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Why DVDs are thriving while CDs tank


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#1 of 170 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted July 05 2002 - 06:46 AM

There was an excellent article in Tuesday's LA Times (to read it click here) on why the DVD industry is thriving while the music is slowly going down the drain.

Several reasons are given, including the music industry's fear and loathing of new technology, as well as their nonsensical price schemes:
Quote:
When I walked through Best Buy the other day, I was amazed to discover that the DVDs for "Austin Powers" and "Rush Hour" cost exactly the same as the movies' CD soundtracks.

The most telling thing was the attitude of some music executives like the president of Universal Music Jim Urie:

Quote:
Urie says his company doesn't heavily research consumer attitude, noting, "We tend to ask how can we make more money and sell more product, not deal with consumer gripes."

Jim Urie's thoughts on anyone who is complaining:
Quote:
The dissing of CDs is just a ridiculous self-justification for stealing the music.

Not all music execs are quite as clueless as Urie -- I heard from a friend who works for Sony Music that they are going to start including DVDs with many new CDs to give extra value and promote sales.

Anyway, good article, give it a read.

Ted
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#2 of 170 OFFLINE   Jodee

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Posted July 05 2002 - 06:51 AM

As someone who used to work for Jim Urie's company I can agree with that assessment. Universal Music is not a very well run company.

That comment is indeed idiotic, but I think he also makes a good point that people often miss in the whole downloading debate: how do you compete with "free"?

Or how does a compay that makes it money from selling songs stay in business by giving them away for free?

Whenever labels have tried downloading promotions wher ethey sell new singles for 99 cents they have failed miserably. It is really hard to compete with free.

The DVD industry has not had to deal with that issue yet.

#3 of 170 OFFLINE   Mark Hanson

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Posted July 05 2002 - 07:13 AM

Sharing is nothing new. I remember all the times my friends and I got together with a tape player. We all had albums with songs on them the others wanted and didn't want to spend the money on an album with 9 other songs on it they did not want. Usually record albums (LP's for those who have never touched one) averaged about 10 songs. So we shared songs. If an album had enough good songs on it and was priced right we all had bought it.

The internet has only made that process easier and a better quality product. It ain't new. Lets see in 25 and a few more years the record execs still ain't got the picture, that is really sad for an industry. It is suprising they have bumbled along this long.

Still I have bought more music DVD's, not just movie DVD's in the last 2 years than CD's. For a couple bucks more than the CD usually a heck of a lot more content than I get on a CD. The concert, music videos, interviews, etc.

#4 of 170 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted July 05 2002 - 07:29 AM

Why do DVDs outsell CDs? One format offers high-quality video along with multichannel sound where appropriate. Standard CDs are audio-only, based on late-1970s technology, and are overpriced. Most of my several hundreds of CDs were free--promotional review copies. Otherwise, I would not have invested heavily in a technology that, to me, sounds far inferior to a very well-mastered, high-quality vinyl LP.

DVDs are better than CDs, and offer dramatically better value.

And now with the largely clueless music industry going psychotic in regard to copy protection, sales will continue to tank.

Back when I was working with the Los Angeles Reader and doing freelance stories for The Hollywood Reporter, I was always impressed with the much greater professionalism of the studio people with whom I dealt than I was the kids running the record companies' PR departments. There is no comparison between the two.

#5 of 170 OFFLINE   John Berggren

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Posted July 05 2002 - 07:39 AM

If I'm trying to save money and a CD comes out that I want on the same day as a DVD I want, 9 times out of 10 I'll buy the DVD. More entertainment value for the money.

I buy most of my CDs through BMG when I get around to it. A few CDs will get picked up at full retail (that is, Best Buy price, not Mall price).
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#6 of 170 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted July 05 2002 - 07:40 AM

How to save the music industry:

Give up on pop idols

Concentrate on finding bands with actual talent and exposing them instead of having TV shows where they pick who they want and make you feel you voted for the next puppet they put in front of 16 background dancers

Open up the US market to international acts (i.e. Japan, which Sony is attempting to do with a sampler collection they'll be advertising heavily on MTV. I highly recommend picking up L'arc en Ciel's "Clicked Best 13" in stores now!)

A new CD should be $12.99 SRP, catalog titles (and by that we mean CDs more than 2 years old) should be $9.99

The artists need a MUCH more equal split.

People have proven they will pay if they like a group. The problem is that most of the groups out there are so one-hit wonder that no one cares about anything but their single, and they don't put singles on the shelves past a very small run.

#7 of 170 OFFLINE   John Berggren

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Posted July 05 2002 - 07:55 AM

That was their biggest fear with Napster - not just the idea that music could be taken free, but that people would discover that a 13 track CD has 12 sucky tracks and one single BEFORE buying it, rather than after.

Having had a CD player in my car since 1996, I don't ever listen to pop radio anymore, mostly I work off recommendations.

It's a sad day when N'sync and Britney sell 11 million albums, and Tori Amos and the like struggle to break 1.
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#8 of 170 OFFLINE   Matthew Brown

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:06 AM

Ted -
Excellent article.


The music industry shouldn't be crying. They have created the problem themselves. The new artists just don't sell like the old ones. They are probably out of back catalogs to release on CD. Just because they produce something doesn't mean consumers have to buy it. I think the Emperor (Urie) has been told he has no clothes and still doesn't believe it.

Most of the music I like is on independent labels. I can go to their web sites and buy the CD's for $9. Sometimes that's including postage. The same CD is $18 at Tower Records. I don't download music because I hate the way MP3's sound and I want to support the bands I like.
All the promotion in the world won't make be buy a cd from a band I don't care for.

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#9 of 170 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:15 AM

Quote:
Most of the music I like is on independent labels. I can go to their web sites and buy the CD's for $9. Sometimes that's including postage. The same CD is $18 at Tower Records. I don't download music because I hate the way MP3's sound and I want to support the bands I like.


That pretty much sums up how I feel as well. Lately I've been buying primarily directly from bands. I try to go and see as much live music as possible and discover new stuff that way. Ever since my favorite DJ, Delphine Blue moved over to WFUV at some ungodly hour, I've stopped listening to non-classical music radio.

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#10 of 170 OFFLINE   Richard WWW

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:20 AM

The record companies want the hit single to sell the album full of filler material. So they promote the acts that can put out one or two songs with the broadest popular appeal. The artistic content in such productions is so watered down as to be virtually intolerable beyond the two month run of the hit song, so people don't want the whole album, as a whole.

Dvd's, on the other hand, are based on the motion picture industry, where a successful product ideally is a collaborartion of artists that generates both a strong word of mouth among consumers as well as a desire to see the product repeatedly. Naturally, films hold up better.

And the hits that the broadest spectrum of people want are available free on the internet...
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#11 of 170 OFFLINE   Robert_eb

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:23 AM

I used to buy 1-2 cds per week. I now buy 1-2 cds a month. The reason why? PRICES!!! I will not pay anything more than $12.99 for a new release. I can't believe someone would pay $18.99 for a cd. There is no investment in new and upcoming bands. If a band doesn't sell well then out they go, which to me is disgraceful. Jim Urie, in my opionion, is just part of the problem. I think MTV has ruined the state of music (non-one hit wonders), especially rock music. If artists paid more attention to the content and quality of their music instead of hair, makeup & making a flashy video with the latest choreographed dance moves; maybe they would increase their album sales. I'm tired of buying a cd and having maybe one or two quality songs and the rest being filler material.

#12 of 170 OFFLINE   Eric F

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:25 AM

Price fixing. The big music companies already lost once, and they continue to do it.

Even so, while CDs might not be selling as well as DVDs(which are clearly the better value), the entertainment industry is doing better than they ever have before.

Why are they crying? The gov't is pretty much allowing them (big business) to do whatever they want. They even have the FBI raid college dorm rooms for kids trading mp3s. I mean geez, you think they'ld have more important things to do like finding terrorists or something...

#13 of 170 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted July 05 2002 - 08:59 AM

Something I made up more than 10 years ago:

THE 11th COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt not pay $15.99 for a CD, neither shalt thou accept $12.99 as a sale price!

Since then, prices have gone even higher! When I first started buying CDs in 1985, the Wherehouse chain had ALL CDs priced at $11.99. They eventually gave up on that, but most new releases could still be found for $11.99 at most stores, and Target even had several at $10.99. I averaged at least 4 CDs a month. When the record labels RAISED the prices of CDs after that, when the manufacturing costs of CDs had gone down, and you couldn't find a new album even on sale for less than $13.99, I lost interest. Now I don't even buy 4 CDs in a year, though having several hundred CDs that I've gone back and listened to admittedly has something to do with that. Still, there were a few artists that I used to buy EVERY release from, even singles (since I have a collector mentality), but the raising of prices had me so disgusted that I gave up on those too.
It is amusing that music DVDs are priced reasonably compared to the CDs, it's almost like the left arm of the company doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Recently at a Tower store I saw a group's live album on CD (don't remember who it was), with the same concert on DVD for only $1 more, and that of course included multichannel sound and a picture which the CD obviously couldn't provide, and MORE songs than were on the CD. If the same people were setting the prices for both items, they'd probably price the DVDs much higher (hope I didn't give someone any ideas!)
CD prices simply have to come back DOWN to where they were before.
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#14 of 170 OFFLINE   Jason_Els

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:00 AM

Man do I agree with that!

Living in the sticks the only exposure to music I get comes from a hip-hop station, a top 40 so-called alternative poseur station, and a classic hits station that plays the same 20 songs over and over again. It's pathetic. MTV/VH1 is just as bad. I have the hardest time getting exposed to music I like. My only non-online friend lives in Ireland, heh.

The music companies are moribund. They foist one teen "band" after the other and only the ones the music company wants to expose get the air play or the videos in rotation. It's pathetic. You would think after Nirvana they would have learned something but they took the whole non-commercial scene as just another fad and played out the neo-Nirvana and sound-alike bands completely oblivious to the wealth of talent that doesn't come cleanly packaged in cute boys or hot girls.

I have 2 performing cousins each of whom makes a living in music but aren't remotely commercial enough to be well-known outside their respective genres. In a twist of Roger Whittaker-like fate, my one cousin is an American contemporary folk singer with a lovely voice and haunting, touching songs but she can't get air play in the US. In Spain though, she's popular enough to get recognized on the street!

If you've ever seen Tech TV then you've seen what graphics can do. Amateurs using tools like Maya are now able to make animated shorts with little cost but time. Within the next few years we'll be able to make real-looking but animated movies on home computers. When that happens, movie companies watch out! More and more people will be able to become independent film makers and for a lot less money. If you have the time you can make the film. That should scare Hollywood out of its pants.

I have NO sympathy for the recording industry. They've made their bed.
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#15 of 170 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:01 AM

Maybe the CDR on every other computer has something to do with poor CD sales, a reason studios would want decent copy protection on their DVD's.
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#16 of 170 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:05 AM

BTW I buy a ton of DVDs right now, but if they ever decide to raise the prices on those I can easily stop buying them too!
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#17 of 170 OFFLINE   Matthew Brown

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:14 AM

As far as CDR's go, I wouldn't even take the music some of these labels are producing for free.


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#18 of 170 OFFLINE   Eric F

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:15 AM

Quote:
Maybe the CDR on every other computer has something to do with poor CD sales, a reason studios would want decent copy protection on their DVD's.

There's no proof of this any more than there's proof that MP3 trading has also put a dent in the CD sales market. If anything it's the opposite. If I were to burn a CD for a friend, if they liked it, they'ld usually go out and buy it and more material from the same artist.

#19 of 170 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:25 AM

Yep, the reason I no longer have to buy CDs is because there are none worth purchasing that I don't have already.

I download music to find bands that I like with real talent and a well put together album. The rest go to the recycle bin. I purchase CDs that I discover this way to support those artist who are actually worthwhile (although the artist only sees a few pennies from my support Posted Image ). However, there is no way I would ever purchase the kind of stuff on the radio today. It's so obviously devoid of interesting material that it only takes a few listenings of their best songs to see they have nothing to offer.

Cultivate the good artists and let them flourish and you'll see some of my money headed your way.

#20 of 170 OFFLINE   Carl Johnson

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Posted July 05 2002 - 09:33 AM

There's no proof of this any more than there's proof that MP3 trading has also put a dent in the CD sales market.


At the click of a mouse millions of consumers have the ability to burn a CD at home for >.50 rather than driving to a retailer and paying nearly $20 for virtually the same stuff. Does anyone actually think that this process results in the recording industry selling more copies? That's absolutely not the case.


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