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New analysis: Did downloads really kill the record labels?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Scoggins, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    Dan Bricklin, sharp inventor of the first spreadsheet VisiCalc has done a fascinating study of the recent weak RIAA records sales numbers.
    Read this for some interesting analysis:
    http://www.bricklin.com/recordsales.htm
    So perhaps the unprecedented price increase killed off some sales and not downloads?
    This is great analysis with another perspective on the whole thing.
    I think the industry should embrace digital downloads because it will happen anyway.
    Why should consumers buy a CD for $18 and find out only two songs are good?
    Bottom line: the customer is always right. [​IMG]
    What do you think?
     
  2. David-S

    David-S Well-Known Member

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    Cool read, thanks!

    I have honestly found myself buying fewer CD's as the prices go up... Now that i can rarely buy 2 for $25, it just gets harder to justify, especially while trying to build a DVD collection....
     
  3. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    Me too. It is hard to spend $18 on a CD when you know it costs less than a $1 to manufacture.

    And the recent pop CDs I have bought, there are maybe two songs out of 16 that are worth listening to.

    The whole idea on compilation is interesting as well.

    Why don't labels allows us to download individual songs from everything they have to create mix CDs?

    The proverbial "road tape" is a good thing to have on trips.
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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  5. BrianB

    BrianB Well-Known Member

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  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    I think the focus on "Disposable Pop" also hurts CD sales. There isn't a feeling of band loyalty like I used to feel with Zeppelin, Beatles, etc. Those were great albums with songs that struck a meaningful chord with me as a listener. I wanted the official album, not something taped off of a vinyl. Today I still want to buy the artists that I love (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Pete Yorn, Pearl Jam, etc.) and am not content with just burning their products.

    But at the same time, most people who just want Britney's or N'Sync's latest hit probably feel no real connection to the artist and have no scruples downloading the latest MP3 of it...
     
  7. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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    Everybody knows that, but it doesn't justify the fact that cds are way overpriced. The record companies may technically be correct that downloading a song you don't have a cd copy of is illegal but it was the best promotional tool with zero cost to them that they ever killed. I am still an undergraduate and know all these kids that are hardcore downloaders that the record company says are killing their business. Trust me these people that download whole albums just are into getting something for nothing. They never bought a lot of cds to begin with but they still buy ones from their favorite artists. I used to occasionally download a song to checkout an artist. With the demise of Napster I still buy a lot of cds but not nearly as many as I used too. I think it allowed me to discover artists I had heard about through friends. If I enjoyed a song I always went to go get the album. Since I'm not in my car much I don't hear much radio, so if I hear a song from an album I don't own I heard it on mtv. Since mtv hardly plays music anymore you can imagine how many new artists I get to hear on a regular basis.
     
  8. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Well-Known Member

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    The industry doesn't like factors that they can't control or make money off of. So, therefore, they fear it.

    One thing that they lightly touched on in the article is the death of the single. It used to be, when I was younger, you could go out and buy a 45 of just about any song that got regular airplay for a dollar. Hell, you could get older singles that were still popular. Then, cassette singles started replacing 45s, costing more ($2.99) and with less variety. Then, CD singles took over, going for about $5.99, and getting more and more tough to find.

    For example, I'd like a copy of Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal". Problem is, I don't think I'll like the band and most of the songs on their album. Can I get a single? No, not as far as I can tell. It isn't even on the American Pie 2 soundtrack, where it was most prominently played. This will mean buying a CD for one song. 15.99-18.99 for one song? I don't think so.

    Digital music is so ripe for singles. No overhead in the stores to carry them, and filling a need that customers want. The big fear, of course, is that people will just copy the song over and over and not many will buy. The thing is, noone is buying now, since they aren't selling. Silly.

    Jason
     
  9. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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    One other thing. Some people here are complaining that the cost of media should not be discussed. I think everyone knows the majority of the cost in a cd is whats on it not the cd itself. But this argument stems from what record companies themselves have said. When cds started to become mainstream they still cost significantly more than a cassette. Everybody relized that cds cost less to make. The record companies said that this was because they were not being produced on the same mass scale as cassettes. They claimed prices would eventually come down to the level of a cassette as they gained market acceptance. Obviously they were full of shit and were just getting the consumer used to paying significantly more in a very short time frame. And as a previous poster mentioned a lot of this is the record companies fault for not creating a viable singles market on the cd. There is no reason the record companies couldn't sell a single with a b side on a cd in a cardboard sleeve packaging for under three dollars.
     
  10. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Premium
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    Are you suggesting that the demise of Napster led you to buy fewer CDs? That's kinda hard to believe. First off the recording industry vs Napster was but a pothole on the information superhighway, free music online is bigger now than it has ever been. Secondly I've heard the argument made that file sharing = free advertisement which leads to CD sales but that's just not realistic. For every person that buys the stuff that they download there are many more who live off of free music without ever setting foot in a record store. Hell, there's even a rather large market for selling bootleg music, movies, and videogames.
     
  11. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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    Its not a ridiculous statement if its true. Online music is not bigger then it ever was. All the latest file sharing programs are not nearly as easy to use as napster was. Ninety percent of whats available are incomplete files or questionable in quality. And its not nearly as easy to find up and coming artists. Sure you can download 10,000 copies of a Britney Spears song but I'm more interested in newer rock groups who are just starting to find a mainstream audience. I remember a couple years ago someone could recomend an artist to me I would download a song and if it made an impression on me I would buy it. I don't think anyone has been hurt by online music. The record companies see every download as a lost sale. But is it a lost sale when I dowload 5 songs that I already have on other albums because I'm to lazy to rip my own copy? There are very few people who are not buying albums because they downloaded them. Remember few people have broadband and it takes a lot of time an effort to download a whole album over dialup. I'm part of the biggest broadband audience there is, college, and I'm telling you if these kids aren't buying as many albums its because they aren't finding any worth purchasing. They have no problem paying to see a show and you would be surprised at the number of people who will pick up the cd right there if they like what they hear.
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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    I used to be able to go to a movie for $2, now it costs $10. I could buy a meal at McDonalds for under $3, now its just under $7, I used to be able to buy name brand runners for $20, now they're $150. I used to ride the bus for 10ยข, now it's $2. I used to be able to buy a car for $7,000, now they're $30,000. I used to be ab;e to buy a house for $20,000, now they're $450,000.
    I used to be able to buy a CD for $15, now they're $15. [​IMG]
    Are CDs too expensive? That depends on how much you value music. If you want to be indiscriminately buying discs, then yes, perhaps they are expensive - just like everything else. If not, then you can either find albums severely discounted (I have yet to pay more than $9US for a new, popular CD) or, for rarer catalogue, which has more value to me personally, I don't mind paying a bit more. If you really want cheap, buy used.
    People act as if $18 is the end of the world, yet those same people won't think twice about blowing $50 for a night out at a bar with nothing to show for it but a hangover.
    Online distribution as a promotional tool is not a bad thing. What IS a bad thing is every Joe with a MP3 ripper distributing entire albums. What's worse are those who not only steal music off the net, but then turn around and sell the bootlegs to their friends. Being parasites is not the way to sustain any kind of creative community. If you wonder why none of those great smaller bands aren't around any more, perhaps it is because they simply couldn't make a living with everyone taking their work for free.
     
  13. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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  14. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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    One other thing Jeff. I keep a rip of the entire GNR catalog on my hard drive. I kept this posted on my network when I was in University housing though not over the file sharing networks. My all time favorite band is GNR and I did this because I wanted to spread my love for GNR. Sure some people might copy the whole album but others might rediscover a band they forgot about and perhaps they would go out and buy the cd. I don't think their is anything immoral about this, maybe technically illegal though I disagree with recent court rulings. If anybody ever complained to me I would remove it in a heartbeat but I feel it is a great tribute to my favorite artist. I don't have anything personal against you but I think you are mistaken on the impact this has on yourself and others in the business.
     
  15. NickSo

    NickSo Well-Known Member

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  16. Benson R

    Benson R Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it odd that the record industry could only show their sales going down until we went into a recession and they finally started to put a dent in filesharing?
     
  17. john_focal

    john_focal Active Member

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    I can only surmise what happens from my own experience. If I go to a decent book store, and want to buy a book, I can sit down, and maybe read a few dozen pages, or whatever to decide if its something I would like.

    With MP3's, I can do likewise. For example, I had never heard any music by Bjork, till seeing a clip of her on HBO's Reverb show.

    I dl'ed about 20 songs of her's to check out, and liked most of what I heard. Now, one of her discs is my next purchase.

    Without the trial listen, I wouldnt take a chance on the CD. So for me, MP3's lead to far more purchases, not less.
     
  18. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Well-Known Member

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  19. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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  20. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Well-Known Member

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