Robert Fripp says downloads too expensive AND artists shafted

Discussion in 'Music' started by Michael St. Clair, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Michael St. Clair

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    Robert Fripp, musician and record label owner (and who has worked for and with 'the man' extensively), has the following to say about downloading (my emphasis added):

     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    More grist for the mill...99 cents is too high:

    http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58684,00.html



    "But according to academics who've studied the economics of digital music distribution, the cost still seems too high to attract users of peer-to-peer file-trading services. "

    "Fisher said he believes operators of downloading services need to set prices by keeping in mind that it is substantially cheaper to deliver an electronic file than a packaged CD or single. "

    "On the surface, Fisher acknowledged that compared to the price of a CD, the 99-cent download seems a reasonable proposal. If one considers that a typical CD by a popular artist contains less than a dozen songs and costs more than $12, downloading would be slightly cheaper.

    However, Fisher noted that the price comparison isn't entirely valid, since it costs much less to distribute music digitally than to mass-produce a CD, package it and ship it to retailers.

    He estimated that providing digital downloads requires about one-third the expense of releasing the same content in CD format. Taking that into account, $1 seems far too costly for a single track, Fisher said. "
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Robert Fripp always has raised some good points through the years in his many tirades about the music business, but for the most part he's a bit of a kook in my book. I love much of his work and have seen him live many times.

    The problem with this concept is that one of the biggest things that the downloaders want is the ability to buy only the songs they want from an artist. People complain that they spend $12 on a CD from an artist and it only has one song that they like.

    (Aside - music has always worked this way. From the bands in the 60s to the rock and roll singles era all the way back to the days in the 12th century when the local troubadour came to town and you only liked two or three of the songs he sang.)

    If an artist releases a 12 song album with one "hit" on it, you need to defer the cost somehow. You can't operate from the assumption that the downloader is going to download all the songs on the album. In order for the record company to recoup the cost of promoting and recording the artist, the higher per-song price could be necessary in this light.

    But I'm sure no-one will complain if the prices go down. [​IMG]

    Heck, back in the 70s an album with 10 tracks was $7.99 and a 45 single was $.99. That's what's happening here as far as I can see.
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    Philip,

    In comparison to a store-bought single, 99 cents is indeed a good deal.

    In comparison to a store-bought album, 99 cents (per track) for lossy manufacture-it-yourself CD is a terrible deal.

    I have long advocated a huge discount for those who buy/download the whole album.
     
  5. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Couldn't a simple sliding scale be implemented, i.e., first song from an album is $1.29, second song is .99, etc. until the last few songs from an album are .19.
     
  6. RolandDeschain

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  7. Michael St. Clair

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  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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