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2003 CD Sales Officially Down 7.6 Percent 792

Lust writes "CNN is reporting that global CD sales for 2003 are down 7.6 percent, and points to 'rampant piracy, poor economic conditions and competition from video games and DVDs.' More grist for the RIAA mill on P2P? I just haven't heard anything new I'd like to buy... how about you?" It's also mentioned that "a strong second-half recovery in the United States, Britain and Australia... has raised hopes that the worst is behind the beleaguered industry", although "evidence of a full-fledged recovery is flimsy."
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2003 CD Sales Officially Down 7.6 Percent

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  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:18PM (#8796107)
    I think that P2P probably has had an effect on sales though not as great an effect as the price of CD's. Before P2P I bought music, I copied friend's music, and I recorded music broadcast over FM radio stations. I still buy music (I belong to one of the music clubs and even with shipping, I still only pay about $8 or so per CD), I also copy music from Kazaa. I copy some music that I have owned and I copy some music I do not own. Recently, after "pirating" a bunch of Norah Jones songs, I bought her CD. I think that happens a lot - people download music and then buy. There has always been a way to pirate music though it was usually borrowing music and re-recording it. I still wonder if a lower price for CD's would increase sales enuf that the artists and recording labels would be profitable because the decreased price would be more than made up for in increased sales.Is it also possible that the quality of music is not as great as in the past or that a lot of music is "more of the same?"

    Happy Trails!


    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:22PM (#8796180) Homepage Journal
      I would never buy music from an RIAA-owned company again. I'm sorry, but they dragged their feet for years on engaging the Internet, sued every company that did, and then started suing their customers who gave up and did it themselves.

      I'm done. I still buy CDs whenever I see an artist playing at a local establishment and they are selling their own CDs, but that's ALL I'll do (and that's a LOT of music anyway).
      • by stephenisu ( 580105 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:39PM (#8796455)
        Fine the RIAA sucks. But don't punish the artists who's labels chose to be members. It's hard as hell to get signed, and the artist has to eat. The RIAA provides legal services and lobbying forces that would not be possible by individual labels, let alone most artists. YES I dispise the way the RIAA has handled these issues, but they are also looking out for the rights of the artists as a whole. It's kinda like the case. The RIAA has to try to protect the artists or else they set a precedent. BTW MOST of the CD's I buy are independent, and if they are under the RIAA I try to buy at concerts, and murchandise, and tickets, etc... I have the beliefs that many BBS'ers used to have about 'piracy'. Try it, then if you keep it, buy it.
        • <i>It's hard as hell to get signed, and the artist has to eat.</i>

          Why can't the artist get a job like the rest of us?
        • Spank them HARD (Score:3, Flamebait)

          by poptones ( 653660 )
          Bullshit. those labels were riaa affiliates long before the artists signed to them. what you are saying is pure apologist copout. no one MADE those artists sign with their labels, and there are several alternatives out there now. If these artists are not economically "encouraged" to flee the majors then change will never happen.

          Spank the shit out of RIAA signed artists. Beat them until they bleed money - that's the only way change happens in this world.

          And if you buy cds at shows you're still just feedin

      • by lazuli42 ( 219080 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:42PM (#8796503) Homepage Journal
        I wanted to add my 'me too' to this thread in case anyone from the RIAA happened across /. today.

        Between 2000 and 2002 I used Napster to download a TON of songs. But up to 2000 I had only ever bought about 20 CD's. At the end of 2002 my CD collection was up to about 60 CD's. Albums that I've bought since 2002? Zero.

        I'm a small business owner. I'll admit that I've been cowed by the RIAA. Since 2002 I've only downloaded about 5 songs covered by the RIAA (and a few tracks from Japan).

        There's definately a correllation here.

        I'd like to sample some new music, but due to my schedule I hardly ever have the chance to listen to the radio.

        I sincerely wish that all the record companies would open up their whole catalogs at high compression/low quality so that I can check out new music or download a song I haven't heard in five years.

        • by Shadarr ( 11622 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @08:24PM (#8798952) Homepage
          I also discovered a wealth of music during the Napster days, and bought a ton of albums as a result. However, what made me stop buying albums wasn't the lack of P2P options, because they are still out there, but the copy protection on CDs.

          I'm going to break it right down to specifics, in case any brain-dead record execs are reading this. I bought Elements Part 1 by Stratovarius. In fact, I ordered the special edition from Europe, so it cost me over $30. The CD was "copy protected". What this actually means is that the CD is corrupt and won't play in my computer. I don't own a stereo, because my computer is my stereo.

          So, in order to listen to the CD I had legally purchased, I had to go to the P2P network and download the MP3's. At this point, I had to ask myself "Self, what am I getting for my $30?" The answer is not much.

          For a while, I made an effort to check whether an album I wanted was corrupted or not, but that was too much trouble and took most of the fun out of shopping. Recently I haven't bought any CDs because it just feels like Russian roullette. Either that or work.

          I finally got around to downloading some of the songs off Elements Part 2 last week. Don't worry, I live in Canada so it's legal (for now, at least). But the legality of it wasn't an issue. The issue is that I would still have to download the songs even if I bought the album. So what's the point?
    • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:24PM (#8796197) Journal
      I think it's directly related to the fact that music QUALITY went down another 20% or so. Think Janet Jackson's breast will help sales, or will Justin Timberlake's musical talents sway yet another generation of gum snapping teens?

      God, 'music' is the suck today! Either that, or I'm just too old.

      Hey, you kids and your damn rap music! Shaddup!!

      • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:42PM (#8796505) Journal
        A look at the Billboard Top 200 [] is an easy way to figure out, at least on an anecdotal level, that popular music sucks right now. For the most part, it's the same old artists, singing the same old things within their same old already-established genres. It's the same problem with the video game industry that everyone always complains about -- it's a lot easier to go with established acts (or artists or licenses) than to risk capital on something new that has the potential to either suck or be incredible.

        This general trend of homogeneity has really been brought to bear over the last decade, from what I can tell. Companies really like sustained sources of revenue...ok, yeah, that's a given and has been since the beginning. Companies need it to survive and to grow. But isn't it good to create some nice challenges so that the companies can grow?

        Challenges, like, say, the removal of perpetual copyright? If, for example, Disney couldn't keep making money off of old cartoons, wouldn't they have to seriously start making up some new stories or at least go back to the children's section at public library and read some Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson?

        In the end, it's all about how we the people want corporations to act in the context of our republic (both the United States and in the larger sense of the collective of industrialized nations). Do we want to give them carte blanche to not innovate? Or do we want to help them along by pushing them a little? Folks, from what I can tell, will almost always take the road that's easiest and offers the most return for the least amount of risk or investment. Sometimes you have to guide them down that road, or at least show 'em where it starts.

        My 2 cents, anyhow...
        • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:02PM (#8796799) Journal
          A better question here is HOW do you innovate and with what?

          Here's a short (very short) history of innovation in the last 60 years:

          40's: Swing. The idea of using big band in a fast and fancy musical tone while borrowing from early blues and jazz really took it to a new art form.

          50's: Emergence of Rock 'n Roll and the multitrack recorder. This is where tech started to make inroads in music. The Electric guitar and bass finally get airplay.

          60's: Stereo rock and studio tricks. This is when the experiementation reached an all time high. Things started to be heard on radio that simply weren't possible in the 'real world'.

          70's: More studio refinement and the synthesizer finally takes lead. More sounds no one had ever heard, or heard together.

          80's: Early 80's saw better synths producing increasingly more realistic sounds. Glam metal makes a comeback as it is mixed with more attention to sound detail and synthesis. Rap makes it's national debut in the song "Rapture". New genre started.

          90's: Rap meets metal. Studio techniques are perfected to a point where any differences in sound quality appear negligible. Synthesizers focus on producing more 'natural' sounds. Machiens are developed to help improve vocal tracks (for those who can't sing worth a damn) and/or create backing vocals (for those who can't AFFORD those who can sing with them). True technical innovation has 'jumped the shark'.

          00's: For the first time in over 80 years of music, all forms of music that started this decade were around last decade. All technical innovations in the studio have been minor or non-existant as digital equipment is considered standard issue.

          The music companies - more than ever - are pushing personality rather than the substance of the music because there is no more innovation, but they are making a mistake.

          When Norah Jones outsells a pop star 5:1 and surprises the hell out of everyone for doing it, it's not because she's hot, it's because her music speaks to people in a way that has not been heard in many years. In many ways, it is music that could have been produced 30 years ago (albeit with primative equipment).

          If the music industry wants to survive it will need to innovate, but as you pointed out, this will mean returning to the roots of the music itself and not the 'flash in the pan' futures of personality.

          • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:33PM (#8797248) Homepage Journal
            Note: a lot of this is speculation and heresay.

            One thing that hasn't been noted so much in this thread is that in the last few years, the music industry has supposedly been signing fewer new bands and investing less money in putting new titles out.

            One thing I've heard is that average per-title sales have been up and increasing the past few years, but when there are fewer titles being introduced, that limits growth.

            I wonder if bands are starting to wise up and avoiding the whole label-signing thing, and that is why the RIAA can't recruit as many new bands as they had before. It could also be possible that the RIAA is trying to reduce or slow the number of new titles to help them create their ruse to gain control of internet music.
            • The other thing that is making bands wary of the established labels are some of their more recent money-grubbing practices.

              In the past, t-shirt sales and concert profits ALWAYS went to the artists - no more. Bands used to depend upon this income because CD sales just aren't enough for most anymore. Now the labels are demanding a cut of even this one thing.

              Most every band out there would like to make it big, but the Internet has gone a long way in being able to show them just how twisted the industry is, w
          • Thanks for that brief history of musical innovation:)

            My 2 cents was mainly focused on the larger issue of innovation and how it's difficult to get the desire to innovate, or change or do anything different without constraints. Perpetual copyrights (perpetual, for the sake of dicussion:) do little to encourage so-called content producers to make more content, when they can just grow fatter off of already established streams of revenue.

            This behavior is ultimately dangerous for them, though, as you pointe
      • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:57PM (#8796741)
        But the fact remains that everyone else likes the music coming out, especially young kids. You guys sound like old fogies--actually, you sound like my parents when I was growing up and they heard my music. Meanwhile, a lot of people DO like today's music, from the Strokes to Clay Aiken to Norah Jones to so on and so forth. But downloading is so easy and convenient now, today's youth don't give a second thought about it anymore. And that doesn't make what they're doing suddenly a-okay.

        Yet, you people don't seem to care because you've grown accustomed to the convenience as well, and in order to remove the label of criminality, you've tried to brush it off on to the record label lobbying group that just so happens to be doing the *exact thing Slashdotters said they should be doing* a few years ago--suing individual copyright infringers.

        This is silly. There are online stores now. There are services like iTunes. How many knocked-down excuses will people keep using to justify that they've got eMule down there in their system tray right now?

        Artists willingly sign their contracts, and I find it hard to feel sorry for them when they shit on gold toilets, have antique car collections, and do movies all the time. Yet, Slashdot pretends they're fighting for the artist by ripping them off and not paying for their music.

        What's amusing is that there is somewhat of a stigma when it comes to pirating games and apps simply because a lot of people here are programmers. Are you guys going to talk about "sampling games" when Doom 3 gets leaked a month early (as they all are now) and kids, college students, and people on high-bandwith connections pirate the fuck out of it?

        If everyone here at Slashdot was a musician, the message would be completely different. What I find most amusing, however, is the double-standard pointed out in my sig.

        But go ahead and play the "b-but the RIAA is *evil*!!! That gives me the right to pretend their copyright was magicaly transferred over to me to illegally distribute all over the place" game.

        99% of the users on Kazaa aren't "sampling" those albums. Hell, on eMule they're just RARing up entire discographies now and sticking them online. I'd respect pro-piracy people more if they just admitted what was going on and that it was legally and morally wrong. At least I can debate your position logically because you know where you stand. But this bullshit "it's the RIAA's fault we're illegally sharing all their copyrighted materials!" mindset will never, ever fly.
        • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:22PM (#8797108) Journal
          "b-but the RIAA is *evil*!!!

          Yeah, it is. So? I never said anything about copyright, but you bring up a good point.

          How long should a copyright be good for? You know there's this Elvis revival going on in Germany right now - know why? They have a reasonable 50 year copyright law. All of his works are starting to come out in compilations and it's free and legal to do so.

          I'm not suggesting that breaking the law is the answer. I'm suggesting that CHANGING A BROKEN LAW is. The 55 MPH speed limit was broken by many (were you a nasty-wasty law breaker yourself?) That law was found to be stupid and fairly unenforceable (especially out West), and so it was changed.

          I'm a musician myself. I've personally watched the struggles of others who have tried to make it. I also know that 99.5% of anyone who signs a contract with these music company bastards commit themselves to being BOHICA'd.

          With the self-serving record labels and the RIAA re-writing copyright law every decade it will be a miracle if ANY music ever again sees the public domain in this country. Don't think that you can take a superior tone with me or anyone else just because we don't agree with that fact and want to 'fight the power', so to speak.

          If you can't see how one-sided the whole industry is, I would suggest that you report back to your corporate overloads and request more instructions on how to deal with people like me.

      • Think Janet Jackson's breast will help sales,

        I really don't see how, unless the CD includes a bonus clip of footage from the high-definition cameras.
    • Gee, how about OPTIONS!?!

      The reason most often cited for slumping television ratings is the ever-increasing availability of alternatives, from satellite and cable channels to DVD rentals to the Internet. People just havbe more choices when it come to how to spend an evening.
      The same is true of music. We have satellite delivered content on a couple of hundred channels now, (CD quality, no commercials, and recordable: different from buying a CD how?)

      I agree with the other posting most, though. Give me q

    • by PurdueGraphicsMan ( 722107 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:39PM (#8796450) Homepage Journal
      Considering that iTunes has a huge market share in legal music downloading, I think that it's safe to say that the reason that cd sales are declining is because you no longer have to buy an entire CD when all that you want it 1 song. I (for one) will never buy an entire CD again unless I'm really into the artist and I actually want the entire CD. From now on I'll be buying my music on iTunes only.
    • by ziggy_zero ( 462010 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:42PM (#8796508)
      Is it also possible that the quality of music is not as great as in the past or that a lot of music is "more of the same?"

      Anybody who says that the music being produced today "isn't as good" as older music are just lazy in my book. If you can't put forth a little effort in finding new music that isn't force-fed to you by MTV or the radio, then you don't really know the whole story, do you?

      There is a ridiculous amount of good music out there, if you just stop by a music news website to check it out. Also, online radio is a great way to find new artists that you like.
    • by BigDuke ( 723666 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:01PM (#8796780)
      I haven't bought any CDs lately because I have been holding out for the "She Bangs" from the Asian American Idol dude... ;-) He rocks!
    • For a long time, I couldn't figure out why the RIAA was so upset about P2P. It really, honestly didn't seem to be hurting their sales numbers significantly. Maybe they kept worrying about future losses, but as time wound on, that seemed less and less likely.

      Based on your actions, P2P does have a good reason for worrying the RIAA:

      (a) makes it easier for indie artists to get exposure

      (b) thus makes marketing (the primary incentive the RIAA has to offer artists) less valuable

      (c) because pop artists are th
  • by stecoop ( 759508 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:18PM (#8796109) Journal
    I don't mind pay 15 bucks for a new full feature movie release but I'm not buying another 1 hit wonder that has only one song that I like for something around 18 bucks and listen to it only once.

    No there isn't going to be a recovery until their business model is revised.
    • You can also usually buy a performer's music DVD for only a buck or two more than the audio CD, and a lot of times they are the same price or sometimes less. I don't know about you but for the same price, I'll take an hour of video of Norah Jones singing instead of her audio CD with just the jacket photo to look at!
    • by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:33PM (#8796361)
      One of the funnier things is that the movie soundtrack CD costs as much as the whole movie on DVD. The soundtrack songs played during the movie might be partial clips and mixed with dialog, but they'll often play 2 or 3 of the soundtrack songs in their entirety during the credits at the end.

      Don't forget competition from video games too and the music they manage to bundle with them. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater games have at least a full CD's worth of music as the in game soundtrack. GTA Vice City had almost a hundred 80's songs in its in game soundtrack, but it was mixed in with the fictitious radio stations.
    • "I'm not buying another 1 hit wonder that has only one song"

      This is one of those common excuses, but I'm genuinely curious:

      1) Who are these one hit wonders with only one good song on their CD? Can you cite the one good song on otherwise all-crap CDs?

      2) Do you think such CDs are intentionally made with the idea that it's all crap, except for that one song? In other words, does the band, producer, etc, not stand by their work?

      • I guess have the obligation to address your issue since your asking a perfectly legitimate question.

        Start here at VH1 one hit wonders [].

        You're kind of correct - the statement was taken out of context. What people are tired of is paying a bunch of money for something that is played over and over on the Radio anyway. So much so that you get tired of hearing it and that Artist then becomes associated with one song and is thought of as a one hit wonder in which cannot ever achieve the same greatness.
    • That's a great point. Just because p2p is on the rise and cd sales are down DOESN'T mean p2p caused it. Maybe consumers are getting smarter. Maybe people are fed up with greedy execs. Maybe I want to be able to have the quality of a Coltrane box set every time! I mean, the same argument could be made as to why VHS sales are down. Just because they correlate doesn't mean one caused the other.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:18PM (#8796110) Homepage Journal

    rampant piracy, poor economic conditions and competition from video games and DVDs.

    Hmm.. they seem to have missed "boring bands, unoriginal music and inflated CD prices."

    Here's a free tip from me to the music industry lurkers:
    Shrink-wrapping dog shit does not create a market for shrink-wrapped dog shit.
    Think about that, act on it, then give me 0.5% of the net.
  • by Eyah....TIMMY ( 642050 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:18PM (#8796111)
    The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) blamed the slump in retail music sales -- now in its fourth consecutive year -- on rampant piracy, poor economic conditions and competition from video games and DVDs.

    Itunes is selling 2.5 million songs a week []. The declining sale of CDs does not necessarily mean the music piracy is going up; it means there are also new means of selling music, digitally, and very legally.
    I hate it when declining CD sales is automatically attributed to piracy. The way music is sold is evolving too (and the labels are getting their share don't worry).
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dolo666 ( 195584 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:18PM (#8796113) Journal
    > More grist for the RIAA mill on P2P

    Not really. 7.6% is not that much, considering how many companies have moved to an online sales model []. If anything this refutes the RIAA's claim that P2P has any significant effect at all. What kinda depresses me was the point in the article that the reduction of top acts helps to boost sales; that the reduction of variety means more concentrated gains in that particular market, is actually bad for the market in the long run, IMHO.
  • but of course, almost all of them are direct from the artist purchases.

    The remainder are bought per-track off of Rhapsody and burned by me.

    It's not that music sales are lagging, it's that the RIAA, and to a smaller extent, the record companies, doesn't need to be involved in them anymore.
  • But what does that actually mean, beyond the fact that 2003 CD sales have fallen by eight percent? Can one reasonably draw any kind of further conclusions, or is everyone just going to jump on this result to further their agendas?
  • It's a good think that I know to trust the anectodal claims from complete strangers on slashdot who say they've bought more cd's due to p2p, and thus completely disregard any evidence to the contrary. It's a shame that everyone in the mass media is a clueless phb idiot who isn't as smart as me and can't do the same.
  • New Data! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ddelrio ( 749862 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:21PM (#8796160)
    In a new report issued this week, eight-track and Atari 2600 game sales are down. Industry leaders blame rampant piracy and MAME.
  • by tweakt ( 325224 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:21PM (#8796162) Homepage
    Total sales of singles, including cassettes and vinyl, which have dipped significantly since the Internet file-sharing and CD-burning craze began in the late 1990s, fell 18.7 percent in value terms between 2002 and 2003.

    Riiiight. And the introduction of the Compact Disc had absolutely no effect on the sales of cassettes and vinyl. It was clearly completely due to the "file-sharing and CD-burning craze". Uh-huh.

    • When RIAA and IFPI whine about "falling CD sales" they use numbers from 2000-2003 and say that sales dropped almost 20%.
      For example from here []:

      Total U.S. music shipments, including to direct and special markets, dropped 7.2 percent from 859.7 million units in 2002 to 798.4 million units in 2003. In dollar value, this represents a six percent decrease. The three year decline (2000-2003) of music unit shipments is 26 percent and the value of those units declined 17.2 percent since 2000.

      They never mentio

  • I think this is merely an effect of music going more and more for quick and easy commercial fixes. Even people who listen to dance music used to buy albums, nowadays the quality is just so shite there's no hiding it. Personally, I made quite a few new discoveries last year, but ofcourse I don't pay attention to mainstream music&media, so my total number of purchases should remain about the same.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:23PM (#8796184) Homepage
    RIAA will site this as proof that P2P damages record sales. But could it be that most new music SUCKS?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:23PM (#8796187)
    In the US, a new CD is now $17.99, sometimes even $18.99 or $21.99. When I was in college 3-4 years ago a new CD was usually $13.99 or $14.99 at my local bookstore. I was at Borders the other day wanting to buy a new album (that I couldn't download!) and was blown away that they wanted $19.99 for ONE CD. Screw that, I'll search harder and find it online somewhere...

    When iTunes first came out I thought $9.99 for a CD was silly, but now 50% off is starting to make sense... (Speaking of iTunes this study doesn't seem to take online sales into account...)
  • by nizo ( 81281 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:24PM (#8796200) Homepage Journal
    After all, it couldn't be:

    - Lame new music

    - Increased prices of CDs

    I keep waiting for a law firm somewhere to offer "RIAA insurance": pay $5/month and they offer to defend you if you ever get sued by them.

  • DVD Sales UP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AMG ( 110468 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:24PM (#8796205) Homepage
    It should be interesting to see if the DVD sales rose up. If Ive to choose between a live CD concert and a live DVD concert, I get the DVD. Dont you?
  • by kemapa ( 733992 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:24PM (#8796210) Journal
    How an industry that makes so much profit can be considered a "beleaguered industry"? I'm sure the gas and cable industries are suffering heavily as well these days, huh?
  • by Neil Blender ( 555885 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:25PM (#8796221)
    I haven't killed a man since 1984.
  • by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:25PM (#8796226)

    Just not sold by the RIAA.

    There are some great artists. I buy their albums whenever they appear in concert, at the concert. Then I know that at least a fraction of the money will actually go to the artist.

    For example, check out Vienna Teng []. Great music and even better live!

  • by flashbang ( 124262 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:26PM (#8796247)
    You know, I bet if you did a study looking at the increase of air play of songs compared to the CD sales you would see a decrease.

    I for one may like a song at first, but when radio stations are forced to play it over and over (every hour...) I get sick of it. I'm not going to buy that CD anymore - thanks radio...

    That would be an interesting study...
  • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:27PM (#8796251) Homepage
    An industry that has started a warpath suing children, the elderly, and many more of its potential customers is suffering from poor sales. Shocking!
  • by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:28PM (#8796272)
    If you go to the CRIA web page [], you'll see that CD sales (and gross revenue, though not revenue from CDs) were up over the same month in the preceding year in both January and February. The CRIA is the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA.

    DVD sales are way up in all of the months I looked at. VHS and cassette tape sales are down, which isn't too surprising.

  • by gozar ( 39392 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:31PM (#8796321) Homepage

    This brings up a good point about what to buy. I've got ~10 free songs coming to me from the Pepsi/iTunes giveaway, and I don't know what to buy with them.

    I start looking around for a song I want, and I usually end up buying the entire album instead (latest purchases, Gershwin's Greatest Hits and Buffy: Once More with Feeling). My tastes in music are pretty varied, going from classical to hip-hop, but I'm having a tough time finding music I want to get.

    I don't even look at CDs anymore. Too expensive and takes too long to find something you like.

    I'm sure every record exec started shaking in their boots with the USA Today article [] that shows that a lot more youth are turning to their parents CD collection of Queen and ZZ Top. No new sales.

  • Today's music... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:32PM (#8796346)
    ...bites, from what I've heard. I can count on one hand how many CDs I have that were published this millennium. I'm sure there's lots of good stuff buried out there, but Clear Channel won't let me near them.

    Plus, very few people even know how to play a guitar anymore (Joe Bonamassa being a big exception).
    I didn't see a "it sucks" cause in the article...

    Yeah, I'm geezing, I know....

  • by weave ( 48069 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:32PM (#8796349) Journal
    Amen about there being nothing you want to hear available. I have 40 credits in itunes I need to use before the end of the month, and I haven't found anything good to use it for yet -- FOR FREE.
  • by Amigori ( 177092 ) * <> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:33PM (#8796354) Homepage
    With so many different types of media competing for my entertainment dollar, the music industry needs step up and realize they are not alone any longer. People want flexibility with their music because there's many more ways to play a song today than 10 or even 5 years ago. The day of the discman is nearly over. Hello iPod! If you can't provide me with the type and format of music that I desire, I will find it elsewhere. The iTunes Music Store is great and its where I've bought 95% of my music since it was launched last year. The only place that I use CDs anymore is in my car, and they're almost all custom mixes. That will change when I decide to get an FM modulator or the line-in jacks for my iPod.

    The other factor bringing down my music purchases, other than higher prices and a lower paycheck, is lack of quality. Most of what I listen too, you would never find in Best Buy or FYE. You're too concerned with "golden money makers" than with providing us with interesting original music. I understand the business principles behind trying to make a profit, but when you minimize your risk, you potentially minimize your return. Think of all the CDs in the past 2 years that you (RIAA) have released? I can't really name any that I've liked the entire CD, except for Coldplay's A Rush of Blood To the Head. One. Oh well, you may learn someday, and someday may be too late.


  • RIAA free top 100 (Score:5, Informative)

    by vossman77 ( 300689 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:35PM (#8796386) Homepage
    I'm a big indie rock fan and I find this site to be a good break down of non-RIAA bands:

    RIAA Safe Top 100 []

    RIAA Safe Top 10 Alternative Rock []

    all based on Amazon Sales
  • Used CDs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thebus ( 158196 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:36PM (#8796403) Homepage Journal
    With the increased high prices I have almost completed resorted to buying used. I can usually find great buys at amazon, ebay, or half. I seldom pay more than $5.

    There is so much good music from the past that I haven't heard yet, why do I need to pay full price for the new stuff.

    When I do buy new I try to do so directly from the artist.
  • I love this. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:36PM (#8796405) Homepage
    Dear RIAA,

    HAHAHA! RIAA, the music industry has changed! Technology has allowed greater sharing and therefore we don't need to go to a brick and mortar store to buy your crap!! Information wants to be free, it's everywhere!!! No laws will stop this!!! YOU are the thieves!

    Yours truly,
    Slashdot Crowd

    Dear Congressman,

    Due to recent changes in technology, American businesses are now looking overseas to cheap labor to perform what used to be my job. This is economical for them because of increased ability to communicate cheaply and ubiquitously over the Internet.
    THIS HAS TO STOP. You MUST do SOMETHING to protect my job. EVIL corporations are taking advantage of Americans by using new methods and technology to their advantage. This is not fair.

    Yours truly,
    Slashdot Crowd
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:37PM (#8796423)

    Hilary Rosen [], head of the Powerful Trade Organization for the $15 billion recording industry, is full of contrasts...*snip*

    Fifteen billion?? May I please be next in line to be beleaguered???


  • by MythoBeast ( 54294 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:40PM (#8796485) Homepage Journal
    The rate of sales for music has been increasing considerably faster than the rate of population increase for many years now. It's entirely reasonable that their last sales values exceeded the amount of money that people really felt comfortable spending on music and that, as a country, we've cut back.

    One of the things that a lot of people have been incorrectly assuming is that music sales should react proportially to the economy. This theory doesn't hold true because (even at $15/CD), CD's are something that people can afford one or two of in order to nurse themselves through the disappointment of (for instance) not being able to replace their failing appliances, or remodel their kitchen. It's a small enough expense that people use it as "brain candy", or as consolation spending.

    The drop in music spending may just be because more of us are back at work now, and don't have as much time to moon over the music that we don't have time to purchase.

    P2P trading continues to be a non-issue (and possible a net positive) in the music industrie's income balance, they're just too greedy to realize it.
  • Bundling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:46PM (#8796572) Homepage
    There are extremely few albums with more than a third of the tunes "interesting" (de gustibus non disputandum, of course). IMNSHO most artists do one or at most two hits, and fill the rest of the CD with lameware. I don't mind paying 1$/good tune or even more (Apples' itunes is great in that respect), but don't force lameware down my throat.

    Eventually, on-line music distribution will increase quality, as artists will focus on making a couple excellent songs instead of many lame ones.

  • by jdunlevy ( 187745 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:53PM (#8796672) Homepage

    The 7.6% figure is for Global music sales. The article states that "Global compact disc sales -- the most often cited figure in discussing the health of the industry -- fell 9.1 percent in value in 2003, the IFPI said."

    (Of personal interest to me, since I've <shameless plug>just released single on vinyl []</shameless plug>: "Total sales of singles, including cassettes and vinyl, which have dipped significantly since the Internet file-sharing and CD-burning craze began in the late 1990s, fell 18.7 percent in value terms between 2002 and 2003." It should be noted, though, that quite probably the majority of independent record labels ' sales aren't included in these numbers: IFPI-related releases compete, possibly increasingly, with small independent labels [].)

  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:03PM (#8796808) Homepage
    1/2 of those people couldnt sing their way out of a paper bag, yet that seems to be the kind of "talent" they are looking for...

  • by byoung ( 2340 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:09PM (#8796915)
    I just read in McPaper (USA Today) that Americans, on average, are listening to less music. Something like 198 hours (down from 216). This is especially suspicious since the decrease is similar to the reduced CD sales number.

    Maybe people *just don't like* the music that is being put out, and as a consequence, aren't buying and/or listening to CDs. Maybe they're out having lives. Maybe they are listening to live music.

    Every time I see something like this from the RIAA, it sounds like, "our business plan isn't working! It must be a conspiracy! Piracy on the high seas!"


    Maybe you should produce some music that we want to listen to?

    Maybe you should make it easier to find music we *like*?
  • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:36PM (#8797282)
    As we all know, the recording industry recently got busted for price-fixing or something similar, with the result that they aren't able to charge as much, per CD, now as they did before.

    I would love to see sales volume in units sold, not revenue, and I bet the reason why we haven't seen that is because it doesn't reflect a decrease. Also, I'm so sick of seeing numbers showing net decreases since 1999 - what HASN'T decreased since then, except unemployment?

  • by mac666er ( 591442 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:38PM (#8797317)
    The same topics have been circulating for a while now in slashdot... the pirating, how CD sales are going down and how is DRM to help/fix/damage this...

    I do believe that slashdotters are from all earth citizens... the bunch who are nearer to understanding the problem.

    That is however a problem in itself. Do the average Joe or heck.. do even RIAA or the firms they represent, understand the problem? not at all...

    I am currently a postgraduate student in Economics, and I am writing my dissertation (Thesis) on all of this. Several top schools (Chicago/Harvard) can't even agree by using postgraduate economic measurements if there has been ANY impact of P2P on CD sales.

    What are we to do then? The problem is, as I said, a monstrous amount of misinformation. The all time cliche that we fear what we don't understand is specially true now. Two centuries ago Luddites smashed machines in England to *prevent* technological progress from displacing artisans... and of course, the government supported them... until they needed the machines to combat famine and other economic shocks...

    Is piracy wrong? of course. Are we, users of kazaa and bit torrent, to blame? partly... the other persons responsible to that are the record labels themselves that didn't provide a business model before Napster came along. Had they understood the market.. they would have invested on it ages before and we would be enjoying new technological progress on music.. and later movies and software...But no.. they decided to sit on their comfortable sofas and watch the eternal kingdom of CDs.

    But businesses that forget to watch technological trends are just too many. And we never learn. Of course a natural answer is to use the law or some other means to savage whatever is left of what they don't want to believe, but definately is, a sinking ship... I can safely bet that if Kodak could sue digital camera users they surely would.. that is certainly less expensive than investing tons on R&D and assesing the new tech threat.

    Our children will still be complaining of how a company should stop protecting its old business model instead of promoting innovation. It always happens.

    The answer lies in the record labels themselves.. the CD market is a gonner... they have to provide new ways to entice users to buy content... Did anyone care to buy the same CD even if they had an old vynil record? of course not... Did anyone complain in buying the same DVDs again in order to update your VHS libraries.. of course not... and that is because there is extra value on the new technology... (nonlinear search and extra features anyone?)

    Come up with a new idea to sell content, *that is your job* spend on Research.. and customers wil surely come in droves... just see the i-pod...

    Just my 2 cents...

  • I am never buying a CD again. Ever.

    The RIAA regularly insults my intelligence, and if I want music, then from now on I'll just make it myself.
  • by tassii ( 615268 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @06:11PM (#8797715)
    RIAA claims 7.6% decrease in CD sales, but what were the stats for:
    • Internet Sales
    • Cassette Sales
    • Total Sales
    • Number of new CDs produced
    • The Economy
    I think that once you add all those up, you'll find that there was an actual INCREASE in profits.

    CDs is a medium that is slowly being replaced by mp3s & other digital music players. I would fully expect the sales to drop. Soon, it will be the same as vinyl records.

    Get over it. Move on. The world keeps turning even if you refuse to come along.
  • by eLoco ( 459203 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @06:18PM (#8797789)

    I have purchased more CDs this year than in all other years of my life combined. I attribute that to three things:

    1. Getting an iPod (40GB) - I have this almost inexplicable need to fill it up.
    2. Downloading music - I get to "test drive" music before I buy.
    3. Amazon - indentifying and rating the albums I own leads to some interesting recommendations.
  • by crashnbur ( 127738 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @06:24PM (#8797846)
    Well, almost no impact. According to a new study, "downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero". Monday's NYTimes [] (free registration) describes the study, in which two economists analyzed file-sharing and sales data over a 17-week period in 2002, using "complex mathematical formulas" to determine that "spikes in downloading had almost no discernible effect on sales", and estimating that "it would take 5000 downloads to reduce the sales of an album by one copy". Naturally, some organizations [] disagree []. Also, according to the RIAA's 2003 year end numbers [PDF] [], sales of CD singles were up 84% from 2002, while overall revenue shrunk from $11.55 to $11.05 billion... which makes perfect sense when you consider economic tendencies since 9/11.
  • by mankey wanker ( 673345 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @06:52PM (#8798176)
    "Timberlake helped boost the business in the second half of 2003."

    Is that a fucking joke? That's the problem right there!
  • Some reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @07:07PM (#8798324)
    Here are the reasons I'm not buying as much:

    1. Um, the economy is in a slump, stupid. I'm not spending as much on anything I don't need because I don't want to be caught flat-footed in a layoff the way I was after the crash.

    2. There hasn't been much new music in the last year that I've liked. What I have liked, I actually have bought.

    3. I'm so disgusted by the RIAA that I've made a conscious effort to spend my spare change elsewhere., Barnes and Noble, and Borders have been the primary beneficiaries of this shift. They have these neat-o products called books that provide days and days of quality entertainment for less than the cost of a 74-minute CD. (Lately, for example, I've been rocking out to Ursula K. LeGuin in the cross-platform paperback format.)

    4. CDs are still too expensive. For $15-$20, I expect to see the band live. In fact, I've been patronizing a lot more of the relatively unknown bands that roll through town because they're not regurgitating the same focus-group schlock as the big-name "artists".

    Since four items is a bit much for the RIAA to absorb, let me summarize: "I don't have much money these days, your products suck, and I don't like you."

    Please note that I did not say, "I am downloading MP3s happily," though that's what they will surely hear.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"