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A Bleak Future For Physical Media Purchases?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-a-madhouse-a-madhouse dept.

Media 269

KevReedUK writes "The folks at ZDNet are eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media music sales. They refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing (albeit at a reduced rate). Their central argument is that 'the music industry was pillaged by piracy and competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games ... [2007] marked the lowest tally and the steepest decline since Nielsen began publishing estimates based on point-of-sales data in 1993, a Nielsen representative said. The peak year in that time was 2000, when sales reached 785 million units.'"

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I, for one (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927068)

Nothing can ever replace going to the store and picking up a DVD/CD. Point in case, I had The Killer's compilation album 'Sawdust' three weeks before Christmas. I still got the original CD for Christmas. Why? Because I like to have it physically in my collection. There is just something a bunch of 0's and 1's can't replace.

I for 0's and 1's (5, Funny)

frictionless man (1140157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927118)

Because I like to have it physically in my collection. There is just something a bunch of 0's and 1's can't replace.
0's and 1's can't replace 0's and 1's? What a world!

Re:I, for one (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927120)

Aside the case artwork and such, what's the significance of having a "physical copy" in your possession? Would it be equivalent to say that a duplicate copy (all DRM issues aside) made for fair use purposes would satisfy the physical copy need? It's just data; it could be stored on a hard drive, DVD, super-holographic-storage-media-9000, etc.

Is it that having a version of the work that you can hold in your hand reinforces a sense of property ownership? Honestly, I'm just asking for clarification on the root meaning.

Re:I, for one (2, Interesting)

readandburn (825014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927278)

Aside the case artwork and such, what's the significance of having a "physical copy" in your possession?

The originally post stated "Because I like to have it physically in my collection."

People collect things. This person likes to collect CDs, possibly for a number of reasons (the aforementioned "artwork and such", showing off what he has to his friends, a hobby that gives him some pleasure, a sense of accomplishment (as silly as that may seem to other), etc.)

I know a guy that buys CDs just to have them. He doesn't even listen to some of them! He just wants to "own" an organized library of music. Why? He enjoys it! (I think he's wasting his money, but whatever.)

Collectors can seem very weird to those that don't share their interests, but it is what they do.

Re:I, for one (2, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927818)

For me that's about the quality. I've got a very good, stand-alone CD player and an analog amplifier - and quite a crappy sound card in the laptop, so I prefer listening to the CDs. Yes, there's a clearly audible difference, mostly in the amount of "white noise" hum in the speakers and high frequency distortions on higher volumes - the latter especially noticeable when listening to classical music and operas, rich in high-pitched sounds. Of course that's because most of today's music is low frequencies (beat and the like) so no one is going to notice that and manufacturers can save a few bucks using a crappy amplifier with crippled frequency response in the consumer devices...

Re:I, for one (4, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927878)

I don't care about the case artwork or the liner notes. I buy CDs because:

  • I can rip them to any format I want, with any bitrate I want
  • I can easily lend them to my friends
  • I can sell them when I'm done with them
  • I can buy any music player I want and know I'll be able to play my music on it
  • I don't have to worry about DRM
  • I don't have to worry about the particular store I bought it from going out of business
  • I don't have to worry about having particular software to play it
  • I don't have to worry about playing it on other equipment/computers in my house
  • I don't have to worry about it getting deleted and having to pay for it again

It's just a lot more flexible IMO. If I'm going to pay for something, I have to get my money's worth, and I just don't with digital music.

Re:I, for one (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928084)

I buy CDs because: ...I don't have to worry about DRM.
Not necessarily true.

Re:I, for one (2)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927408)

There is just something a bunch of 0's and 1's can't replace.

The first step I do when I get a CD is rip it to MP3 and then the last is put the CD in a storage container. I might look at the artwork in between, but the nostalgia of music has been lost on me lately.

Re:I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927692)

nostalgia of music has been lost on me lately

Which is, as you might have noticed, what the music industry has been trying to prevent, ever since hometaping killed music. The urge to possess is one of the strongest arguments for the music industry's existence and the strongest selling point of music as such, but especially on tangible media. Young people don't realize that "owning" a copy of their favorite song doesn't put them closer to their star, doesn't make them cooler, doesn't make them successful or attractive in any way. They still want a piece of it all, a piece they own. The ridiculousness of wanting to own one of a million identical copies doesn't occur to them yet. The album cover art and especially the tangibility of the CD (by giving a sense of scarcity) obfuscate the abstraction, which, once understood, kills the desire to own mass culture objects. Music download services and flat fee streaming services don't provide the same sense of "mine" and that, not just the free competition, makes paying for a copy of music less desirable.

Re:I, for one (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927464)

Except for a couple CDs from bands I know via CDBaby or a couple directly from the musicians themselves, I haven't bought a CD (especially at a store) since 1998. I don't need one more poorly manufactured piece of plastic crap sitting around my home and I certainly don't give a damn about liner notes or packaging or the CD cover or how they write their logo on the face of the CD.

Even with bands I know and care about, I prefer to buy their music digitally. If it isn't available that way, I'll go ahead and buy the physical CD from them. For big label artists, I just can't see myself being bothered to go to a store and picking up one of their overpriced pieces of shit - or even via Amazon for that matter.

Same goes for books. While I wouldn't sit reading a stack of novels or tech books on a computer screen, something a couple iterations and generations away from Amazon's kindle (as long as I can be reassured of my life-long access to my purchased content) will be right up my alley. No more tearing, ripping, yellowing pages and being worried about bending the spine of my precious $10 paperback or denting the corner of my precious $50 hard cover. No more room full of books that I could now fit into a tiny memory chip. No more lugging around 20lbs of books everywhere I go.

Give me digital and give it to me now, while I'm still (somewhat) young. It's 2008 for fuck's sake. Just don't fuck me in the ass with DRM and an unreliable archive system that will leave me robbed of the tens of thousands of dollars of stuff I've bought in a decade.

Re:I, for one (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927510)

Just don't fuck me in the ass with DRM and an unreliable archive system that will leave me robbed of the tens of thousands of dollars of stuff I've bought in a decade.
I agree with this sentiment. There's a very real need for easy to use distributed archival systems that don't violate copyright provisions for stored works. I'm wondering if things like the Amazon cloud, and implementations of such technologies still to come, might be a big part of the answer. We've got all this storage space lying around on the Internet, effectively doing nothing... distributed backup systems for "the common man" are something that will need to see real use as content is increasingly digitized.

Re:I, for one (4, Insightful)

seaturnip (1068078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927586)

Nothing can ever replace picking out your steed's hooves and departing on a horse-drawn carriage. Case in point, a fortnight ago I went to a delightful ball with my dear fiance and our return trip was oh so romantic, snuggling with him as the carriage roughly swayed. There is just something about those snorting, sweaty beasts that a rumbling mechanical carriage can't replace.

Decesions, decesions (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927070)

Spend $18.99 on a cd or spend all of 18 minutes on bittorrent. Hmmm wonder what a young person of today would choose?

Re:Decesions, decesions (4, Insightful)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927164)

Ya'd think they would drop the price to something reasonable, like $9.99. The cost of the disk is almost nothing. Still, you can join their stupid clubs and get 8 albums for a penny. I don't think you even need to use your real.

I think the real cause for the drop in sales is that the music stinks and the same artists keep pumping out the same crud.

Re:Decesions, decesions (5, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927392)

"Ya'd think they would drop the price to something reasonable, like $9.99. The cost of the disk is almost nothing."

As I covered in another post, the going rate for CDs is about $9.99. Prices have indeed dropped. They were in the $18 range about five years ago, but due to piracy, competition from other forms of entertainment, etc. etc. they've dropped significantly.

Despite material costs being below $1.50, it's still the case that record companies make pretty thin margins on CD sales relative to margins in other industries. I know this will probably boggle many people who read this, but there's a huge gulf between BOM cost and cost of sale. All of the record companies' expenses (salaries, promotions, overhead, etc. etc.) must come out of the sale of that CD. The biggest piece of the pie, believe it or not, is usually the royalties.

There are plenty of reasons to justify piracy. Actually, it's my long-held belief that you need no justification... if you'd rather have something for free than pay for it, then go for it. It's not like you need to make somebody else a bad guy to justify your actions. But "CDs cost $18" certainly isn't a good justification (as it is a lie), nor is "a CD costs almost nothing to produce" -- another lie. As covered in my other post, we don't like it when the record companies lie about pirates to demonize their behavior... so why stoop to their level?

"I think the real cause for the drop in sales is that the music stinks and the same artists keep pumping out the same crud."

Another common belief, but the sad reality is that most music has always stunk. Browsing the historical Billboard charts will quickly reveal this. Record companies have always pushed what will sell, with actual quality being an afterthought. The big difference between today and, say, 1973 (when the year's #1 single was Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Tie A Yellow Ribbon") is that today, with just a few clicks, we can get just about anything we want for free.

The top five most pirated tracks last week were from Alicia Keys, Fergie, Soulja Boy, Daughtry and somebody called "Baby Bash." The ability to get music for free has not improved our collective taste in music -- we still want that cruddy music; the difference is that we no longer have to pay for it.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

oenone.ablaze (1133385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927672)

Despite material costs being below $1.50, it's still the case that record companies make pretty thin margins on CD sales relative to margins in other industries. I know this will probably boggle many people who read this, but there's a huge gulf between BOM cost and cost of sale. All of the record companies' expenses (salaries, promotions, overhead, etc. etc.) must come out of the sale of that CD. The biggest piece of the pie, believe it or not, is usually the royalties.
While that might be true, I feel it's unfortunate that consumers are bearing the blunt of the bloat that exists in the record industry. It seems to me as if record industry executives are getting wealthy off of content that they, frankly, do not create. Having read about how the industry actually works, it strikes me as a system where everyone's taking a cut away from the artists, leaving the consumer to suffer due to higher prices. Is it unreasonable to hope that the industry can find a business model where artists can make more while consumers lose less?

Re:Decesions, decesions (4, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927916)

"While that might be true, I feel it's unfortunate that consumers are bearing the blunt of the bloat that exists in the record industry. It seems to me as if record industry executives are getting wealthy off of content that they, frankly, do not create. Having read about how the industry actually works, it strikes me as a system where everyone's taking a cut away from the artists, leaving the consumer to suffer due to higher prices. Is it unreasonable to hope that the industry can find a business model where artists can make more while consumers lose less?"

The big record labels will never be able to do it. The more overhead, the more hands there are grabbing at the money. I've met a few folks who've run indie labels who've told me that they pay their artists higher royalties than the big labels. So, artists can choose to sign with smaller labels and potentially get a larger piece of a smaller pie. Or, go the self-distribution route and get all of the pie... minus the part they have to give to the bank.

It's like that in any industry. Work for a big company and you'll just be a cog in a wheel -- you might have a higher level of job security and other benefits. But if you go to work for that startup, it might be a hell of a ride, but you'll have a bigger share of the company's success.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927980)

It seems to me as if record industry executives are getting wealthy off of content that they, frankly, do not create.

Sorry, but that's the same argument made over and over that comes across as nothing more than a self-justification for pirating music. Did Hiroshi Okuda personally build Toyota cars? Did he design them? Doubtful, yet he made a huge salary when Toyota's profits climbed to their highest ever. Think IBM's Palmisano writes code or personally oversees the production of each PC? Not likely, but he also takes home a decent salary. That's the way the business world works. Want the artists to make more money? Support ones that manage, promote, etc. their own material. That's not always possible. I'm a fan of Mandy Patinkin, but I doubt he's going to leave the Nonesuch label to promote his own stuff. So do I not buy his stuff because the heads of Nonesuch get, "wealthy off of content that they, frankly, do not create"?

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

ketilwaa (1095727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928098)

There is some difference between music execs and the other cases you list. Most people will not steal a car or a computer, because (well, amongst other things), they would actually have taken *someone else's* car or computer. People disagreeing with music execs' salaries will usually not lift CDs either. With ones and zeros you're not directly taking some material object from anyone. And a lot of people would agree that other execs are getting paid for stuff they don't actually *do*, but they will look for other ways to express that sentiment to *those execs*.

Re:Decesions, decesions (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927732)

I guess I'm buying the wrong CDs. I have never seen CD prices above about $12.99 and I've lived in PA, OH, and MN over the last 15 years that I've remembered buying CDs so it's not like it was a regional thing.

I don't typically buy music online or in physical stores as what I listen to (for the most part) is available for free online (Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, etc, etc, etc, etc) but I have been using Amazon's MP3 store for other shit that's Indie like Blonde Redhead's album 23 because they have it, it's cheap, it's DRM free and I'm happy to support those that aren't RIAA hooked fucks.

My wife just informed me that the most she has spent on a CD was $15.99 on a Taylor Hicks CD that was only available from some small local store in Arkansas. So I really want to know where these $19 CDs are and why I can't find them -- do they really exist or are Slashbotters just making that number up to cement their idea that RIAA sponsored music is horrid (like we didn't know already)?

Any actual proof of a majority of CDs listed for $19?

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927820)

"So I really want to know where these $19 CDs are and why I can't find them -- do they really exist or are Slashbotters just making that number up to cement their idea that RIAA sponsored music is horrid (like we didn't know already)?"

I think you may have meant to reply to the GP, not my post (I, too, corrected the GP on his assertation that CDs are $18.99).

Disproving it is easy -- just browse the Amazon Top 100 or take a look at prices at a major retailer. I think that "CDs are $20" is just one of those curious Slashdot memes. It could be that CDs were probably around $20 when P2P exploded, so that's the price that many Slashdotters remember from that point when they stopped buying CDs and started using P2P to acquire their music. But, sadly, I think that there's some willful ignorance here in an effort to feed the "CDs are overpriced" zeitgeist. Acknowledging that we pirated when they were $20, we're still pirating when they're $10, and we'll keep pirating even when they're $5 just doesn't have that same whiff of righteousness and sanctity.

Sure, some CDs still sell for $18 - $20 -- audiophile-grade classical CDs, CDs bundled with concert DVDs, and the like -- but they're not the mainstream. The stuff that's pirated the most [bigchampagne.com] is the same pop crap that can be had for $8.99 at Amazon or Wal-Mart.

Re:Decesions, decesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927918)

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927950)

Look, stop talking about facts when what people are venting here is justifications.

"I download off torrents because CDs just keep getting more expensive and it's not fair!" = Justification flying in the face of the facts. By my reckoning CDs are nearly 30% cheaper than 10 years ago.

"CDs cost nothing to produce and are cheaper to make than ever." = Justification flying in the face of facts. Not to mention pretty irrelevant. CDs are priced according to the market dynamics, just like any other commodity. How much they cost to make is just one factor of many.

"The music they make nowadays is all rubbish anyway!" = Justification and bizarre logic. Lowest common denominator popular music has always been crap. And if it's so bad why do you want it?

"I file share because the evil music industry rips off the artists and it's not fair!" = Justification on an issue that didn't seem to worry anyone that much 10 years ago. 6 years ago slashdot was all "I want to pay, but there's nowhere to buy MP3s!! So I've no option but to file-share! The Music Industry just don't get it!" No-one seemed to be overly worried about the poor artists then when that justification was good-to-go. Funny that.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927966)

Music CDs cost upwards of $20 in Canada for some reason.

Money for Nothing and Music for Free (2, Interesting)

thetoastman (747937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927978)

is that today, with just a few clicks, we can get just about anything we want for free.

While free certainly does have its appeal, I think removing the word free tells an even more important story.

Doing research on exactly what songs you want takes time. Creating play lists, ripping to an audio format, and then storing them on a media player takes time. If a record label is going to give people a mechanism to get exactly what people want rather than what people want plus 6-8 songs people don't, then most people are going to go the single song route.

I can think of at least two reasons to generate albums. One is that the popular songs subsidize the unpopular songs, The second is that the record labels are trying to appeal to a larger market by packaging up a broad collection of songs.

I've not listened to a lot of pop music lately, but it seems to me that album concepts are fewer and fewer. There were advantages to getting Alan Parson's Project I, Robot, Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Are there any albums concepts being sold today (regardless of whether you like the music listed above)?

I think if the record labels wanted to be successful, they would do something like the following.

  1. Aggressive release schedule digitally
  2. Release one or two new songs at a time - when they're considered ready
  3. Monitor sales and feedback from consumers
  4. Collect well-received tracks together for a CD
  5. Put value-added material on the CD (liner notes, history, etc.

This accomplishes a lot of things. There is less risk per song. Labels and artists would get quicker feedback on their music. Those artists who were concerned about commercial success could focus on that. Those artist who were focused on the art could use the release early, release often strategy to build a following.

I don't know a lot about the mechanics of music (session musicians, recording engineers, sound studios, etc.) although I used to do some recording in college. However, this seems like a workable approach.

What this approach does though is change the dynamics of the music business. A lot of project-oriented people will find their value decreasing. A lot of people who focus on the craft and quality of the art will probably find their stock increasing. For the consumer, this is not a bad thing. For the record executives, advertising executives, and manufacturing executives this is a bad thing indeed.

Welcome to the (new) machine - the Internet.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928000)

Personally, I can't wait for the music industry to disintigrate. I hope it happens soon. Rather than try to justify downloading I'm going to explain what it's done for me.

5 years ago (that would be around the end of high school) my list of favorite bands was something along the lines of Linkin Park, System of a Down, CKY, Green Day, RHCP and so on. Mainstream stuff. Today it's more like Red Sparowes, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cloud Cult, Built to Spill, The Weakerthans, Emily Haines, Chk Chk Chk, King Missile, Modest Mouse and 65daysofstatic. All leaps and bounds better than the stuff I liked 5 years ago, and what do I have to thank for this? Record labels? Hell no. Google.

intitle:index.of -html -htm -download mp3 has brought me more good music than I could have ever hoped for in 'the old system' of music. That and my local college radio station, which routinely plays the most obscure, small time bands it can find.

I can't wait. I can't wait for the void the death of the RIAA will leave behind, a void that can be filled with artists who deserve to get noticed, delivered through a medium that's consumer friendly, not filthy-rich-music-executives friendly.

Re:Decesions, decesions (5, Insightful)

sammydee (930754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928074)

"Another common belief, but the sad reality is that most music has always stunk."

I disagree with this. I personally tend to listen to a lot of older music (early 90s and before). I'm 18 so nobody can claim it's because I'm just being nostalgic. I have a firmly held belief that what makes modern music so unpalatable to older listeners used to listening in the 70s and 80s is NOT the quality of the actual music itself. The difference lies in the way the music is produced.

If you used to listen to a lot of older music in the 70s and 80s (and sometimes early 90s) you will probably find modern music fatiguing to listen to. It might sound like a wall of noise, with little to no dynamic range or variation - A BLAND SOUND THAT IS JUST A CONTINUOUS ASSAULT ON THE EARS WITH NO BREAKS. This isn't just your imagination - this is due to an actual phenomenon:

Enter the loudness war. Modern music when produced tends to be subjected to the producers desire to make it just as loud or louder than all the other songs on the radio, CD changer or itunes music collection. Human hearing determines loudness by the root mean square value of the sound's power. The PCM format (used in CDs and any music ripped from CDs) has hard limits on how loud a sound can be. Within these limits, the absolute loudest sound you can produce is a square wave. As sound engineers are pushed to master cds at higher and higher volumes, they are forced to resort to using extremely aggressive volume compression and hard clipping techniques to get the perceived volume up. This results in a waveform that starts to approximate a square wave the harder it is pushed. IT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF CONTINUOUSLY BEING SHOUTED AT BY SOMEBODY WITH A MONOTONIC VOICE OF CONSTANT VOLUME THAT DOESN'T NEED TO TAKE ANY BREATHS.

This youtube video can demonstrate the process far better than I can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ [youtube.com]

Unfortunately this technique is rampant in the music production industry - virtually all modern music sounds like this. A lot of younger people just accept that this is the way music always sounds, and when an older or better produced cd comes on they might tend to think that because it sounds much quieter, there is something wrong with it. I think that if the music industry stopped putting so much pressure on sound engineers to MAKE THEIR CDS SO LOUD then they people might actually enjoy listening to the music more, and cd sales might just increase.

Sam

Re:Decesions, decesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927566)

Don't be naive, the manufacture, packaging, distribution, inventory, sales, and ultimate destruction of physical goods all have a cost, sometimes far more than the cost of plastic.
One nice side effect of the ultimate disappearance of CDs is that the contreversy over ripping songs from CD is becomes irrelevant. Of course, similar technological progress will make DVDs irrelevant as well only it will take a few more years for cheap high speed electronic distribution to be commonly available.

Re:Decesions, decesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927570)

Ya'd think they would drop the price to something reasonable, like $9.99.

WTF?? You think $9.99 is reasonable? IF (and only IF) the artists were getting at least 75% of the money then I'd say $5 is more than reasonable. With how much it costs to produce a CD, anything more is just greed.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927288)

"Spend $18.99 on a cd or spend all of 18 minutes on bittorrent. Hmmm wonder what a young person of today would choose?"

CDs haven't been $18.99 for a while now, except for the odd special version. The Amazon Top Ten presently has four at $7.99, one at $8.99, three at $9.99 and only and only two at $11.99. Prices at Target and Wal-Mart are similar, and, of course, on iTunes they're typically around $10 for a download.

Your point is well taken -- some people would rather get something for free than pay for it, even if it means breaking the law -- but it's time to drop the "piracy exists because CDs cost $18.99" argument (you probably don't like it when the record industry lies about you -- calling you a "thief" or similar pejorative terms when you're merely infringing copyright, etc.) CD prices have been in freefall over the past few years, due to the market forces covered in the article.

Re:Decesions, decesions (0)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927316)

the fact you can buy individual songs for 1$ a piece probably had a lot to do with the "demise" of cds because paying the 3$ for the songs that are worth buying rather than 20$ for 80% garbage on a breakable, DRM laden piece of plastic is a much better deal. laying all the blame on piracy for this little problem the RIAA companies have in selling their music is ignorant, The fact that the quality music these companies produce is mediocre, expensive and sold with very restrictive DRM did them in. They failed to adapt to new technology and now it is costing them, boo hoo.

Re:Decesions, decesions (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927666)

$18.99? WTF! Where the hell you getting your CD's at? You sir need to shop around.

Oh yea, the record industry brought this on them selfs. Lets hear them say how ease of isn't important to consumers.

Bleak futures. (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927078)

The future is bleak for floppy diskettes, Zip drives, and CRT displays. This is simply the pace of technology; more efficient distribution formats wind up winning out in the long run (with a few exceptions here and there, true, but even these are eventually superseded by something more efficient). Even with all the music industry's "late to the game" problems and legalistic maneuvers, the switch to a majority audio distribution occurring via networks was bound to happen. Not really news to most of us...

I Guess Zonk Is Finished Crying Over BluRay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927090)

After a year long FUDfest against the winning BluRay format you would have thought poor little Zonk would have been a man a showed his face yesterday. Instead he must have been home crying in his pillow all day long.

Pathetic.

I guess we now have a preview of what the 2008 Zonk FUD is going to look like now...

The phenomenon's most concentrated... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927104)

...within nigger communities, where they not only cannot operate computers but also tend to steal anything that is not nailed down.

Sad, but true.

Rewarding thugs? (1)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927106)

If the RIAA didn't deliberately set itself up to be perceived as thuggish criminals, then maybe people could buy CDs without feeling guilty about it.

Re:Rewarding thugs? (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927170)

I don't feel guilty.

Knock, knock. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927644)

Hilary [wikipedia.org] , is that you?

And if PC Mag did not exaggerate piracy... (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927888)

They ARE thuggish criminals. And apparently not very bright. So how could they appear otherwise?

But back to the main subject: there is a genuine problem caused by this continued exaggeration of the real damage done by piracy. Piracy is only a symptom. The music and movie industries have not been keeping up with technology and social change, and so have consistently failed to deliver quality goods at what consumers feel is a reasonable price. THAT is the true problem.

Blaming their failing business model on piracy is like blaming the blood from your cut for causing the pain...

Re:Rewarding thugs? (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928096)

I live in one of the most technologically backwards states in the country, and even I hear people complaining about the RIAA. There's a fairly significant amount of people who've been voting with their wallets against it. Even if there was much worth buying under the major labels, their actions ensure I'd only pay for a used copy of it instead of putting any money in their hands to ruin lives with.

Let me correct that for you (4, Insightful)

christurkel (520220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927142)

The music buying public was pillaged by greed and lack of competition.

2 other reasons the CD is becoming extinct (2, Interesting)

readandburn (825014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927172)

1) CDs are overpriced. Here in Vancouver, CDs usually cost between $15.99 and $24.99. (Yes, you read that right. No, these are not special edition or imports.) If CDs sold for around $5, not as many people would bother illegally downloading music. It wouldn't be worth the trouble plus you can get the artwork, lyrics and something to physically "own".

2) Most new popular music today is disposable and no one wants to pay for this crap. (Now get off my lawn.)

Re:2 other reasons the CD is becoming extinct (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927484)

"CDs are overpriced. Here in Vancouver, CDs usually cost between $15.99 and $24.99. (Yes, you read that right. No, these are not special edition or imports.) If CDs sold for around $5, not as many people would bother illegally downloading music."

Yeah, Canadians get screwed at retail on a lot of things. Back when the Canadian dollar worth $0.80 US, US companies (including the ones I've worked for) would jack the Canadian retail prices up by 20% or so to accomodate. But now that the Canadian and US dollars are at parity, many companies (at least in the high tech industry) are still padding the Canadian retail prices, just because they figure Canadian customers are used to it.

Anyway, I'm sure your theory is correct, but maybe not to the degree you think. In the USA, CDs used to cost $18 - $20 about five years ago and people were claiming that if only the record companies reduced the prices, piracy wouldn't be a problem. Today, most new CDs are sold at $8 - $12, and people are still claiming that. Thus, I think that even if CDs hit $5, the hard-core pirates will still say that they'll get around to going legit when the price hits $3!

"Most new popular music today is disposable and no one wants to pay for this crap. (Now get off my lawn.)"

For me, pop music stopped being good around 1998. What year did it for you? Ask anybody and they'll give you a different answer. Everybody gets off that pop culture bus at some point. Most music has always sucked, despite the fact that the average guy on the street will swear that music was much, much better in $RAND_YEAR.

Re:2 other reasons the CD is becoming extinct (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927784)

1. CDs are overpriced in the States, and they're cheaper here than most other places. Most of what I've bought recently has been on significant sale over the Internet, or they've been Naxos, good music for a lot lower price. (I buy mostly classical.) Furthermore, since CDs (unlike tape/vinyl) last longer, I don't have the imperative I used to have to replace things. Frankly, I don't want to have to pay "big Media" for a lot of crappy marketing, payola to radio stations, etc.

2. Canadians are definitely getting ripped off by pre-marked prices on books, CDs, etc. I was in Montreal last year and bought a couple of books that aren't available in the States, either because they're Canadian press (e.g. some Canadian military history) or they're British imports where either they're not brought into the States at all or they arrive well after they get to Canada. It was a lot more fun to do this 3-4 years ago (the last time I was in Vancouver on vacation...)

3. Canadians are welcome to come to the States and buy stuff with their highly appreciated Loonies. We need the help with our trade deficit. :-)

dave (lived in Vancouver, BC for 2 1/2 years...)

Laying in the bed they made (0, Redundant)

brindle (8241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927194)

Poor music industry. Why don't they focus on developing and promoting musical talent rather than controlling every aspect of the music business? Its been a couple years since I have bought a CD. Yes there are some good groups still out there but nothing like it was before. Give us a reason to buy a CD. Britney Spears just doesn't do it for me.

Re:Laying in the bed they made (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927824)

Pls rate this as a Flame :)

Any other factors than piracy? (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927216)

Hang on a sec.. This would be the same 2007 that Oil hit an all time high, a credit crunch of such epic proportions that it's hitting the world wide banking system to the point that Governments are having to bail out financial institutions.. People are losing houses and jobs.. Economies are looking shaky, and unemployment is starting to creep up in a rather scary fashion..
And they blithely put it down to piracy and competition from other entertainments. Don't you think that maybe.. Just maybe.. The fact that people don't have the money to spend on fripperies, and are actually worried about their ability to keep roof over head is also a factor in this?

Re:Any other factors than piracy? (4, Funny)

VENONA (902751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927372)

Nah, this all due to the same reason oil prices are so high. We've reached Peak Music.

Re:Any other factors than piracy? (4, Funny)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927996)

Luckily, scientist are busy working out other solutions, such as bio-sounds, and more efficient ears, so we don't waste as much music. At least all countries signed on to the Kyoto^WYoko Accord during some of the worst years of music consumption. This alone lowered the global Volume by 1.2dB, and gave us several extra years before Peak Music was reached.

Re:Any other factors than piracy? (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927754)

You are on the right track. People are looking at the options and cutting back. And CDs isn't the only one, lets look at Starbuck's stock price [yahoo.com]

But there are a lot of factors, including your insight:

  • - high gas prices, low wage growth consumers buy less optional items like CD/DVDs
  • - poor quality, wait until the one hit CDs get rolled into the best of CDs
  • - market saturation. Hand-me-downs, second hand dime store.
  • - people like me wait for the "DRM free" label, sorry Sony/BMG I do not like nor will I pay for rootkits
  • - the cost of them is stupid, $16-20 for a 12 song CD and maybe one song is good?
  • - buying them supports the RIAA, many consumers are revolting on a voluntary boycott

CD/DVDs do have one big advantage, proof of purchase. But I think they could come back provided:

  • - no CD will cost more that $4 unless it is packed with prime content, even then, not more than $8.
  • - DVDs similarly, old reruns of Andy Griffith are not worth $100. Get reasonable prices
  • - put a DRM/rootkit free label on it, tell us it will not mess with our computer
  • - let us know how much you actually pay the artist
  • - terminate the RIAA. Stop treating most of us who are not criminals like criminals
  • - liberal fair use, if I by it once, I buy it for life and what I play it on is my business

But I suspect it is too late. Corporation executives tend to hold on to bad ideas like groupers, they don't know when to let go.

Any other factors than piracy?-Raising the roof. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21928004)

"Just maybe.. The fact that people don't have the money to spend on fripperies, and are actually worried about their ability to keep roof over head is also a factor in this?"

Apprently digital downloads are more important than a roof over one's head.

Duh (1)

realdodgeman (1113225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927222)

The only reason for me to buy CDs is that I can't get it online in good enough quality. When I get all the documentaries, pictures and lyrics with a FLAC encoded download, I won't touch a record store ever again.

Re:Duh (1)

Pad-Lok (831143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927354)

Here you go: http://magnatune.com/ [magnatune.com] , too bad it has limited catalog.

Now go FLAC yourself.

Re:Duh (1)

realdodgeman (1113225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927508)

Didn't find any of the bands I like that I could think of in the top of my head.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927706)

This is the most common thing that I hear when someone brings up a music store online that's not aligned with the big labels. Personally, it turns my stomach. How do you think local bands get big with no recording contract? People listen to them and find that they like them. If everybody had the same feelings toward music as you, then we'd be awash in bands that make songs that sound exactly the same, radio play pushing the new hotness that they're paid under the table to play, and not enough good, new music to keep people's interest so that the music television stations would start playing reality shows because there was not enough interest in finding new music and therefore, not enough money.

On a less sarcastic side note - take a listen to the artists and some of their music. You might just be surprised at what you hear, and you might be surprised to discover what you really like instead of what has been conditioned into you socially and commercially.

Re:Duh (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927768)

If you like hip-hop you might like the album is available from http://niggytardust.com/ [niggytardust.com]
It was mentioned on Slashdot yesterday, and I bought it [slashdot.org] , but really should have listened to it first!

It's $5 (£2.52 for me) for 427MB of FLAC -- that's an excellent price! Equivalent to a couple of beers somewhere cheap, or single double-spirit+mixer somewhere cheap in London.

What? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927240)

In the paper yesterday, it said that although a lot of singles were downloaded, 95% of all album sales in the UK were physical CDs.

Re:What? (1)

paxgaea (219419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927362)

That's by weight, not by volume! /sarcasm

Re:What? (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927460)

I think this is a trend we can expect to continue, for better or worse. On the one hand it means that people are buying the music they want to listen to, on the other hand they are potentially missing out on some great songs that didn't get all the attention that the hits got. There are a lot of great songs in my (admittedly aging) collection of CDs that I would never have known about if I simply purchased singles instead of the album. Of course, we all know there are a crapton of CDs with two good songs and the rest are filler.

no bleak future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927252)

no bleak future at all for blank media.

Maybe its because... (1)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927260)

Maybe its because their customers are tired of being treated like criminals? It's not piracy that causing them to lose customers it's just their own arrogance in continuing to fight piracy in a way thats inconvenient to their customers. Also the fact they haven't released a record worth listening to in months might have something to do with it.

Re:Maybe its because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927418)

Months? Try YEARS.

Of course... (1)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927282)

Suing your customers and generally being asses to them while avoiding moving to an alternative distribution method had nothing to do with it. ;) Sure piracy is a factor, but they've taken nearly ten years to recognize that customers don't want to buy the same album over and over to listen to it on varied players. I'd go as far as calling this an adjustment. Similar to the adjustments that the market experiences from time to time. There were too many groups/bands/artists putting out crap that was more of the same. Now hopefully the real creative ones will continue to shine while the others don't.

My .02

Unconfirmed rumors on the Internet (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927304)

The folks at ZDNet are eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media music sales.

And not a peep out of Netcraft? I'm waiting.

Eulogising? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927310)

If only Christmas came a few times a year for the fast-fading U.S. music industry.

It seems to me that the tone of the article is far from what might be described with a word that translates literally to something close to good speaking. Try not to use words you don't understand, k? That is especially so for all of you other illiterate morons who completely misuse words like deprecate in, what I assume, is an attempt to appear erudite.

IT: ruining the English language one word at a time.

Deprecate: 1. trans. To pray against (evil); to pray for deliverance from; to seek to avert by prayer. arch.
You mean - Obsolete: 1. No longer used or practised; outmoded, out of date.

Eulogy: 1. A speech or writing in commendation of the character and services of a person, or the qualities of a thing
You mean - ?

Re:Eulogising? (1)

VENONA (902751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927554)

Deprecate: 1. trans. To pray against (evil); to pray for deliverance from; to seek to avert by prayer. arch.

Well, there's a bit of history behind it. Various 'X considered harmful' articles. 'Evil' also gets heavy usage in the hacker vocabulary, and that moves up into more mainstream IT-speak, and also into non-IT language. Notice how 'parse' has come into common use over the past few years? Ten years ago, I very seldom heard that word in other than a software context.

Language evolves, and I've completely failed to keep the kids off my lawn. Now I reserve serious dislike for words like 'meh', which can mean one thing, it's polar opposite, or indeed anything at all.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meh [urbandictionary.com]

Of course, now I'll probably get a reply of 'meh'.

Obligatory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927900)

Meh.

Re:Eulogising? (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927954)

Meh (LOL)

Re:Eulogising? (1)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927788)

How about you list the other definitions of deprecate: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deprecate [reference.com] The word has clearly undergone a change in the last century, as words generally like to do. Additionally, technical fields, or any fields in general, tend to have their own vocabulary apart from that of the standard language. It's obviously not kosher to use these vocabulary items (jargon) outside the context of that field, but it is not uncommon for them to "cross over" and become part of the standard language.

Re:Eulogising? (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927886)

Ah, I love uppity AC's calling other people illiterate when they don't know what they're talking about. It's particularly amusing when people use "erudite" in an attempt to appear erudite while making multiple mistakes in their rest of their comments.

A quick trip to m-w.com gives me this as the 3rd entry for "deprecate":

"play down : make little of 'speaks five languages...but deprecates this facility' -- Time"

That's the usage IT has taken on; when features are still around but not recommended (are played down) because there's a better way, their use is deprecated. Your suggestion of "obsolete" implies something is no longer used at all, which is clearly not appropriate here; deprecate is.

It's not a perfect adaptation of the original word but it's not bad; language does evolve. Amusingly, use of "deprecate" as only meaning "to pray against" has been deprecated--m-w even labels that usage as "archaic".

getting older (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927330)

when i was in my teens & 20's i purchased lots of music, when i got in my 30's music purchases slowed down, not that i am in my mid 40's i do not buy any music partly because i lost interest in what is currently out there today, i have a coupld of shoe boxes full of cassette tapes and i refuse to re-buy music i already paid for, so they mostly just sit in a closet until i take that occasional road trip then i get a few out to take with me just in case there is nothing on the radio i like...

well... (1)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927334)

I don't understand why anyone would buy a bunch of mp3s in the first place. I either buy the full album on cd or (usually if the entire cd isn't good enough to be worth my cash) I download single songs (well, I'll also download an entire album to try it out and then go buy it). There was a time when I used to buy a cd if I liked at least two songs on it, but now I'm unlikely to do so unless I like all of them because I simply don't have the sort of money to throw around on crap.

Maybe if the music industry stopped producing total garbage and trying to pass it off as good music as well as attempting to limit what people can do with their music (i.e. putting absurd protection features on cds that don't allow them to be played in anything but the most basic cd player) then more people would buy music.

I wonder why (1)

mpickut (721322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927366)

Hasn't piracy been around ever since cassettes came out? Why is it such a big deal now? Frankly I don't pirate stuff myself -- some it is that I sell IPs myself but in large part because there just isn't anything that I consider worth taking the time to steal. They could give most music away for free and I wouldn't take the time to download it. Come to think of it, maybe all the crappy music is just part of their strategy to stop piracy, i.e. if the music sucks no one will steal it.

Re:I wonder why (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927502)

Starting up some app, searching in its built in search box or on a website, and downloading files from someone is a hell of a lot easier and faster than recording a tape on some dual cassette deck where you loss quality every time the tape is played, let alone the losses induced by the copy itself being imperfect. Before you even get to this stage you had to find someone with the content you wanted to copy.

Digital copies are pretty much free after you take the bandwidth which you've already paid for and the 5 minutes of time searching into account.

Pirating now days is just plain easy.

Re:I wonder why (1)

mpickut (721322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927642)

Good point Bitz, but does that mean that the only thing standing between most people and doing something illegal is the effort? Sloth as a counterbalance to greed -- we're amoral but too lazy to do really do anything about it if it takes any effort. As for quality you again have a point, but I can remember taping of the radio, which was pretty bad quality, and still listening to it on my walkman.

Its off the question but I wonder how many average people could actually tell the difference between the different quality of digital files in a blind test. Anyone know if this has ever been tested?

Stop this "digital" nonsense (5, Insightful)

iliketrash (624051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927398)

"They refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing",

This nonsense of describing downloaded music as "digital" to distinguish it from that on CDs needs to stop.

Re:Stop this "digital" nonsense (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927536)

'Digital' refers to the distribution method dumbass.

Re:Stop this "digital" nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927942)

CDs arent digital? news to me

it's the music (0, Flamebait)

2ms (232331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927472)

Did it occur to them, by any chance, that instead of the decades of great music the preceded this one, nowadys "music" is just competely empty crap sung by ex-Micky Mouse club tools like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake or else "hip hop musicians" whose "songs" bear no resemblance whatsoever to actual real hip hop and basically are just excuses for video of people driving around idiotic cars with idiotically large chrome "rims" talking about how "hard" they are or whatever ad nauseum.

The reason people aren't buying music anymore is that all the record industry does is hold on to pathetic and artless derivatives of a genres that peaked decades ago. Are there any groups like The Beatles, U2, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, The Doors, basically any good "rock" acts in mainstream channel at all anymore?

That's the obvious difference between now and years prior -- the record industry doesn't have a damn product. They have shit to sell.

Re:it's the music (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927684)

I think the White Stripes, Hot Hot Heat, the Kaiser Chiefs, Spoon, the Wallflowers and Weezer are all pretty good, and pretty mainstream (I hear them on the alternative station rather than the indie station on XM.) And of course the less mainstream still seem to pretty available, more indie stuff like the Shins, Ben Lee, Metric, Sloan, and the Decembrists.

Hell, even some of the really true 'pop' has some high points, I personally enjoy Train and the Fray much more than my more indie friends would ever approve of.

Keep in mind that when Zepplin and the Doors were going strong you also had such wonders as the BeeGees and the Captain and Taneel(?) and other people that I'm sure you've forgotten and that I'm too young to ever remember.

*All of those that I've mentioned are CDs that I've bought recently.

Re:it's the music (5, Insightful)

Hub_City (106665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927752)

That's an easy charge (and in the case of Ms. Spears, absolutely correct, even though Fountains Of Wayne prove that "Baby, One More Time" is actually a well-crafted pop song as written) but I'd have to say Timberlake's voice is of a significantly higher quality, and he does occasionally do something interesting with it.

Really, though, the music industry's woes can be summed up in the following:

"Gee, I've got $50 in my pocket - will I buy three CDs with one decent song each totalling maybe 20 minutes of entertainment, a couple of DVDs featuing movies and features I'll watch all the way through, or a video game I'll play for hours? Hm...."

It's all about value for money spent, and most of the major labels' output just ain't got it, when compared to the other stuff that's competing for the dwindling supply of disposable cash.

Plus, this is an industry that:

- insists on treating its customers as criminals rather than trying to figure out what they need to do "right" in order to give their business a future.

- insists on treating its contributors as mere cogs in the machine, rather than its actual driving force...and those cogs are catching on. The industry's been in overdrive trying to spin Radiohead's online release of "In Rainbows" as a boneheaded move, when in fact it's very much the opposite.

Even investor reports are now coming to the conclusion that giving the music industry another leg to stand on only gives them another foot to shoot themselves in.

Re:it's the music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927766)

I agree!

Most new music being sold is junk.
If a major automotive maker decided to only sell $500k pink colored HotDog-mobiles and no-one wanted them, the corporate exec's would be fired and kicked out of the industry.
If a music studio produces stupid noise to sell that no-one wants, everyone else is a criminal for not listening to their product.

Usually, I am only able to find a cd that I like once every two months in a local store (place I am most likely to impulse buy). Online is easier to find the music I like from unknown studios, but rarely are new albums released.

Album sales dropping like rocks. (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927486)

Album sales dropping is what their true fear has been all these years. It's the whole reason they are tearing their hair out about apple. The reason they are even willing to dump DRM so they can sell music for ipods outside iTunes. The single is king again and the record industries are going to be forced to swallow their bile and accept the hit to their pocket books.

And yet... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927524)

...I've bought more CDs this year than in any year before. As I did last year, and the year before that.

It's just, they've all been bought straight from independent artists. No tally will catch them. But that doesn't mean the physical media goes away; just that the control over them is finally returning to those who it belongs to.

Lossless Formats (1)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927578)

CDs won't be completely replaced until the music industry starts selling downloads in lossless formats, like FLAC. Currently, there are a few independents that sell such formats, but AFAIK, none of the major labels do.

Re:Lossless Formats (2, Insightful)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927758)

CDs will go away when it is no longer profitable to sell them, whether there's an adequate replacement available or not.

I buy what I like, not what they think I should (2, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927590)

If the music industry is going to put a ton of crap on the shelves and only a few albums I really want then I will only be buying those few (since I like 80s music that is mainly oldies compilations).

Nowadays I am more often buying mp3s from amazon as I can get the odd track that has either no longer on the shelf or is only available with a bunch of other tracks I already have/don't want.

Would I buy more stuff off the shelves? If what I like were available. Borders and FYE have been the best of getting album sales from me lately.

Nigger Owner's Manual (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927606)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER bitches ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

As always, blame piracy (5, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927622)

Much like a spoiled child, they never look at their own behavior. It's always "some else's fault." I haven't purchased any music CDs in over a year because:

1. It's all crap.
2. I refuse to do business with anyone who considers my fair use as criminal.

Yes, I ripped all my CDs. I do so so I can download tracks onto my digital player. I also have a web interface to access all my music from anywhere I have computer access, but the web page is password protected and I don't give access to anyone. The music industry, however, doesn't want me to do that because they see it as a loss of a dollar for every single track. At the moment I have 1400 tracks on my server. The music industry sees that as over a thousand dollars of lost revenue -- even though I've already paid for every bit of music I possess!

How many times must I buy an album before I can use it as I please? Let's take one example, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I went through three vinyl albums way back before digital music was invented. I also owned a cassette of it (store bought, not copied). I might even have owned an eight-track version of it during a brief period of insanity. At the moment, I own two CD copies, the regular version and a "special remastered" version. That's seven copies of one album I have paid for. And you want to sue me because I ripped the CD onto my computer? FUCK YOU!

I know what the problem is. The music industry is very unhappy with CDs because they never wear out. Back during vinyl days you had to repurchase an album because they wore out, no matter how careful you were. They weren't too pleased with cassettes because you could record an album onto it and greatly extend the life of your music, but even cassettes wore out and pre-recoreded cassettes were purposely made cheaper to shorten their lifespan. These days, CDs don't wear out so replacement revenue is from the rare event of physical damage. And digital music never wears out.

So the music industry has seen their revenue from replacement purchases completely disappear. This leaves only one option to them, make the consumer purchase a different copy for every single device, but we're not going along with their plan, and they're now in panic mode. A panicked animal attacks anything and everything within reach, without thought, the music industry is no different. So they attack what is most convenient, their customers. We just need to stay out of reach until they bleed to death.

Big picture. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927674)

Ya know I don't expect slashdot to ask, but since music is a global phenomenon. What is the trend globally?

About the year good music left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927678)

Coincidence?

Bad music = bad sales

Go figure.

Death of the RIAA monopoly, not the physical media (4, Insightful)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927808)

I do not p2p so the industry cannot easily blame piracy.

I stopped buying CDs because I refuse to patronize a greedy industry that was convicted of selling overpriced media, that maintains an iron grip on their distribution channels and seeks to eliminate any threat to that control, that uses "Hollywood accounting" to defer royalty payments to their artists, that litigates against their customers using shoddy legal practices and bypasses required steps in the legal process, that uses endentured slavery contracts to strip profits from their artists and enslaves them to provide content, that exploits their political connections to force alternate distribution channels (IE internet radio) out of business through retroactive copyright fees, and lastly fails to provide decent value for our dollar due to poor content ratio - one good song, the other nineteen disposable.

When the RIAA cartel collapses, then the distribution channels may finally open to better music from better talent.

If they hadn't cocked up the transition to SACD... (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927838)

If they hadn't cocked up the transition to SACD then maybe people would still care about physical objects. Instead, a format war and idiotic DRM derailed the next obvious upgrade and nobody bothered. Combine that with the ability to download single tracks rather than being forced to purchase a bundle of crap and is anyone really surprised at the outcome?

I can't help but think that Microsoft are hoping for the same thing to happen with the HD video formats so their Live-based download service benefits like Apple's Itunes store did.

Corporate Greed (2, Insightful)

Captain Apocalypse (1213514) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927896)

Good to know its still thriving. If they really want to stop piracy they will not start stupid crap like telling us that ripping CDs we legally own is illegal. They get that passed, and piracy will skyrocket.

The reason? Simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927976)

Music != Physical Media

Just like software companies have largely discovered that:

Software Program != Physical Media

Just like several magazines have discovered that:

Content != Physical Media

Just like cell, cable, land line, and satellite providers will soon discover that:

Content != Physical Transmission Media

People don't care how the content is delivered, just that they get the content in the most convenient, usable, and cheapest packaging available. Video, audio, print, and "multi-media" content cries out to be delivered through networks at times of consumers' choices instead of physical media; there should be no surprise when this reality exposes itself in declining physical media sales.

Get off my lawn! (3, Interesting)

Graftweed (742763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927984)

Distribution of content (music in this case) over the internet, definitely has its advantages from the point of view of the consumer, such as no time wasted going to the store or waiting for goods to arrive, and also a myriad of advantages from the point of view of the content producer.

That being said, there are several tradeoffs that I, personally, am just not ready to make unless I'm forced to by the discontinuation of CDs or by a change in the distribution model. Here are the things we are losing as we move way from CDs:

  • Raw CD Audio - I can take the lossless raw cd audio and encode it into my pet format of choice with minimal loss of quality. If I start with a MP3 and assuming that's not my pet audio format, then the loss of quality if I use a lossy codec will be noticeable.
  • Used Market - I like how I can turn to the used CD market if I don't want to pay full price for an album, or if for some reason I have a problem giving the producer in question money. It'll be a cold day in hell when the EULAs that each distributor uses allows the resale of a downloaded audio file.
  • The Physical Product - A pet peeve of mine to be sure, but I like having the actual object. Not only are some pretty damn cool [jutojo.de] , they serve as a backup and look good on my CD tower.

I'm willing to overlook the last one if they tweak the distribution model to address the first two as they are the real deal breakers for me. Especially the absence of a used market.

movie vs recording industry (1)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928002)

- the movie industry has been blowing out DVDs in the sub-US$10 range for some time...

- OTOH, the recording industry has been flogging rehashed recompilations in the US$10+ range over the past few years...

- why does the movie industry 'get it,' but the recording industry doesn't?

Duh (3, Interesting)

saladpuncher (633633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928038)

The older generation that buys music as a physical medium already has purchased everything they want. My mom isn't going to repurchase the White Album no matter what new wacky format it comes out in. The new generation doesn't see those shiny metal discs as storing music. They grew up with everything being digital. Even if they burn everything to an MP3 cd, how many songs will that store? 200-300? Their friggin phones can hold that. Their ipods, zunes, etc can hold thousands or more. Do you think they are going to buy an album for 20 bucks that has ONLY 10 songs? The end of the physical medium is here. Open up a web site and sell all of your stuff online for a good price. Oh wait...Apple already is :)

Getting with the program (1)

graft (556969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21928058)

You could blame piracy, sure, for the drop in media sales. But the reason the piracy was so successful was: the pirates were onto new technology right away. They were giving people music they liked, nearly instantaneously, in reasonably high quality (good enough for most college kids, anyway), and, to boot, for free. In response, the music industry as a whole COMPLETELY failed to act. Even now, eight years later, there is essentially only one place to buy music online (the Apple iTunes store), which is a model of success. For the most part, the music industry has doggedly insisted on relying on traditional CD sales, even though probably ever CD sold is taken home, ripped to mp3, and put on an iPod right away. The CD is a relic of the 80s - it's the 21st century. Now people can build digital archives with thousands of albums, easily indexable and searchable. Why would ANYONE prefer CDs to this? If the music industry just got with the program and provided a reliable means of getting albums in free file formats, I'm sure they'd find that sales would pick up instantly. People aren't downloading music because it's free; they're downloading music because downloading music and storing it in mp3 (etc.) files is far more convenient and enjoyable than a bunch of CDs. This same argument could also be made for the movie/TV industry. In fact, from their perspective, they lose nothing by offering digital sales. The marginal cost is almost nothing, and they're only subtracting from the set of people who would otherwise resort to torrents. I know that when I have the means to watch content I want online (as with the new hulu service), I'd MUCH prefer it to torrenting, which is still a bit of a pain in the ass. As to the idea that the music is crap: commercial music has always been crap, ever since the 50s. There's only ever a few gems buried in that dirt - just those are the ones we tend to remember.
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