piracy.

no harm != legitimate in many people's opinions.

Quality of music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756549)

Why do everybody attribute poor cd sales to poor music quality? Is mainstream music really worse now than it was 5 years ago?

Music Distribution with large retailers (5, Interesting)

travisco_nabisco (817002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756565)

The article mentioned that large retailers, such as Walmart, are dedicating less and less space to CDs due to the increase in other entertainment media, I would suggest that an easy way to get around with would be to develop terminals that allow you to browse a library of CD's, sample a portion of each song, and then if you choose to buy the album, burns and labels the CD for you on the spot. This would eliminate the need for shelving for CD's, as well as allow retailers to have a much wider selection of music available.

Lets separate fact and fiction (2, Informative)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756566)

This is a study, just like the other studies made. Because this one says what you want to hear, doesn't make it 'truth.'

The fact of the matter is that unless we can relive history and remove music piracy, we will never know for sure if it was 'the cause' of the decline or not.

This is another study and should be treated just like the ones that 'say piracy is the reason for the decline' are.

So why all the lawsuits? (1)

ntxb229 (542609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756573)

This begs the question that if the RIAA's own internal studies show that downloading isn't totally to blame, why would they go out of their way to risk the alienation of customers with lawsuits, to stop something that's not even the problem?

Re:So why all the lawsuits? (1)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756638)

The RIAA will enforce control wherever they can, as long as they think it won't hurt their profit margin.

Ohmigod! (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756584)

"DIRTY pop with wonky beats and sleazy melodies" is how the Sweet Chap, aka Mike Comber, a British musician from Brighton, describes his music...To get the Sweet Chap known, last year IE Music did a deal to put his songs on KaZaA, an internet file-sharing program. As a result, 70,000 people sampled the tracks and more than 500 paid for some of his music. IE Music's Ari Millar says that virally spreading music like this is the future.

Whoah! _500_ sales! Verily we have seen the future of the music industry! Assuming, of course that Kazaa is willing to "do deals" with musicians who don't have both wonky beats _and_ sleazy melodies.

Anyhoo. Physical CD piracy? Where did that one come from? That can't be a big factor in US sales, can it?

What about mobile phone ? (2, Interesting)

Jules Labrie (756572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756595)

It makes me always laugh to see all this people pretending that the music sales decrease comes from the downloads from the Internet.
Young people simply don't have a extended budget. Ten years ago a normal teenager didn't have to pay 50 dollars a month for his mobile phone. This is the price of 4 CDs ! Some of us didn't even had a computer too ! These are all things that makes that we CAN'T buy more CDs, because we have less money for that. Sure, this is only a part of the explanation, but I don't see much people who invoke that argument.

Talent indeed (1)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756598)

Just blame Britney Spears and other such manufactured people.

The cell phone killed the CD star (4, Insightful)

killbill! (154539) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756603)

TFA mentioned a reason why CD sales were dropping is that CDs are competing for shelf space with other, higher-value forms of entertainment.
Which is true (that the OST CD is worth almost as much as the full DVD is puzzling at best), but missed a more important point.

Two words: Cell phones.

Here in Europe most basic plans cost EUR 40 a month. That's a sizeable share of a teenager's allowance. That's at least 3 CDs a month they won't buy.

Not bought from them, anyway (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756609)

Recently I've bought more music than usual, but not from any major record labels. The last 5 or 6 CDs I bought were via mail order. Especially from these guys [happycampers.org] .

Alternatives (4, Informative)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756610)

This isn't exactly a head-on solution, but here's some particularly nerdy outlets for non-RIAA music:

Nectarine Radio [scenemusic.net] - streaming C64, Atari ST, Adlib, etc. music
OC Remix [ocremix.org] - huge repository of submitted video game remixes
Streaming radio of above [ormgas.org]
Metroid Metal [metroidmetal.com] - Surprisingly well done

I give away our music (1)

Dotp (829237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756611)

I guess I'm a pirate.

Physical CD Pirates? (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756612)

Arr matey, two disk set off the starboard bow, arr. Raise the mizzen mast and spin up the CD Burner.

That being said, WTF is a Physical CD Pirate? I think all of the music we download physically comes from somewhere in the physical realm. Maybe they mean thieves, people who actually steal the CDs off of shelves? I don't see that happening too much.

-Jesse

Re:Physical CD Pirates? (4, Informative)

sparty (63226) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756682)

I believe they refer to the people selling pirated copies of CDs (and usually other stuff, eg DVDs as well) on street corners and such...I know someone who was in New York City recently and saw both new-release movie bootlegs as DVDs and plenty of recent, mainstream pop CDs for sale in the sub-$10 range...as long as the cops didn't get too close, at which point the merchants either hid the media or split.

Re:Physical CD Pirates? (2, Informative)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756701)

Bootleg/Burned CDs you find at the flea market or on the corner in some guys trunk. That is a physically pirated CD.

Re:Physical CD Pirates? (3, Informative)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756710)

You've surely heard of the CD replication facilities, particularly in the Far East, which pump out tens of thousands of copies of CDs which they haven't licensed the rights to...

Physical CD piracy is the selling of unlicensed duplicated CDs... like the guy selling CDs from a table on the street for $5.

Price did it for me. (4, Interesting)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756616)

Personally, I find that CD's are just too expensive for me. I don't care that much about music, and can better spend that $15 elsewhere. Also, I just haven't found anything I really like in a while, though unlike most /. I blame this on my own narrow mindedness, and not the new music sucking. If the new music sucked so much, why does it sell so many copies? Most people tend to get stuck in a certain era of music, don't like the new stuff? Don't act suprised about it, you're getting old. Every generation tends to think that the next generation's music sucks, that's not going to change for you, you're not special, get over it.

I vote poor quality (5, Insightful)

Morpeth (577066) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756618)

I don't think I'm too old (I'm a 30-something) to be interested in new sounds and genres, but man - the stuff out today does nothing for me. I'd say 90%+ of hip-hop/rap is utter garbage, and the alternative stuff isn't all that alternative.

H-H is horrid imo - endless, short, electronic loops of intensely annoying sounds, weak and/or stupid lyrics, bad singing (if they even sing at all), it's overly produced, etc. etc.

Any new CDs I buy now are established artists who've been around for a while and have a new CD out; or I'll just buy some 'classic' stuff.

Once uninventive, regurgitated hip-hop took over, the industry pretty much lost me.

Good news (3, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756637)

While this story is nothing new to us, and while it won't affect the decisions of anybody on the labels' side, it gives me a small amount of hope since it is the Economist writing this story.

The economist reaches a very broad audience of VERY intelligent people, and also people who tend to have a lot of money, or be in positions of power. Hopefully they can recongize the situation for what it is, and I think the economist will give the position some credibility.

We have to start somewhere with educating the people in charge, and I'd say the Economist is a hell of a source to have touting this position.

How do you count the effect of quality? (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756646)

It's often beem said on Slashdot that the real reason for the decline is the decline of the quality of the music. That's possibly true, but I'd like to know how a reliable study could report on it objectively.

Music tastes are extremely subjective. If anything, the objective measures would tend to suggest that the music is getting better, in the sense that it's been focus-grouped to death. Somebody out there is saying, "Yes, we like it. We like it so much we want to copy it off the Internet or from a friend's CD."

It seems likely that in fact the focus-grouping and hit-promoting have lowered the quality of the music to a least common denominator, but I'd love to know how this industry report went about measuring that. In the end that measurement will describe how the music changes from here. The executives who make the decisions aren't artists and don't use artistic judgment to decide what to produce. They look at numbers and poll likely group members to see what will sell. They know that people will only buy what they like, so I'd love to know what measure of "like" they're using for this study that's different from the ones they're already using.

One alternative medium is Midi. (1)

expro (597113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756681)

I was never really one to love one performing artist or another anyway.

You can sure fit a lot of midi's on a CD, and the RIAA doesn't seem to be gunning for you yet. I think the IP enforcement is much muddier, and they don't have a virtual monopoly on all the rights involved.

Midi is less final form than mp3, so you can easily change speed, instruments, etc., making it far more flexible if you like to be more involved in music than listening to exactly the same performance over and over.

I wonder what the appropriate open-source license for Midi is? I suspect a million monkeys might occasionally come up with better arrangement and original music and new styles once they had the tools and non-final-form exchange media.

What they forgot to list: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756700)

Those annoying peices of tape that outline the case of the CD making it a challenge in itself to open the CD.

Concert attendance is down, too. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756709)

That made it to the Wall Street Journal.

The music industry has a hard time accepting that they sell an elastic good - when prices go up, sales go down. That's really happened to concert tickets. $60 tickets for second-tier bands went unsold all summer. Several major tours were cancelled. Lollapalooza was cancelled due to slow ticket sales.

The endless reissue of "oldies" is self-limiting. By now, everybody who wants any Beatles/Stones/Doors CD presumably has it.

But the fundamental problem is much simpler. The outlets that sell audio CDs don't just sell music. They also sell movie DVDs, which provide more entertainment content at a lower price. Audio CDs ought to sell for about $3.99 to $5.99. There's no excuse for audio CDs by mediocre bands costing more than DVDs of major, big-budget films.

All hands on deck! (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756713)

Other explanations: rising physical CD piracy

We'll get the coast guard right on that.

I am so sick of hearing music downloaders blame.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10756715)

...quality. That is so full of it! You know, for such bad music, alot of people sure seem happy to download it to listen to it alot.

RIAA narrowing their market? (1)

snoig (535665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10756720)

It also seems to me that RIAA is activly narrowing it's target audience. When I was in college, record companies were marketing bands to this age group. Alternative bands like REM were huge sellers. These days, REM has problems just trying to get support from their record company.

These days, RIAA markets to the 9 to 15 age group and that's tough if you don't like boy bands/Brittany/Jessica/Eminen.
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