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CD Music Sales Down 20% In Q1 2007

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the RIP-CD dept.

Music 544

prostoalex writes "Music sales are not just falling, they're plummeting — by as much as 20% when you compare January-March 2007 with the 2006 numbers. The revenue numbers are actually worse, since CD prices are under pressure. The Wall Street Journal lists many factors contributing to the rapid decline: 800 fewer retail outlets (Tower Records' demise alone closed 89); increasingly negative attitude towards CD sales from big-box retailers (Best Buy now dedicates less floor space to CDs in favor of better-selling items); and file sharing, among others. Songs are being traded at a rate about 17 times the iTunes Store's recent rate of sales. Diminishing CD sales means that you don't have to sell as many to get on the charts. The 'Dreamgirls' movie soundtrack recently hit #1 by selling 60,000 CDs in a week, a number that wouldn't have made the top 30 in 2005."

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shhh... can you hear that sound? (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445747)

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446029)

No offense, but when you morons finally get to gloat over the demise of the recording industry, what exactly do you plan to steal from then on? Or is a world of nothing but Ogg Vorbis files of Bruce Perens reading crazed threats from Richard Stallman what you're looking forward to?

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (2, Interesting)

jlowe (907739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446175)

I don't know about you, but with the exception of a few major label artists, I have been getting into local bands and bands under small independent labels a lot lately. A subscription to emusic has aided in this discovery process. There are still some major artists that appeal to me, but outside of those artists, I find my money and my ears are much happier with what I am doing currently.

I will agree with you though, to look upon the complete destruction of this industry with glee is not something I share with some others.

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (2, Insightful)

doom (14564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446327)

I will agree with you though, to look upon the complete destruction of this industry with glee is not something I share with some others.

Neither do I, I just think that they destroyed themselves back around 1980, when they decided to rely on manufactured pseudo-bands instead of attempting to discover new music. Thought experiment: would a big outfit like Columbia give a Leonard Cohen a recording contract today?

Their current problems are largely, though not entirely, reflections of the fact.

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (5, Insightful)

splodus (655932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446365)

None taken.

I think what we're hoping for though is to be able to gloat over the demise of the current recording industry, which many people feel is corrupt and not conducive to creativity.

An industry that does well should be one that creates or adds value without the need for artificial controls over supply. The bottled water industry does very well indeed without needing legislation restricting the supply of drinking water from other sources. It adds value by providing a quality controlled, conveniently packaged product. If the water in the bottle was poor quality, or you needed special controls to get the bottle open, people would probably prefer the tap in the public conveniences, after all, that water is free...

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (2, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446373)

I'm gloating. Here's the kicker: I don't pirate music. There's only been a single CD that's come out in the last 5 months I'm remotely interested in, and I'm not interested enough to pick it up (Muse's new one, and I'm so interested that I don't even know its title:) I used to buy 20-50 CDs a year from the early 80s on through the mid-90s, when the quality of music took a huge dive. Yes, I have somewhere between 600-1000 CDs sitting on the shelf. FYI - I averaged about $7/CD. The last "great" CD I picked up was American Idiot by Green Day. The last so-so was Samstown by the Killers (so-so because it has about 3 good songs on it and the remainder being mediocre to decent.)

I am looking forward to the new NIN disk, it may be out already, but the industry's horrible customer service to date has cut most lines of communication with at least this intended customer.

I can't wait until the industry either starts catering to its clients again (that'd be us, the consumers) or dies off and let's something better in its place. Like, perhaps, the environment that existed in the 50s and 60s, where even "great" acts like Elvis or Johnny Cash were approachable and worked hard.

Re:shhh... can you hear that sound? (3, Interesting)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446167)

The music industry needs to understand that they need to renew themselves.

Some suggestions:
  • Create rings of users and link the myspace fan websites/blogs all together
  • Organize chat sessions with artists
  • Regroup all of that in links/messages depending of your tastes in your profile (so you won't have to browse a bazillion sites to access what you are interested in
  • Provide a coupon in every CD to have access to clips (everytime you register your CD/have bought online a song), you can access special contents/forums about the group/CD
  • Provide alot of special offers related to music DVDs
  • Intelligent marketing to NOT spam but provide interesting links and contents to magazines/reviews/CDs that could interest you
  • I do buy CDs and if I am not aware of that it is their marketing department fault, I should have an account on their website. Not having this in 2007 just shows how they lack creativity.

Their error is their arrogance to admit that time have changed. Selling just plain CDs is quite an outdated model. You can pirate music, the only way to make much more money for them is to sell even more added content and try to find a way to make money out of it.

This is a hard lesson for the Industry. (5, Insightful)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445753)

"You're not entitled to my money" is that lesson.

Re:This is a hard lesson for the Industry. (5, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446035)

> "You're not entitled to my money" is that lesson.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

"There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

- Heinlein, Life Line, 1939

The Only Constant Is Change (1)

JrOldPhart (1063610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446187)

This I believe to be a universal truth.

Perhaps the music industry needs to learn to live with it as the rest of us do.

Re:This is a hard lesson for the Industry. (1)

Spock the Baptist (455355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446295)

Darn it!

I never have mod points when I need them...


Mod this post up as insightful.


Not strictly true anymore. (3, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446309)

This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law.

Of course, that was before the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, etc.

Re:This is a hard lesson for the Industry. (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446041)

No the lesson that the music industry will take from this is they need to increase their heavy handed tactics in tracking P2P users. They will always feel that increased enforcement is the answer instead of recognizing that to a large extent, their product is not worth paying for.

CD sales down (4, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445759)

It would be nice to know that all ??AA content was moving 20% less of their volume, including the P2P stuff. How is the indie movement going? Are their numbers up? Let's hope so. Give the artist less incentive to join up with the RIAA and their types.

Don't Give Us Percentages Alone... (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446277)

...let's see the real dollar figures. If you're raking in several billion to begin with, a 50% drop is still a couple billion.

lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18445789)



Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (2, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445803)

Only recording artists will be hurt over the long run. Those who are willing to sing for their dinner will do well.

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (0, Troll)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446005)

You really don't know *anything* about musician's lives, do you?

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (5, Interesting)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446065)

You really don't know *anything* about musician's lives, do you?
Maynard James Keenan from Tool has been quoted as saying they could get by just fine without producing any albums. So, there's proof that some artists will indeed do fine.

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446349)

Maynard James Keenan from Tool has been quoted as saying they could get by just fine without producing any albums. So, there's proof that some artists will indeed do fine.

If that means I'd never have to listen to another tool record, what's holding 'em back?

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (2, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446181)

his point is that bands that tour make a lot of money on concerts. whichever brings in more cach -- concerts or albums -- varies, depending on how big they are, what record label they're with, and how often they play.

and, yes, i was in a (very small) band, and the only significant cash we got was from the one gig that paid ($400). compared to what we paid to produce them, we got very little for the CDs; seeing as how we didnt sell all of them, we may have actually had a net loss.

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (2, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446363)

Actually, I think he does. Bands/musicians who can give a good and entertaining performance can easily make $600 on the very low-end for a 60-90 minute show. If they have any sort of following in the area, that could easily jump to $1-2k. If they're very well known in the area, they could get a nice $8-10k show at some venues.

As a guy who works with booking bands, we look at how well liked they are regionally, not how well their CDs sell. If a band gives away their music and has a large following in an area, they'll make more money overall than the band that sells a hundred CDs but has a smaller following. Especially when you figure out that every person they can get into the concert could potentially buy merchandise (which has a large profit margin).

Re:Stage Artists will do fine, perhaps even better (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446019)

Out of curiosity, have you ever been a professional musician?

But if you consider... (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445811)

that for the most part, purely digital formats are much easier to acquire and can be done so (almost) on demand, is this really unexpected? CD sales are (probably) going down at about the same rate that digital sales are going up.

Re:But if you consider... (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446071)

that for the most part, purely digital formats are much easier to acquire and can be done so (almost) on demand, is this really unexpected? CD sales are (probably) going down at about the same rate that digital sales are going up.
Exactly, this information is worthless without the legal download sales figures.

Re:But if you consider... (2, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446171)


Digital sales of individual songs this year have risen 54% from a year earlier to 173.4 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But that's nowhere near enough to offset the 20% decline from a year ago in CD sales to 81.5 million units. Overall, sales of all music -- digital and physical -- are down 10% this year.

Sure they're down 10% overall, but as someone else mentioned, how are the Indi bands doing? I'd say they're up.

Music industry needs to spend less time blaming P2P and pirates (Arrhhh!), and way less time recording dicks like K-Fed.

iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (3, Insightful)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445821)

I wonder a bit about iTunes vs. peer-to-peer metrics. On iTunes one is liable to buy a single track or two whereas on file sharing services downloading the album is usually the only choice (even if you only want one track). This alone would account for some of why file sharing is so much more voluminous.

Re:iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446075)

This doesn't make any sense. On p2p, AFAIK, it is often easier (or at least as easy) to find a single track (except probably BitTorrent). The SoulSeek network, for example, last time I checked offered practically only separate files (even if you can download whole directories, IIRC). The same holds for the eDonkey network.

Re:iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (1)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446307)

Truth be told I don't eDonkey or the like but was referring more to torrents where I have seen compilations of every album an artist has done available as one big .torrent. You are surely right, though, about other p2p methods being more selective. I grovel before you and lick your toes.

Re:iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446243)

What file sharing service are you using? Individual tracks are what's available on *most* services. This certainly isn't a factor.

The next time Big Champagne or their ilk publish file sharing data, you compare the files traded number to soundscan sales data. The last few times I've done this, the pirated files for a single track have been more than double the total number of purchased music, even when you include physical and digital, and you include albums and individual tracks.

Re:iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (1)

psychrono (1030230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446267)

I wonder a bit about iTunes vs. peer-to-peer metrics. On iTunes one is liable to buy a single track or two whereas on file sharing services downloading the album is usually the only choice (even if you only want one track). This alone would account for some of why file sharing is so much more voluminous.
I'm assuming you are referring to bit torrent when you say that.
You obviously don't know how to use the various bit torrent clients available because it is incredibly easy to download single tracks using bit torrent.
In Azureus for example, you just need to de-select which files within the torrent you want to have downloaded before it starts.... so saying its "the only choice" is not true at all.

Re:iTunes Purchase vs. p2p (1)

Golgafrinchan (777313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446271)

Many of the older p2p services have many options for individual tracks rather than having to download the entire album.

I guess you're probably thinking of BitTorrent. But most BT clients these days, such as utorrent (which seems to be the most popular client now) allow you to easily choose which portions of a torrent you want to download. So if someone uploads an entire album, you can choose only the individual tracks you want to download.

Not that I've ever done this before... *cough*

Not +Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446359)

It all depends on what program you use. 'torrents make it harder (but not impossible) to get just that one track, but then the whole album might even be stored in a RAR or ZIP. More likely, since it's free, why not get the whole thing to see if there's other songs you like or, hell, why not any other albums by that artist?

Garbage in garbage out (5, Interesting)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445823)

This may have something to do with the garbage that the record industry keeps churning out. Seriously, the Dreamgirls soundtrack was #1? What does that tell you?

It may also have something to do with a downturn in the economy, uncertainty about the future, record levels of consumer debt, and energy prices that take up an ever-increasing share of people's budgets.

But, certainly, above all these factors, it must be the file sharing!!!

Re:Garbage in garbage out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18445881)

Seriously, the Dreamgirls soundtrack was #1? What does that tell you?

Ummm, that a refresh of something that was released 30 years ago can do well?

Re:Garbage in garbage out (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446211)

Or that lace and chiffon are in? :)

Re:Garbage in garbage out (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445941)

For the most part, I agree, the stuff that most of the music industry churns out is just that - stuff the music industry CHURNS out. It's default, boring, rehashed stuff. Why even listen to it, let alone buy it.

Places like iTunes, better yet, offer ways to buy just one track (how many times do people buy an entire CD simply because they like one, maybe two tracks?). Much cheaper.

Maybe it'll force "artists" to produce somewhat decent quality music.

Plus ca change (5, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445985)

the garbage that the record industry keeps churning out
But it has always been that way. If you're a boring old fart like me then 1967 was the great year for singles (Beatles and the Stones at their prime, the Motown glory days and the US west coast just beginning to wake up) and the top selling single in the UK in 1967 was Tears for Souvenirs by Ken Dodd, not exactly great music. Good (difficult term but I'll let it ride) music tends not to have mass appeal, the charts have always been full of mass produced pap.

Re:Plus ca change (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446393)

You're crazy. Things are worse now than they ever were before. When I was a kid, things were great. Now I'm an adult--things suck. I didn't change, the world did.

(sarcasm disclaimer for mods)

Re:Garbage in garbage out (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446131)

Oh please, more people are listening to music than ever before, but there are fewer paying for it. If they can afford $300 ipods you think that they can't afford $.99 tracks? Do you know how many ipods sold last year? Do you seriously think that people don't have any music from the last few years on their ipods because it is all "garbage"?

It's not all piracy, of course, store closings and more entertainment options have a lot to do with it. But sales have been down for years now, well before any of the issues you list were a factor. Let's not kid ourselves.

Re:Garbage in garbage out (1)

kentrel (526003) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446339)

I know a lot of people who enjoyed the Dreamgirls soundtrack. I haven't heard it myself personally to make a sweeping judgement as to its "garbage" content as you have, but that's not the point. (Though I suspect you never even listened to it in the first place). The point is people like it. They don't care about the opinion of Ctrl-Z from Slashdot, whos opinion is irrelevant to the world, and always will be. Just because you think something is garbage does not mean its an explanation as to why CD sales are falling. The Dreamgirls soundtrack is also heavily pirated. What does that tell you?

This argument that the record industry is turning out more and more garbage than before is such a stupid one, since music is so subjective, and the majority of people with this opinion know very little about music outside of their own little genre of choice. Read reviews, opinion articles by modern music critics. They don't have this sky is falling attitude to music at all.

Imagine that. (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445845)

Artists have to be talented AND tour to make money, people not billboard charts determine whats popular ?

Whatever is the world coming to?

I'm having some problems with the math, however. If 60,000 cd's gets you #1, but would not have been on the charts in 2005, doesn't this indicate that the drop percentage is quite a bit higher than 20%? I know just one CD is not nearly a good enough sampling to determine this, but the math seemed odd enough to mention given the 2005 reference. TFA did mention Tower (and others) closing up which could account for that difference.

I could be wrong however, it just looks off no matter how much I chew on it.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446245)

The Billboard chart numbers are generated per week. 60,000 CDs translates to over 3,000,000 CDs if the same number sold each week. But that's way low compared with 2005 numbers.

No wonder (4, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445875)

The other day, I was in a trendy clothing store. Embarrassment aside, I could not believe all of the innovative music that they were playing. There was one particular track that I wanted to buy so I queried the sales folk as to the artist name and title. They had no idea and were not provided with any resource to fine out.

But that got me thinking: The ClearChannel monopoly on our radio stations is the source of this problem. They "pay to play" the same 40 songs all day.

I remember back in the early 90s when the FCC allowed this sort of thing (it was previously not legal for a single company to own more than a certain amount of radio stations in a given market... I don't know the exact detail but I remember the discussion). I look back on the variety of music from pre-monopolization and it really illustrates the difference.

But they can always blame the pirates.

Re:No wonder (1)

Flyers2391 (1040486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446355)

Exactly ... there are no more modern rock stations in my area, so there is no new music catching my ear that I would want to buy. I turned to Internet radio about a year ago but streaming is blocked from work (for good reason) and all signs point toward that being gone in a year too

Another explanation (2, Insightful)

shimbee (444430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445891)

The idea of buying an entire CD for one song on the radio has gone out of fashion. People now realize that one popular song can be found on iTunes, obviating the need for buying 12 to 15 other, useless tracks. If this fact alone doesn't account for 20% plummeting in CD sales, I would be surprised.

Welcome to the Asian markets (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445897)

Jeff Rabhan, who manages artists and music producers including Jermaine Dupri, Kelis and Elliott Yamin, says CDs have become little more than advertisements for more-lucrative goods like concert tickets and T-shirts. "Sales are so down and so off that, as a manager, I look at a CD as part of the marketing of an artist, more than as an income stream," says Mr. Rabhan. "It's the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that's it. There's no money."
That is exactly how things are in Asia, due to rampant physical CD piracy.

Guess what.
Asia still has a thriving music industry.
They just have to make their money differently.

Re:Welcome to the Asian markets (0, Flamebait)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446289)

Asia still has a thriving music industry.

Except for a handful of anime dorks, who outside of Asia listens to any Asian music? It's all godawful cloned spew aimed at 14-year-old girls -- i.e. exactly what you'd expect from a profit model driven solely by concerts and bento box sales.

Prove It? (2, Interesting)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445899)

Songs are being traded at a rate about 17 times the iTunes Store's recent rate of sales.

According to the article, this information is provided by BigChampagne LLC. According to their website blurb at [] ;

"Like it or not, the vast majority of online entertainment media is now acquired for free on P2P file sharing networks, and BigChampagne is there."

Cue lots of rubbish about network operation centres and live feed monitoring. Anyone want to throw out ideas about how they really monitor this stuff? Is there a way of downloading torrents with a client and finding out exact data transfers automatically?

Could rubbish music have something to do with it? (4, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445901)

And the fact that Q1 of 2007 has had virtually no decent new music released couldn't have anything to do with it?

This is a time when the R&B era is over and Hip-hop is on the decline. Traditional Pop music seems to have all but vanished, rock music has never recovered since the 90's and Punk for several years has been hit & miss.

Is anyone surprised people are buying less music?

Re:Could rubbish music have something to do with i (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446201)

I would be surprised if most of the music that is stll being bought is old music: Beetles, etc.

Re:Could rubbish music have something to do with i (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446333)

Well I wouldn't say that. That is just Old Fogy Talk. Most people when they get over 20 years old normally have their preferred style of music fixed and the new stuff just isn't as good as the old stuff. Talk to your Parents or Grand Parents and they would say Music Topped during the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. But what I would put more faith in is the fact that people have a much wider selection of music to listen to now, and with the Internet it makes it easy for them to explore these different types and with MP3 Players like the iPod it allows them to listen to the music without people judging your music preference. This type of stuff hurts the Music Biz. First people are buying less demand music, which are sold for cheaper and less profit margins. Many of the music styles may not be American so they are buying music from non-American sources, third the internet may be the only way to get and play their music.

Na na na na... (4, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445907)

Na na Na na...
Hey hey...

I figured a song was in order. =)

Re:Na na na na... (1)

mycroft822 (822167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446135)

SHHHHH!!! Are you crazy? You are going to get us all sued for listening to you infringe on copyrights!!!

Gizmodo boycott (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445915)

Perhaps this [] had an effect?

Re:Gizmodo boycott (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446227)

Probably about as effective as the American Family Association [] 's boycott of Disney. The only way they actually generate any publicity is changing their position every few months.

"Everyone look at us! We're boycotting Disney again!" ... "Everyone look at us! We've stopped boycotting Disney!"

In New Laws.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18445935) was made illegal not to buy at least one CD per month. GWB said, 'If you don't do your patriotic duty the Taleban will have won and Saddam will be able to plot another Twin Towers attack....'

(On being informed that Saddam had been executed a couple of months earlier, George was heard to say ' Oh, shit. Well, get us another enemy, then. Preferably one called Saddam as well - I can't be expected to remember all the Axis of Evil....'

Cue endless stream of /. trolls... (-1, Redundant)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445937)

...claiming that illegal digital publishing isn't causing the loss of sales...

It is effectively impossible to protect digital media from copyright infringement. The software industry figured this one out a long time ago. We are witnessing the end of an era, for better or worse, only time will tell.

I've been getting CDs from Ebay (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445943)

They cost half buying them new, and I can find out of print stuff.

I really wouldn't care, except (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445959)

CDs are the only way to get some of the music, legally, DRM free. Not that much of it is worth buying these days.

Re:I really wouldn't care, except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446077)

Assumuing you can find one that's actually a CD and not a "copy-protected" corrupt multisession abortion.

I was listening to NPR about this yesterday (4, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445963)

Basically it boils down to kids only having a limited amount of money buying other products which are cheaper. Video games, cell phones, and consoles are becoming cheaper yet cds are remaining expensive. Add to deteriorating job market and higher fuel costs which hurt teenage consumers the most, and you will find they would rather spend money on other items.

THe music companies have their price point figures off with supply and demand and should lower their prices like the game makers and cell phone companies are doing.

Re:I was listening to NPR about this yesterday (1)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446189)

Add to deteriorating job market and higher fuel costs which hurt teenage consumers the most...

On NPR?? I'm curious... did they bring up the minimum wage increase (and its effect on the "teenage job market", namely: fewer jobs) or did they just blame it all on Bush and HaliburtonExxonMobile?

Re:I was listening to NPR about this yesterday (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446205)

There are more efficient (in entertainment/dollar) things to buy than CDs. In addition to reducing the spending money people has, this also lowers their "demand" for entertainment. Even if money was not a factor, the emergence of "other stuff to do" results in people not wanting to consume as much music.

It's getting sooo easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18445967)

Once you know the name of a good filesharing program (utorrent / transmission) and a good torrent site (isohunt / piratebay), downloading music is stupidly easy. Getting the discography of a moderately popular artist takes a day or two; getting an album (even at high bitrates) can take less time than it would take to listen to it. Why the hell should anyone pay for music?

Ain't buying CD's no more (0)

whitelabrat (469237) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445973)

I've given up on CD's. The sound quality is ho-hum. I'm only buying Vinyl these days. If I can't find it in Vinyl, I'll look for SACD or DVD-A.

Otherwise it's Rhapsody for me.

Re:Ain't buying CD's no more (4, Funny)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446371)

Just stick a mild compressor (3-6 dB) on your CD output, then mix in a cassette recording of your fireplace. Those old CDs will sound GREAT! You'll get the warmth, the soft rush of air^H^H^Hthe vinyl surface, and the soft popping.

I wish (2, Insightful)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445979)

we could say it was the music buying populace engaging in a measured boycott of the industry fronted by the thugs at the RIAA, but sadly, I don't think that's it. And I can't even say that it's because popular music (you know, the kind that climbs the charts) sucks, because it has sucked for 20 years or more (I blame The Cherry Hill Gang). I know why I so rarely buy CDs anymore (there's little I like, and Pandora hasn't catalgued bands I do like yet), but I am considered a social deviant so I don't ascribe such simple and straightforward motives to the mass of the music buying populace.

Re:I wish (1)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446155)

Am I missing something here? Did you mean The Cherry Hill Gang [] , or The Cherry Hill Gang [] (see entry dated March 9, 1985), or some other group entirely? I fail to see what either of these groups has to do with music.

Poor CD Sales (0, Redundant)

OIB (452562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446007)

Do they ever consider that the music is just crappy these days?

Re:Poor CD Sales (2, Insightful)

seriesrover (867969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446329)

oh come on now, they've been saying that for decades. And besides we're talking about a 20% drop between 2006 and 2007. Whilst much of the music I find is crap to my taste there is some good stuff around, and I haven't noticed a 20% drop in quality of music a year ago.

Lots of reasons (2, Insightful)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446009)

I have admittedly narrow tastes in music. As one of my friends pointed out I only like bands that released stuff between the years of 1994 and 2000, with a couple of exceptions.

So the part of the reason sales are down is because I haven't heard anything I wanted to buy in years.

Re:Lots of reasons (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446143)

Just for curiosity: what do you listen, actually? My adolescence spans exactly those years, but I still find a lot of artists I like in 2007.

hypothetical situation (2, Interesting)

chinard (555270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446031)

Lets say for second that this happens, that there is no conceivable way to SELL music anymore.

Does this mean that people will completely stop writing music, or does this mean that we might actually see some REAL music start to show up again instead of the "focus-group" marketed crap that the industry has been force feeding us.

Re:hypothetical situation (1, Interesting)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446437)

Ah, finally *somebody* sees where all this is going...

A huge amount of cultural output is going to be lost in the coming years, because there will simply be very few avenues by which to profit from such activity. What's left will be exactly the same sort of crap the RIAA has been force-feeding the public for decades, there will just be less of it that is more concentrated.

Companies like Clear Channel already dominate most of the live venues in this country.

People aren't going to suddenly start spending more time listening to live music. Modern society dictates against this. Anybody who's actually played in a band since the invention of recordings knows this intimately.

The musical instrument industry will eventually suffer the same effects.

The rest of the media industry will soon follow the same path right off a cliff.

News flash... (5, Interesting)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446045)

Consumers don't want to fund your lawsuits. Here are some things that the music industry may want to consider if it is to gain its customer base back:

1. Stop suing your customers. Clearly it's not scaring people out of music piracy, but it's definitely pissing people off.
2. Get rid of the DRM. You're just punishing your legitimate customers. Oh, that's right, if you sell music without DRM, people might pirate it. Because nobody pirates music now.
3. People understand economics better than you give them credit for. Given extra middle-men and the cost of production and shelf space, the per-unit cost of a CD is probably fairly high. On the other hand, it costs very little to send a copy of a song over the internet. People know this, and they know the dollar per song price point is high. Lower it. Hell, try cutting it to 25 cents, and you may find that you sell more than four times as many songs. Call it a promotion and see how it works out for you.

Re:News flash... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446263)

AMEN! Mod Parent Up! Etc etc etc I have not spent a dime on the music industry for quite a while, and actively lobby others to do the same. "Why would you want to feed that machine?" I ask. Most people agree, all of them at least see the point.

Welcome to the new age (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446047)

Music is one of those things that you just don't need a brick-and-mortar shop to sell, or even a physical item. I'm sure the established industry will do everything it can to blame illegal file sharing for this trend, but that is only a vain attempt to prop up a dead business and keep a whole lot of useless people employed collecting big paychecks.

The simple fact: Their business model is obsolete. I would even go so far to say that the recording industry as a whole is obsolete now that the people who actually make the music have to power to self-publish and self-promote to the entire world.


Of course (1)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446049)

The kneejerk response is going to be, "OMG teh piracy!!!"

Eventually the RIAA is going to have to accept that, whether they're ready for it or not, CDs are an outdated distribution format, just like cassettes and 8-tracks, whose sales, I'm sure, have also plummeted since their respective heydays.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446381)

Sure, but they've always had another form of physical media to pawn off on you. Now they have to realize that all the 'extra' production costs (for the physical media, album art, etc.) they always relied on for profit are fading away.

Weird, I just bought a CD (5, Interesting)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446055)

I got it directly from the artist's web site, and I paid them directly using PayPal. Was that counted for these statistics?

To give the artist even more credit, they put their *entire album* on their website inside a Flash player so I couldn't have downloaded it, but I suppose I could have hijacked the audio from my web browser. I bought the album because it's damn good, and I wanted to support the artist, and - of course - I wanted to be able to play the tracks in any order and on my iPod.

Kudos to the band Winterpills for showing just how to sell a damn album!

Too many reasons for the fall (5, Informative)

u19925 (613350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446063)

There are just too many reasons why the CD sales are falling. Here are some of them:
* Digital music sales
* Satellite radio
* Music channels on Cable TV
* CD's last forever or can be archived on computer and once the media goes bad, you can burn again. This means no more replacement sales. In olden days people used to buy same album again because the media didn't last forever.
* Lots of DVD/Computer/Games. People are spending their free times on these items instead of listening CD
* You only need one CD for the entire family. Earlier, I used to buy multiple copies of same albums (for car, house, office etc). Not anymore.
* Just a seasonal fluctuation with not too much of great music release. .....

Tag this haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446095)

tag this haha

Re:Tag this haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446347)


If you know what I mean...

The tagging system is meant to make searching for relevant articles easier. Not as a comment system. Please don't use it as a comment system. Please email (does anyone want to bet the Bill G doesn't actually have a email address?) and other relevant people to complain about the misuse.

Also, what about a *proper* one word commenting system, as well as the tagging system?

Blame it on vinyl :) (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446105)

Sophisticated Music aficionados prefer the warm sound of a vinyl record played through a tube amplifier.

maybe (0, Redundant)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446121)

Maybe its not just me, maybe music is getting worse. Maybe Im getting old.

Awesome! (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446215)

This makes me really happy. It's pretty clear that the traditional record company business model is on the way out, their final whimperings and thrashings notwithstanding. I don't care what they try to do DRM-wise, because someone smarter than they are will probably break it. Most of you are worried, rightly, about their legislative influence - but this will start eroding rapidly once they are unable to afford the lobbyists. In sum, to the record companies, FUCK YOU - I don't need you.

bad CDs (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446225)

I posted a link to this article in an IRC channel, and this short conversation resulted:

[ShadowJK] TheSHAD0W, when they say "CD", do they mean proper CD, or the crippled variant that wont play in certain playeers...
[kjetilho] at least in Europe, they've given up on copy control on CDs
[kjetilho] even EMI
[ShadowJK] I wouldn't know, the last time I purchased a music disc it was crippled CD and wouldn't play :-)

Sounds like there are even more ways the recording industry has been shooting itself in the foot.

I buy all my music on CD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18446233)

And until I'm offered lossless, DRM-free downloads of the music I want to buy I'll continue. If CDs vanish, vinyl would be my next choice of format.

Also downloads don't have the manufacturing, packaging or distribution costs of a CD and that means I expect to pay less, less than iTunes charge here in the UK.


Lower Prices (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446247)

Wonder how those lower CD prices square up with the constant wail from some slashdotter about how the big evil music companies keep putting prices up because they're clueless, and that makes file-sharing ok.

Oh yeah, they don't square up. Guess some people have been making stuff up they know nothing about in order to justify their own actions.

There's more free stuff now that's good (1)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446253)

One of the factors TFA skips over is that there are a tremendous number of high-quality songs available legally, for free. There is so much talent out there that would never be heard under the old label-production-distribution model. The average Joe can now write some great stuff in his bedroom using just his PC and get worldwide publishing overnight, for free. My favorite example of this is Amie Street [] , where songs start out free, and ones that get popular rise in price until they reach a maximum of 98 cents.

bum rush the charts, NPR story (3, Interesting)

cosyne (324176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446305)

there's an effort to make an independent artist #1 on iTunes today []
(dunno if it's a scam or not, but it's an interesting idea)

also, there was an interesting story on NPR a while back about recording technology, including some mention of the fact that some people were upset when it came along and changed the way people experienced music (from gathering around and playing/singing to just listening). Music will always be around. The Recording Industry won't.
The Roots of Audio Recordings Turn at 78 RPM by Susan Stamberg Id=6645723 [] []

Imagine That (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446315)

Gee you sue your customer base, "liscense" a product that Joe Manguy can't figure out how to use due to DRM and wonder why you don't make any money. I just don't understand how pissing off and confusing your customers to the point of forcing piracy does not a good business model make.

not protecting the catalog (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446345)

I haven't seen anyone mention this one yet: the music industry burns out their few talented people very quickly. Fame, drugs, parties, hip-hop shootings, paparazzi. I'm sure a lot of very talented people just don't want to deal with the problems that come with fame, and record companies really don't make any effort to protect their cash cows...any publicity is good publicity to them.

Could you imagine if Fleetwood Mac were still together? Sure, they wouldn't be cranking out "Rumours" level success every year, but it would be a solid addition to the record company's catalog. What if Jimi Hendrix were still around? Or John Lennon? I'm not saying it's always the cocaine or anything, but fame is dangerous not just to the performers, but to record company profits down the road, and that's where the record companies went wrong, in their own metric.

Doesn't mean a damned thing. (3, Interesting)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446351)

This is indicative of nothing. There are so many different aspects to CD/music sales and values that focusing on CD sales is somewhat ludicrous.

In my personal opinion, modern, mainstream music sucks for the most part. I've been purchasing more independent music than ever before. Are independent labels included in these numbers? I download very little in way of illicit means. I like my CDs and I have no problems buying CDs, but most of the music out there from the major labels simply doesn't interest me any more. Why is the author not taking into account the "cookie cutter" mentality that dominates a lot of the mainstream music scene?

I'm sure that there are other reasons that are not due to illegal means. It could be something like how Steve Miller was bitching about how his CD was on the top of the charts for years and years then suddenly plummeted. Uh ... ever think that maybe your market had reached its saturation point, Steve? In fact, did anyone stop to think that maybe the music market itself has reached a saturation point where the majority of people who wanted to get CDs of older albums has done so?

And with more and more people learning about (and despising) DRM-laden, digital music, I'm not shocked at all to learn that on-line stores like iTunes are not offsetting CD sales drops. I refuse to buy music with any kind of DRM out of principle (yes, I know about analog loopback to strip off the DRM), but stores like eMusic and Magnatune don't have the artists that I'd like. If iTunes dropped the DRM, I'd buy a ton of songs from them, and I think that a lot of people have the same mentality.

Oh, well. I guess it doesn't matter. If we're not following the greed-laden will of the record industry, we're automatically pirates no matter what we say or do, aren't we?

I'm sure Record & Cassette sales went down too (4, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446353)

...when the compact disc (CD) arrived.

This is no different than the other evolutions of music distribution.

GET WITH THE PROGRAM, RIAA, or die a shameful, greedy death.

Cue the piracy apologists... (1)

kentrel (526003) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446425)

With their usual fallacious strawman arguments.

A common defense of piracy is: "music is terrible today, look at the Beyoncé album, etc etc so therefore its their own fault"

Well I have news for you - old classic award winning albums are pirated too. Also, there's a psychological principle from Cialdini: that in any market, people value what they worked to get. If it was free they'll take it for granted or certainly value it much less. Performances of works by Beethoven, Mozart, et al are pirated like crazy. If their music is "terrible enough to pirate", then does anybody have a chance at selling anything without mass piracy?

Another fallacious, illogical (and stupid) argument is the "I pirated X album and then went out and bought their entire back catalogue I liked it so much, therefore piracy is making them more money". Questions to ask these people are: Have you done the same with other works you pirated yet enjoyed? Do you only buy stuff you really really liked? What about stuff you pirated and listen to occassionally but are not interested in buying the authors other works? Do you honestly believe that enough people who pirated an album and enjoyed will then buy from the artist to an extent that makes up for their piracy? If so, do you have a fully functioning brain? If so, do you know how to read? If so, go read a primer on basic human psychology.

This is a Good Thing,Really! (5, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446427)

The sooner the industry fails,the sooner music is back in our hands.
Music was here before the industry,it will be here afterwards.
What will change is;musicians will have a level playing field to promote themselves.
Listeners will not have talent arbitrarily selected for them by criteria of easy bulk promotion techniques.Instead we will get to decide what is good for ourselves.
Money will likely go directly to the musician for performance rather than royalty.
Open music and GNU like licensing will likely be the order of the day.
Internet radio will thrive.
Lets all do our part and quit giving the middleman money in exchange for continued abuse.
Just let it die.

Doubtful (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446429)

The summary trusts that the calculations are reliable.

1. Entertainment conglomerates can advance their story that piracy is out of control. Has the method they used changed recently? Did the apply the changes retroactively?

It's clear I don't trust them, so throw that one out.

2. It all depends on how you slice your stats.

Anecdote: The old "Mac's tiny market share" argument is one of those damn lies. I don't know what the numbers look like now, but a few years ago Apple was the number one laptop brand in the U.S. and consistently number 3-5 in desktop sales behind Dell and HP. So, they sold the most laptops year-by-year and did an excellent job in desktops and yet, this is spun into a "tiny" market share. Some people on Wall Street came to a similar conclusion before the iPod came along, so I'm not whistling Dixie.

Q1? (1)

doom (14564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18446435)

Why do they always pick Q1 to sound the alarm? No one sells anything in the first quarter, nearly everyone makes their money in the fourth quarter on gift sales.

When people get over the idea that giving someone a physical object as a gift is important, then they'll really be in trouble.

Though on the other hand, if physical objects like CDs start seeming like overpriced gimcrack pieces of plastic, they're not going to seem much like "gifts" any more, either.

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