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South Korean Music Retailers Dying 568

terrymaster69 writes "According to this Reuters feature, 95% of South Korean music retail businesses have failed in the last year. 'While South Korea is not alone in seeing a downturn, the drop has been greatly accentuated and particularly deep because of the country's high-speed Internet access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated gadgets available.' Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?"
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South Korean Music Retailers Dying

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  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:14AM (#10491050) Homepage
    Did Netcraft confirm it?


  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:16AM (#10491055) Homepage Journal
    This news is enough for RIAA:
    They will start a fresh more intensive drive to put the falling sales on "piracy" and "file sharing"...

    RIAA will portray musicians as starving somalis who have to sell their souls to lawyers to fight for them...

    INDUCE act will be reintroduced by Orrin Hatch and will be passed by 284-0

    • Wait a second, since when were sales falling? The Recording Industry Association of America has no excuse to complain about what happens in Korea, especially since last I heard sales were up here!

      [yes, I know they'll complain anyway -- no need to tell me about it]
  • by polecat_redux ( 779887 ) <spamwich@gmail.EULERcom minus math_god> on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:16AM (#10491056)
    ...Kim Jong Il has gone way too far now. It was one thing when he was developing nuclear weapons (hell, the US didn't seem to care), but now he's killing the South Korean recording industry? For shame.
  • let's see... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zxflash ( 773348 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:16AM (#10491060) Homepage
    the industry chose litigation over innovation...

    i think we know how this one ends...
    • It ends with the lawyers owning everything?
    • Re:let's see... (Score:3, Interesting)

      actually no, the industry in korea doesn't have that kind of power. what actually is happening is that people are using streaming music to build playlists and they're not buying CDs. Streaming music providers such as bugs music has 14 million subscribers, SK has 41 million people. Streaming music is also Audio ON Demand, pick songs and it will build you a playlist that you can save and retrieve. Its fucking awesome man, my gf and I haven't bought a CD in years. There's just no point.

      the troubling aspect in
    • In South Korea? Did they? I've seen stories about US record labels suing their 'customers,' and I've seen some stories about European and Canadian record companies suing their 'customers,' but I've never read anything about South Korean record companies doing the same.

      Do you know something I don't?

      I put customers up there in quotes because, although I know it's an unpopular viewpoint to take on /., I think the record companies are perfectly within their right to sue people who illegally distribute mater
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:18AM (#10491064) Homepage
    Music retailers are middlemen. They add exactly no value to the merchandise they sell. So when you make distribution cheap and easy (like buying direct on Amazon, or Itunes, etc), OF COURSE the middlemen are going to suffer. Thus is the nature of structure unemployment [].
    • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:52AM (#10491188) Homepage
      I don't know about you but I *LIKE* going around a music store and browsing. Whats the alternative , driving for an hour to the warehouse and climbing over the shelves? Not everyone likes mailorder and lets face it , online retail is nothing more than an electronic sears catalogue that my granny used to buy her knickers from 3 decades ago. I *LIKE* shops , and for some geek like you to say they add no value shows how out of touch you are with a large percentage of humanity.
      • by mrscorpio ( 265337 ) <twoheadedboy AT stonepool DOT com> on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:00AM (#10491215)
        What "value" do you get from a record store except for touching the plastic? You can see the art, hear samples (can't always do this at a record store), get poignant recommendations (I haven't seen a record store in years with more than one knowledgeable employee outside of college genres), and a cheaper price online. The only thing I haven't seen replicated online is the arrogant hipster at the counter scoffing at you because you're not buying some obscure Pavement bootleg. Oh wait, that's called a message board.

        It's great that you like shops, but when it comes to music, "shops" are an anachronism.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jschottm ( 317343 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:05AM (#10491235)
      Quality shops deliver quite a bit of value. The staff of the two local indy shops know me by name and taste. They offer quality suggestions (far better than anything Amazon ever has) and even set aside stuff that comes in that they think I'll like. They offer information about area shows and often sponsor them.

      They're doing better than the shops in the article, but they've definately taken a bad hit from piracy and the online box houses.
    • they do add value. They present the cd or album in a store near where you live where you are able to purchase it. That is a value. Although, now it's a value that is worth less than it used to be.
  • by JimMarch(equalccw) ( 710249 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:18AM (#10491066)
    I used to work for Personics.

    Late 1980s they worked out a way to allow people to have professionally made audio tapes made up out of whatever single tracks they wanted from a large catalog. It involved a CD jukebox with compression that allowed cutting audio tapes at 8x or so - a 60 minute tape would run out in 10 minutes or less and all the gear to do this was at the record shop.

    Detailed auditing tracked per-song revenue and royalties.

    The music business deliberately killed this off in order to max out full album sales. et .music.idg/

    In this and a ton of other ways, they crippled innovation.

    They're now paying the price.
    • There was another system that made CDs like that in the early 90s. I met a guy who worked at one of the shops where they were running the trial.

      He alleges that the trial failed as there was rampant abuse and piracy committed by the employees including himself.

      They would have paid the price regardless. They just wanted to slow down the effects.

    • But the record companies AREN'T paying the price, only retailers. The record companies are making record (no pun intended) profits from online sales (as someone mentioned from mail-order physical media like Amazon or pure-digital purchases like iTunes); more sophisticated than ever music-concert-advertising-movie-product marketing tie-ins; the most agressive royalty-seeking efforts ever; etc. The RECORD COMPANIES are not hurting... yet.

      The reason they scream over the loss of physical retails or new technol
  • 0 + 0 = 0 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PHPgawd ( 744675 )
    Say what you want about file sharing, about whether its unstoppable, inevitable, etc. etc. The bottom line is that it takes the money out of music, leaving both big evil record companies and stuggling artists with no money.

    Are "professional" song writers that make their primary living as artists a thing of the past? If South Korea is any indication, the answer is YES...

    • Re:0 + 0 = 0 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by klaasb ( 523629 )
      Here is South Korea artist still make a good living, I guess they just have to get there money from somewhere else.
      Concerts, performances, etc. etc.

      Mozart never sold a single record in his lifetime, nor did Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, etc. etc.
      • Re:0 + 0 = 0 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:41AM (#10491156) Homepage
        Mozart never sold a single record in his lifetime, nor did Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, etc. etc.

        If you want to go back to the patronage model, please, feel free to stump up the money to do so yourself.

        You might want to learn how classical musicians were paid. Although it sounds like you might be surprised to find out that yes, indeed, they were paid.
        • Re:0 + 0 = 0 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:12AM (#10491264)
          We can go back to the patronage model. In fact, unsigned bands already use it! Their patrons are the fans who pay to see their concerts, buy their T-shirts, and/or donate to them via their website. It's distributed patronage, but patronage nonetheless. Which makes sense, really, considering that back in the day there were no free distribution methods to get music to the masses like there are now.

          Besides, there's also folk music and street performers -- it's not as if we'll somehow be deprived of culture, even if every professional musician on the planet never made another cent.
          • by bwy ( 726112 )
            Besides, there's also folk music and street performers

            Yeah, my girlfriend and I were heading out for dinner and a concert, but I'll let her know that after dinner we'll be sitting on the street listening to a panhandler play the spoons.
        • Re:0 + 0 = 0 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:13AM (#10491267)
          If you want to go back to the patronage model, please, feel free to stump up the money to do so yourself.

          Why? There is nothing inherently wrong with patronage model, its merely different and more appropriate for arts then the "assembly line/distributor/widget sales" model. Unlike the latter, the former does not require treating information as it were physical property with all of the logic/legal nonsense that approach produces (all the way down to ownership of DNA sequences). Instead, artists/scientists get paid and the resulting art/science/information is for all to share. The only thing to work out is the mechanisms for patronage. Remember, art is not business or "industry" (a most annoying lie). It is a way for an artists to express himself/herself. The commercial side-effects are just that, and might not occur at all in many cases, it is no accident that many artists before this kitsch-mass-production nonsense were indeed working at other jobs. Ever heard of a "starving artiste"? I cant believe people have become so brainwashed by the media moguls to believe otherwise.

          • Remember, art is not business or "industry" (a most annoying lie).

            No, *art* isn't, but Britney and Justin are an industry just like hamburgers. So there could be a bright side to the imminent death of the industry :-)

    • The main reason that I don't pirate music is not that it's illegal or that it's the subject of rigged legal action, but because "popular" music is crap. Same with movies. I was offered a free viewing of Catwoman and I refused based on the artistic quality of the movie, not because of the legallity or otherwise of the offer. I'm surprised that music stores aren't failing at this rate all over the world.
  • by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:23AM (#10491083) Journal
    Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?

    Well, much depends on if you are a Korean music retailer or not.

    • mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vicsun ( 812730 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:29AM (#10491305)
      This is more insightful than it is funny. As long as I'm not directly hurt by X, X is an innovation and A Good Thing(tm). When X becomes harmful it quickly becomes a problem.

      A fun exercise left to the reader:
      1. Substitute X = filesharing
      2. Substitute X = outsourcing

      /awaits to be modded troll/flamebait
  • It's really a simple thing. The traditional music industry has been a bunch of middle men that get the product from musician to consumer, on the bizarre premise that consumers don't actually want to see the band perform, but would rather be able to listen to a stale, overproduced, overedited piece of music from a CD or cassette.

    Consumers, rightly so, don't see a whole lot of value here anymore. If they want a stale, overproduced piece of music, they download it from the internet or listen to the radio.


    • "...Check out, for example, the Asylum Street Spankers...."

      This sounds disconcertingly like a product of the band name generator []

    • "The value will be in watching a skilled set of musicians perform together. "

      Err no. The bands I listen to hardly ever come to my country. Am I supposed to book a flight to go see them in the few hours I get free in an evening? Or am I suppose to spend 4 hours over my dial up link to download their album so depreving them of money and me tying up my phone line?

      Sorry pal , I'd sooner pay the $20 for a CD (and unless you're some tight fisted student $20 is NOT a lot of money) and listen to it in the comfo
    • by Mant ( 578427 )

      Listening to a studio album is very different thing from watching a live gig. I love live gigs, but they are not way interchangable with listening to an album, which is vastly more convenient.

      Watching artists perfom and listening to their albums are complementary things (for the vast majority of people), not somehow in opposition. People don't get an album instead of seeing a gig, or vice versa.

      What is more, if I'm listening to music at home/work/car/walking around I'll take the studio album almost ever

  • by ahfoo ( 223186 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:24AM (#10491087) Journal
    But I think the intriguing part is not the situation in Korea itself as much as the reaction to it in the US.
    I just read in Business Week that the US slipped from number three --I'm pretty sure we're talking raw numbers rather than percentages-- to number ten in global broadband rankings. It's not altogether impossible that this decline is going to get worse rather than better in the near term.
    And if it doesn't, if something like Wi-Max suddenly turns things around, then it could be even more interesting. Let's hope it's the latter rather than the former. But even then, there would be reprecussions for a rather large number of corporations beyond just music.
    • I just read in Business Week that the US slipped from number three --I'm pretty sure we're talking raw numbers rather than percentages-- to number ten in global broadband rankings. It's not altogether impossible that this decline is going to get worse rather than better in the near term.

      Of course it's going to get worse, and here's a few reasons why the US isn't #1 in broadband.

      1.) We aren't "fortunate" enough to have something like 75% of our population in a 100sq km area (Seoul).

      2.) While broadband p
  • same old story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i88i ( 720935 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:24AM (#10491088)
    in my town, the old horse & cart transports have died out too. Is this because of high-speed road access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated automobiles available?

    Or is it just because there is a better way of doing things?

    Old industries die and new ones come along. Of course the dying industries aren't happy about it, but the only way is forward...
    • in my town, the old horse & cart transports have died out too. Is this because of high-speed road access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated automobiles available?

      Or is it just because there is a better way of doing things?

      The difference being that driving a car instead of using a horse and buggy isn't illegal, whereas illegally copying music is.
      • >The difference being that driving a car instead
        >of using a horse and buggy isn't illegal,
        >whereas illegally copying music is.

        So you are suggesting that we should make the cars illegal to protect the important and ancient trades of cart making and horse farming?

        I don't know, perhaps people will find enough uses to keep horses around even when they are not needed as a primary form of transportation.
        Perhaps it could even become a sport, you know, a bit of a recreational thing for people to do - hor
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:27AM (#10491097)
    I like the hard statistics they give, they sound very precise and credible.

    "About 95 percent of music retail businesses in the country have failed in the last five years."

    "Since the launch of these sites, domestic CD sales have nose-dived by nearly 50 percent."

    And they come from a credible unbiased source.

    "It was two years ago when Seoul music store owner Jang Kyung-hee"

    Personally, I'd like to see percentages of CD sales broken down by speciality music stores, big box stores (whatever is their equivalent of Walmart), local online shopping malls, and foreign shopping malls (such as iTunes). There are many factors that could be affecting these stats.

  • by johnnywheeze ( 792148 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:27AM (#10491100)
    Let's see I can:

    1. Get in my car, drive through traffic to get to the mall, find parking, and then go to my retail music store.

    2. Once there, I can manually browse the racks for a while in hopes that the cd I want is there.

    3. If there, I can now buy it for $14

    4. If not there, I can ask the salesman to order it for me, or just come back next week.

    5. Drive back home, through traffic, and put said CD in my player. Hopefully it will work also on my computer without any DRM scheme in the way.


    I can

    1. Not leave the house, and sit at my computer in my bathrobe.

    2. Search for a song online, from as many bands as I want and know that they're there. And only get the songs I want, not being forced to buy the whole album.

    3. Download said music, in a fraction of the time it would take to drive anywhere.

    4. Listen to it on every one of my music devices

    5. Pay or not pay for it as I see fit.

    Hmmm... I'm thinking this new-fangled music download thing goes in the "trend" category.
    • fondling bjork (Score:4, Interesting)

      by poptones ( 653660 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @06:11AM (#10491430) Journal
      I haven't been to a theater, paid for tv, or even subscribed to a magazine in years. I maintain multiple usenet accounts and regularly have to refresh them before the month has run out. Keep this in mind as I defend NOT taking the download approach.

      Bjork has a new CD out. Now, I dearly love bjork. You could quite honestly say I am a "fan" - you could even say I am somewhat obsessed with her work. And I have multiple usenet accounts which I frequently employ so as to keep up with my favorite tv shows (bad reception and rural living means tivo is useless to me). It would be trivial to add a pretty high quality rip of bjork's latest CD to my download folder. However:

      I don't have a jacket to fondle - with that cool picture of her nearly topless and wearing what looks almost like S&M gear. Is there more inside? I don't know.

      Her latest release is actually a DVD with 5.1 sound, two channel PCM sound, and video interviews. While I might be able to download all this stuff as a high quality ISO of the DVD (which would cost me a large percentage of the bandwidth I pay ten bucks a month for), if I do so I still...

      I don't have the liner notes to read as I listen, nor do I have the satisfaction of knowing I gave Bjork my further support in the only way I can (at least until she realizes I'm alive and comes to live with me forever in my modest country home) - by giving her some money.

      And so my download experience becomes significantly less fulfilling than were I to order the meatspace stuff and wait for its delivery. While there's a small chance I might not like the release at all, the fact is I "just want it because it's Bjork." And, as they say, it's never like the first time again.

      So, I go to, fill out a form, and wait...

  • Uncopyable Bits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:29AM (#10491102) Homepage Journal
    "Trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet. The
    sooner people accept this, and build business models that take this into
    account, the sooner people will start making money again."
    -- Bruce Schneier

    From TFA: "These days, cellphone handset sales are the biggest source of profit for us," Jang said.

    So they have realized.

    But then: ``the future of music retailers looks particularly bleak since they also face cut-throat competition from online shopping malls.''

    Well, looks like their business model is too last century. That's how the cookie crumbles. Innovate or degrade.
    • Re:Uncopyable Bits (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:44AM (#10491165)
      Well, looks like their business model is too last century. That's how the cookie crumbles. Innovate or degrade.

      When evolving marketplace dynamics make the RIAA business model unprofitable, that's just fine with slashdotters.

      When evolcing marketplace dynamics make it unprofitable to hire programmers in the U.S., slashdotters are up in arms, demanding government intervention.

      Hmm, I wonder why the discrepancy?
      • Re:Uncopyable Bits (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:33AM (#10493477)
        Hmm, I wonder why the discrepancy?

        • Slashdotters have not been convicted of price fixing
        • They do not sue software lovers for sharing code
        • They did not lobby the government for DMCA laws or INDUCE bills to protect the software business
        • They are smart enough not to sign contracts that construe them as endentured slavery and rape them of earnings by inflating expenses against their account

  • "...the drop has been greatly accentuated and particularly deep because of the country's high-speed Internet access and a youth culture that uses some of the most sophisticated gadgets available.' Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?"

    There are two explanations for such a severe drop in music purchases: either their consumption of music is being replaced with their consumption of the other sophisticated gadgets, or (as I think was implied) the piracy* rates are extrordinarily high.

  • Adaptation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mirko ( 198274 )
    If "95% of the music retailers have failed", it could be because of foreign concurrence or simply because there were 20 x too many of them.
    anyway, the FUD part of this announcement should also be considered.
    I know which conclusions people want us to draw.
  • After all, why not? :)
  • by Basje ( 26968 ) <> on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:32AM (#10491120) Homepage
    People listen more and more music through small portable [mp3|ogg|wma|whatever]players, and not directly from a cd player anymore. Thus cds need to be converted to a format that can be listened to. With copy protected cds that is impossible, or at least harder than downloading. The cds aren't usable anymore, so they're not bought.

    In high tech countries like Korea and Japan, this is felt first. In more countries this effect will be noticed soon, I expect.

    • Oh come on now (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theantix ( 466036 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:06AM (#10491242) Journal
      You must be living in a dream world. South Korea is widely known to be the world's leader in p2p filesharing. It only makes sense that the content middleman industries would suffer as a result of that, copy protection or not. Why pay for what you can get for free, especially when the practice is so commonplace that it's not considered "bad"?

      Unless you can show that a higher percentage of South Korean CDs are copy protected compared with North America or Europe, you've got no argument.
  • by henele ( 574362 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:32AM (#10491122) Homepage
    Although the Korean retail business is miniture in comparison to Japan's (page 13 of this document []), you've got to consider things like the ring-back, or caller-tune market (explained here [] and here []) which have quickly grown into a $100 million market [], showing that if you move in tune with technology you can make profits...
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:35AM (#10491136) Homepage Journal
    "CD sales at Jang's Mihwadang Records, once one of the 10 biggest music retail chains in the country, dropped by two-thirds in just two years. Jang now devotes more shelf space to digital appliances, including MP3 players or mobile phones."

    I bet Jang isn't forcing his customers to buy the vinyl that they used to need to replace after scratching them, either. If only the record labels would stop fighting voluntary blanket licenses for song sharing, that they allow for lucrative radio royalties, they might survive to distribute content to Jang's new wares. But it looks like instead they're just roadkill on the Infobahn.
  • Impossible To Tell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:36AM (#10491137) Journal
    Personally I think it's a natural progression, and I'm sure a lot of the /. folks will agree. The RIAA (or fill in the acronym of the one for your country) will of course believe it's definitive proof that the evil downloaders (tm) are the cause. The truth? Who knows.

    I mean that seriously too. Pretty much all the studies that have shown that downloaders don't buy more music were sponsored by the RIAA or the companies doing them had it in their best interest to get results that would make the RIAA member companies happy. Whether the results are accurate or not is irrelevant, when there's potential for bias you have to look at them as possibly incorrect. On the other side many of the folks who have found the opposite are sometimes motivated to want that result, or at least the RIAA will claim so. In some cases they're right, in others they're not but it's hard to always know which are which so you have to treat most of those as possibly incorrect.

    What's that leave us? I bunch of wasted time to produce studies that we have to be skeptical of. Frankly we'll never really know the answer, we'd need alternate universes/timelines to experiment in to really come anywhere near proving it either way. Even then I wouldn't be surprised if we could prove both camps right, but it'd only apply in those alternate universes/timelines.

    What IS definite is that music sales are down, downloading is at least steady if not growing and lawsuits flying right and left have had no real effect on those download numbers. Frankly it should be obvious to everyone that something is going to have to change to fix this. Perhaps compulsury licensing is the answer, perhaps something new we've not heard of is (DRM isn't going to stop it though), but whatever the answer is pointing fingers and trying to place blame (on both sides) will not help find it. Granted the RIAA seems to be the worst offender here, but /. alone has its share of "information wants to be free, no one should pay for music" supporters.

    It'd be nice to see everyone to just sit down and find a solution, unfortunately the RIAA is probably the least likely to take part so a solution is likely still far away.

    • (DRM isn't going to stop it though),

      Speaking of DRM, DRM does stop CD sales. There are some market droids research that show otherwise with a DRM'ed CD outselling the rest on the shelf, but theat droid failed to measure the chilling effect of DRM overall.

      I don't want to buy a broken CD. Nobody does. Knowing that the supply chain is polluted has mostly ended my shopping in stores. Now before purchase, I have to know if the title is free from problems. This has almost completely killed the hear it in
    • ...definitive proof that the evil downloaders (tm) are the cause. The truth? Who knows.

      The downloaders most definately are the cause, but they're not evil.

      Frankly it should be obvious to everyone that something is going to have to change to fix this

      Ultimately, there are only 3 possible solutions:

      1. Compulsory licensing: the government institutes an "entertainment tax" to subsidize musicians [this is what you suggested]. Potential problem: how does the government determine which musicians deserve the sub
  • Cheaper online (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <> on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:36AM (#10491138) Homepage
    "Now many die-hard music fans who were our loyal customers moved to such Web sites where they could buy what they want more easily at a cheaper price."

    Good god, how awful of our loyal customers to abandon our stores for the same product sold cheaper and with less hassle elsewhere. Let's hope the government bails out our failing model of selling.

    So the answer is simple, make it easier and cheaper for people to buy in your store than online...or face bankruptcy.

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:41AM (#10491153) Journal
    Is this really a problem or just a natural progression?
    I think it's perfectly natural. If I have a good Internet connection and an Ipod, should I get my music
    - in a store, where they might not carry what I am looking for, or the CD I want is out of stock, where I have to ask the store clerk for every single CD I'd like to listen to, and where those same clerks often are distinctly un-knowledgable about music.
    - or, on the Internet, where I can buy music legally by the song (and at a better price as well), where they pretty much carry everything on-line, and where I can browse to my heart's content without leaving my house?

    It was bound to happen, and it's only natural that the first business to be affected is the one dealing in stuff that is essentially non-physical. I think other retailers must be beginning to feel the on-line competition as well... on line purchasing is way up for physical goods suchs as toys, clothes and electronics, and these are all purchases taken away from physical shops.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If thats natural progression, then outsourcing is a natural progression too...
  • by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @04:42AM (#10491160)
    Serious music won't. I don't know anyone who uses downloading/P2P for classical or jazz. There are a lot of smaller labels out there that do a very good, serious, professional job of packaging their CDs for a discerning audience; and a lot of discerning people who buy their stuff. That's why chains like Harmonia Mundi [] in France are doing fine. As Harmonia Mundi's founder Bernard Coutaz points out [] (scroll to bottom), the audience is there and growing, and concert goers regularly buy CDs: it's the big labels who are failing to reach out to such customers. Me, I'm happy if the generic Tower Records crashes and burns, give me the small guy who actually knows his stuff. As for South Korea, dunno -- maybe they don't have enough of a market for that kind of thing, they're dominated by the MTV crowd?
    • Follow up: a better link [] to Coutaz's comments. Basically he says that concert audiences are growing, a large number of them are young people, they buy CDs at concerts, yet sales at stores are falling; this is because the big guys are not interested in marketing classical music. I'd say, let the big guys die. Except that they're sitting on warehouses of classic, irreplaceable recordings by departed and living icons of the 20th century, and if they die, a large fraction of world culture dies with them...
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:02AM (#10491221) Homepage
    Something a lot of the rich techno geeks on this forum forget is that not everyone has a PC (I'm speaking generally , not just about Korea), never mind broadband. Just because YOU can download a whole album in 5 minutes onto your top of range PC then download it into the iPod mummy and daddy bought for your birthday doesn't mean everyone has that option. For some people a cheap CD ghetto blaster is as good as it gets and I know some people who still listen to tapes.

    So how about some people move out of this bleedin edge mindset and realise that not everyone on this planet is part of the wired generation.
  • by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:04AM (#10491232) Homepage Journal
    ... and although that is admittedly a long time ago, at least 95% of the music I saw on sale was in the form of copied cassettes with shoddilly photocopied covers.

    In fact I still have two of these tapes going strong now (and before anyone whines about me being a pirate, I also own legitimate copies thereof).

    Now, I don't know whether it was just the shops I was going to, but it seemed there was a cultural predilection for fake stuff - which is just being amplified heavily by the ease of broadband access.

  • by Grimster ( 127581 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:34AM (#10491324) Homepage
    I have a feeling that my feelings are likely felt by many Koreans and people just about everywhere. That feeling is that I just ain't paying $18 for a CD. It isn't WORTH $18 to me to listen to the VAST majority of music out there. It's simply overpriced. Instead I'll listen to the digital music channel I get as part of my cable subscription, the radio, or I may even soon get Sirius or XM radio as well.

    I love music, I listen to lots of it, but I just can't bring myself to believe that $15 - $18 is a fair price for a CD of music, by ANYONE, I can count on one hand, maybe both, the number of CDs or cassettes (or records) that I own that I would listen to and think "hell yeah this is WORTH $18" and the rest are simply worth less and most if I had to buy them AGAIN for the retail price (that I paid for OH so many of them) I wouldn't repurchase them, no way.

    I can go buy "most" new movies for $14.99 a few go $19.99 but as a rule of thumb I can pick up a movie for about $15 or I can rent it for $2 (actually I use Netflix religiously). This, to me, is a good enough deal that I buy quite a few movies, and rent quite a few more (via Netflix). Pirating movies to me is an absurd thought, why spend hours and hours downloading a crappy copy when I can just Netflix it? The same for music, if I could pick up a CD for $7-$9 I wouldn't bother pirating it it'd be WORTH it to me to get the pretty insert and a "real copy" of it. Alternatively I feel like 99 cents per track of music is a bit high too, your average CD is around 10-15 tracks and that makes some CDs more expensive to buy online than in the store, I've yet to buy a single song of online music, and probably won't unless it gets cheaper. When it hits about a quarter per song, maybe 50 cents, then I'll probably buy into it. Hey it probably never will, and I won't buy any music online, life goes on I suppose.

    I put a "personal price point" on music at about $8 per cd. I hop on and pick up used CDs for $2-$7 all the time, I've bought dozens and dozens. I'll PAY that for a CD rather than pirate it, gladly. I support the artists by going to their concerts, and by listening to their music and by telling others "hey check out..." but I'm growing increasingly pissed off at the price of CDs and I haven't bought a CD off the shelf in... hmm 2 years now? Maybe more.

    I for one will shed nary a tear to hear that the RIAA and the "big music" companies are hurting, evolution happens to us all. Better things come along, new ways of doing things, faster, cheaper, ways of doing things, and you adapt or die. Hello RIAA, meet the Dodo.
    • by xylix ( 447915 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:37AM (#10493533)
      I am not Korean either, but I have spent a few years working for and with Koreans, and teaching large numbers of Korean students. A lot of the posts here seem to be trying to make some parallel between music stores dying in Korea and the situation (or laws) in Western countries. I don't think that is valid. I am no Korean expert, but my impression from my bosses / coworkers is that this 'problem' of dying music stores is just evidence of the fact that EVERYONE in the country is pirating everything.

      OK, that may be a bit over the top, but my point is they do things different. I used to be a director at a small language school in Toronto []. Once or twice a month I would need up-to-date information on student enrollment etc - information kept in the database. but the school only had a licence for 3 copies, already used by the General Manager, admissions officer and receptionist. So once a month I would ask the (Korean) GM to email me a spreadsheet of the relevant info. Each time I would have to explain that I can no see the database since I don't have Access on my computer. And each time she would tell me "just install it". And each time I would explain to her about having 3 licences and how this is not done in legit businesses. Every frickin' month! same stuff. When they needed graphic software ... they asked someone to give them a copy. I explained about how software purchases would be legitimate business expenses and could be written off. But the GM seemed incredulous - for her EVERYONE copied. There was no point in paying money for software, even if it could be written off.

      The Korean student were mostly in their early to mid twenties and they had a similar mindset. I remember mentioning a new CD I bought of some band I really like. A half dozen Korean student agreed I was stupid since I could probably download it. Just to be clear I am not saint. i have 50 GB of music on my hard drive and not all of it is ripped from CDs I own. Likewise, not all of my software has been purchased. But a lot has, and I will gladly shell out the money for a CD of a band I really like. (Say the upcoming U2 one.) But I strongly feel businesses should not be blatantly pirating.

      I played devil's advocate with a group of Korean students. They said I could just download any music. I said it was a kind of stealing since the artists don't get paid. A few of the girls just DIDN'T GET THIS! (All the guys did.) Their response was always "well everyone does it, so it is OK."

      My impression is that copying / pirating music and software is FAR more rampant in Korea than in my country (Canada). And this is more a matter of culture than access to high speed internet. From young people to business people, it is just standard operating procedure to use a copy, and not make a purchase.

      On a totally different note ... I am now living in japan where it is LEGAL to rent CDs and make your own copy. The video shops do a brisk business in CD rentals. I think this is banned in Canada and the US. Seems like forward thinking on the part of the Japanese music companies. People want to borrow music and make copies - why not make it easy and get them to pay for the privilage. I copied over 100 CDs this way.

  • by carcosa30 ( 235579 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @05:38AM (#10491336)
    In Other News, the Horse Trough Industry Association moved today to criminalize the use of the automobile.

    "Automobiles are infernal machines that stink, make noise and are cutting into our bottom line," Christopher Fisk, barrister for HTIA, said earlier this afternoon.

    HTIA is pressing legislation to impose tough penalties on non-horsetrough users.
  • by baadfood ( 690464 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @06:18AM (#10491451)
    Dan. If it isnt some variant of the bird flu its a mysterious fatal malady suffered by music retail store execs!

    When will the horror end?

  • Fare dodging (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:54AM (#10492131) Homepage Journal
    Piracy isn't theft, as you aren't taking anything. It is, however, akin to fare dodging (off peak). If you dont buy a train ticket, the train will still run. It doesn't cost anyone anything extra (the added fuel needed because of your addedmass is negligable).

    Trouble is, if everyone does it, the train doesnt make any money and then it wont run. Everyone loses.

    Of course, some trains will still run out peaoples love of driving trains, but theres no guarentee it wil go when and where you need it.
  • by quintessencesluglord ( 652360 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:19AM (#10492329)
    Keep in mind S. Korea is a relatively new democracy. I can point out Kwangju Diary as a flashpoint in its evolution, and you can see how things have pretty much progressed from there. What does this have to do with music retailers dying out? Well, look at the S Korean release of The Cult's "Love", and you'll note the song "Revolution" is missing. It was banned by the government. However, the song is freely available online. As well as a bunch of other songs, news, and info. You can't keep people in the dark if they don't want to be. If you want that song, what is your source? Congratulations, you just broke the copyright by working your way around an artificial control. The situation with the RIAA/copyright isn't much different. Putting aside the whole copyright issue, it becomes a simple case of supply and demand. You have an infinite supply on P2P networks, and a worldwide demand of internet users. How is this so fucking hard to understand? You either integrate with the standing technology or you die. You can't stand on your molehill and demand all the technology be revised to suit your specific demands (well, unless you got one damn good lobbying group). Put the onus on the content providers. Let them come up with their uncrackable format. Let them come up with their proprietary players. Hell, let them come up with there own internet. See how long they last. You want music on the web? You want music in a digital format? Well, you're gonna have to compromise. Just don't expect everyone else to be stupid enough to buy in to your outrage over file sharing compared to their outrage of paying $18 a pop. And try getting a copy of Ratticus past US customs. Information does indeed want to be free.
  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:04AM (#10492705)
    South Korean Music Retailers Dying

    I've got to admit - I thought this was going to be a story about hitmen wacking small business owners in some new untraceable way that made it look like natural causes.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.