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Media Businesses The Almighty Buck

A Bleak Future For Physical Media Purchases? 269

KevReedUK writes "The folks at ZDNet are eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media music sales. They refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing (albeit at a reduced rate). Their central argument is that 'the music industry was pillaged by piracy and competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games ... [2007] marked the lowest tally and the steepest decline since Nielsen began publishing estimates based on point-of-sales data in 1993, a Nielsen representative said. The peak year in that time was 2000, when sales reached 785 million units.'"
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A Bleak Future For Physical Media Purchases?

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  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:29PM (#21927070) Homepage
    Spend $18.99 on a cd or spend all of 18 minutes on bittorrent. Hmmm wonder what a young person of today would choose?
    • by huckamania ( 533052 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:37PM (#21927164) Journal
      Ya'd think they would drop the price to something reasonable, like $9.99. The cost of the disk is almost nothing. Still, you can join their stupid clubs and get 8 albums for a penny. I don't think you even need to use your real.

      I think the real cause for the drop in sales is that the music stinks and the same artists keep pumping out the same crud.
      • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:03PM (#21927392)

        "Ya'd think they would drop the price to something reasonable, like $9.99. The cost of the disk is almost nothing."

        As I covered in another post, the going rate for CDs is about $9.99. Prices have indeed dropped. They were in the $18 range about five years ago, but due to piracy, competition from other forms of entertainment, etc. etc. they've dropped significantly.

        Despite material costs being below $1.50, it's still the case that record companies make pretty thin margins on CD sales relative to margins in other industries. I know this will probably boggle many people who read this, but there's a huge gulf between BOM cost and cost of sale. All of the record companies' expenses (salaries, promotions, overhead, etc. etc.) must come out of the sale of that CD. The biggest piece of the pie, believe it or not, is usually the royalties.

        There are plenty of reasons to justify piracy. Actually, it's my long-held belief that you need no justification... if you'd rather have something for free than pay for it, then go for it. It's not like you need to make somebody else a bad guy to justify your actions. But "CDs cost $18" certainly isn't a good justification (as it is a lie), nor is "a CD costs almost nothing to produce" -- another lie. As covered in my other post, we don't like it when the record companies lie about pirates to demonize their behavior... so why stoop to their level?

        "I think the real cause for the drop in sales is that the music stinks and the same artists keep pumping out the same crud."

        Another common belief, but the sad reality is that most music has always stunk. Browsing the historical Billboard charts will quickly reveal this. Record companies have always pushed what will sell, with actual quality being an afterthought. The big difference between today and, say, 1973 (when the year's #1 single was Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Tie A Yellow Ribbon") is that today, with just a few clicks, we can get just about anything we want for free.

        The top five most pirated tracks last week were from Alicia Keys, Fergie, Soulja Boy, Daughtry and somebody called "Baby Bash." The ability to get music for free has not improved our collective taste in music -- we still want that cruddy music; the difference is that we no longer have to pay for it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by garcia ( 6573 )
          I guess I'm buying the wrong CDs. I have never seen CD prices above about $12.99 and I've lived in PA, OH, and MN over the last 15 years that I've remembered buying CDs so it's not like it was a regional thing.

          I don't typically buy music online or in physical stores as what I listen to (for the most part) is available for free online (Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, etc, etc, etc, etc) but I have been using Amazon's MP3 store for other shit that's Indie like Blonde Redhead's album
          • by shark72 ( 702619 )

            "So I really want to know where these $19 CDs are and why I can't find them -- do they really exist or are Slashbotters just making that number up to cement their idea that RIAA sponsored music is horrid (like we didn't know already)?"

            I think you may have meant to reply to the GP, not my post (I, too, corrected the GP on his assertation that CDs are $18.99).

            Disproving it is easy -- just browse the Amazon Top 100 or take a look at prices at a major retailer. I think that "CDs are $20" is just one of th

          • prices of music (Score:3, Informative)

            by falconwolf ( 725481 )

            So I really want to know where these $19 CDs are and why I can't find them

            Out of curiosity, it's been years since I last bought any music (and I don't pirate music either, I just don't listen to music much anymore), I searched Amazon music for Norah Jones []. On the first of three pages there are two albums, vinyl LP records, that are $30. Barnes and Noble has the list price of her "Come Away With Me" [] as $19, as is "Not Too Late" [], and The Little Willies" [].

            I picked Norah Jones because the last CDs I bou

        • by gsslay ( 807818 )
          Look, stop talking about facts when what people are venting here is justifications.

          "I download off torrents because CDs just keep getting more expensive and it's not fair!" = Justification flying in the face of the facts. By my reckoning CDs are nearly 30% cheaper than 10 years ago.

          "CDs cost nothing to produce and are cheaper to make than ever." = Justification flying in the face of facts. Not to mention pretty irrelevant. CDs are priced according to the market dynamics, just like any other commodity. H
        • Music CDs cost upwards of $20 in Canada for some reason.
          • The same reason that tires for my car would have cost me $800+ in Canada, but I got them for $550 in the US. Namely, most things are more expensive in Canada. I'm guessing here, but if our personal level of taxation is anything to go by, the companies are probably getting raped too and passing the cost on to customers.
            • The odd thing is that due to the strong CAD vs. weak USD the prices in Canada should come down due to decreased cost of importing. But it hasn't happened yet.

              We don't even have the shipping excuse that European imports from the US have (crossing an ocean). There is absolutely no logical reason for prices to be higher in Canada anymore except, perhaps, for increased costs due to border crossings. Which, while the costs are real, is still bullshit since those borders are entirely territorial (ie: line of chal
              • by ODiV ( 51631 )
                There is absolutely no logical reason for prices to be higher in Canada anymore...

                Except the really obvious one.
            • by abigor ( 540274 )
              Actually, Canada has some of the lowest corporate taxes in the western world, along with Sweden (yes, Sweden). Our high prices are a bit mysterious for sure, but it's probably due to a combination of "shipping costs" and a basic lack of competition.
        • is that today, with just a few clicks, we can get just about anything we want for free.

          While free certainly does have its appeal, I think removing the word free tells an even more important story.

          Doing research on exactly what songs you want takes time. Creating play lists, ripping to an audio format, and then storing them on a media player takes time. If a record label is going to give people a mechanism to get exactly what people want rather than what people want plus 6-8 songs people don't, then most people are going to go the single song route.

          I can think of at least two reasons to

          • by Omestes ( 471991 )
            Not many, from what I noticed. The only modern concept albums off the top of my head are by The Mars Volta. The rest seem to be just a random collection of singles (though the new Nine Inch Nails album comes kinda close). Though some bands do like their CDs to have a them, which wouldn't work well with release one of two tracks whenever, some of the modern stuff by Tool is like this, it wouldn't stand alone to well, as well as some of the "post-rock" bands, like Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

            I don't collec
          • I've not listened to a lot of pop music lately, but it seems to me that album concepts are fewer and fewer. There were advantages to getting Alan Parson's Project I, Robot, Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Are there any albums concepts being sold today (regardless of whether you like the music listed above)?

            While a couple of years old, I would suggest Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age. In addition to songs there is audio on the album that would make you think you are in the car listening to the radio and flipping channels. While I could listen to most of those songs stand alone, I do like to hear the complete album with the little extras.

        • by Xelios ( 822510 )
          Personally, I can't wait for the music industry to disintigrate. I hope it happens soon. Rather than try to justify downloading I'm going to explain what it's done for me.

          5 years ago (that would be around the end of high school) my list of favorite bands was something along the lines of Linkin Park, System of a Down, CKY, Green Day, RHCP and so on. Mainstream stuff. Today it's more like Red Sparowes, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cloud Cult, Built to Spill, The Weakerthans, Emily Haines, Chk Chk Chk, King
          • by gsslay ( 807818 )
            What makes you think it's the either the responsibility, or in the interests, of the music industry to improve (in your opinion) your taste in music?

            Your taste has changed because you're 5 years older, just like everyone listens to different stuff than they did when they were in their mid-teens. MP3s, file-sharing and google haven't made the slightest difference to this.
            • People usually stop listing to different music once they hit around 22 or so though. About the time a person gets out of college their musical tastes will have calcified. It's one of the things the industry banks on, because they can tell which styles will be continue to make money for them. By the initial list, I'm guessing that the parent fits in post that. I think his point does go along with you argument though, it's not in the interest of the RIAA to have musical taste improve because their business mo
        • by sammydee ( 930754 ) <seivadmas+slashdot@gmail. c o m> on Saturday January 05, 2008 @08:17PM (#21928074) Homepage
          "Another common belief, but the sad reality is that most music has always stunk."

          I disagree with this. I personally tend to listen to a lot of older music (early 90s and before). I'm 18 so nobody can claim it's because I'm just being nostalgic. I have a firmly held belief that what makes modern music so unpalatable to older listeners used to listening in the 70s and 80s is NOT the quality of the actual music itself. The difference lies in the way the music is produced.

          If you used to listen to a lot of older music in the 70s and 80s (and sometimes early 90s) you will probably find modern music fatiguing to listen to. It might sound like a wall of noise, with little to no dynamic range or variation - A BLAND SOUND THAT IS JUST A CONTINUOUS ASSAULT ON THE EARS WITH NO BREAKS. This isn't just your imagination - this is due to an actual phenomenon:

          Enter the loudness war. Modern music when produced tends to be subjected to the producers desire to make it just as loud or louder than all the other songs on the radio, CD changer or itunes music collection. Human hearing determines loudness by the root mean square value of the sound's power. The PCM format (used in CDs and any music ripped from CDs) has hard limits on how loud a sound can be. Within these limits, the absolute loudest sound you can produce is a square wave. As sound engineers are pushed to master cds at higher and higher volumes, they are forced to resort to using extremely aggressive volume compression and hard clipping techniques to get the perceived volume up. This results in a waveform that starts to approximate a square wave the harder it is pushed. IT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF CONTINUOUSLY BEING SHOUTED AT BY SOMEBODY WITH A MONOTONIC VOICE OF CONSTANT VOLUME THAT DOESN'T NEED TO TAKE ANY BREATHS.

          This youtube video can demonstrate the process far better than I can: []

          Unfortunately this technique is rampant in the music production industry - virtually all modern music sounds like this. A lot of younger people just accept that this is the way music always sounds, and when an older or better produced cd comes on they might tend to think that because it sounds much quieter, there is something wrong with it. I think that if the music industry stopped putting so much pressure on sound engineers to MAKE THEIR CDS SO LOUD then they people might actually enjoy listening to the music more, and cd sales might just increase.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          The top five most pirated tracks last week were from Alicia Keys, Fergie, Soulja Boy, Daughtry and somebody called "Baby Bash."
          I have no clue what or who "Baby Bash" is, but it sounds fun!

          Now, where's my hammer and where's the baby? ;D
    • by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "Spend $18.99 on a cd or spend all of 18 minutes on bittorrent. Hmmm wonder what a young person of today would choose?"

      CDs haven't been $18.99 for a while now, except for the odd special version. The Amazon Top Ten presently has four at $7.99, one at $8.99, three at $9.99 and only and only two at $11.99. Prices at Target and Wal-Mart are similar, and, of course, on iTunes they're typically around $10 for a download.

      Your point is well taken -- some people would rather get something for free than pay fo

    • Do the right thing, or do the wrong thing. Sadly I think you've well assessed what today's youth will choose.
    • by symbolic ( 11752 )
      I was in the music store just tonight in fact, lamenting over the unfortunate nature of today's music business. It's the same as it was ten years ago. Most of the CDs were priced at $15 - $18. There's no way in hell I'm going to fork out that kind of cash for a CD. Here's the important part - I only have music I've legally purchased. I have not, nor will I, engage in music pirating. Just because I refuse the offer made at the music store does not give me an inherent right to acquire it by other means. If th
  • Bleak futures. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 1195047 ) <philip,paradis&palegray,net> on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:29PM (#21927078) Homepage Journal
    The future is bleak for floppy diskettes, Zip drives, and CRT displays. This is simply the pace of technology; more efficient distribution formats wind up winning out in the long run (with a few exceptions here and there, true, but even these are eventually superseded by something more efficient). Even with all the music industry's "late to the game" problems and legalistic maneuvers, the switch to a majority audio distribution occurring via networks was bound to happen. Not really news to most of us...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rizole ( 666389 )
      Mod me -1 getoverit but I miss floppy disks.
    • It is unfortunate, though, that there doesn't seem to be a good replacement for physical liner notes. I'm currently about half way through the process of converting my music collection from the last 25 years from LP and CD into mp3. I'm looking forward to getting rid of the hassles associated with physically managing all those physical objects. (Some of the LPs came in my car with me from Berkeley to New Haven in 1988, then to Chicago in 1994, and LA in 1996.) As I finish putting each album onto the compute
  • If the RIAA didn't deliberately set itself up to be perceived as thuggish criminals, then maybe people could buy CDs without feeling guilty about it.
    • I don't feel guilty.
    • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:57PM (#21927888)
      They ARE thuggish criminals. And apparently not very bright. So how could they appear otherwise?

      But back to the main subject: there is a genuine problem caused by this continued exaggeration of the real damage done by piracy. Piracy is only a symptom. The music and movie industries have not been keeping up with technology and social change, and so have consistently failed to deliver quality goods at what consumers feel is a reasonable price. THAT is the true problem.

      Blaming their failing business model on piracy is like blaming the blood from your cut for causing the pain...
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )
        You know that might be true true for typical reasonably well of /.ers, but for the lower IQ, lower paid in society, that swallow the mass media marketing that they must have the very latest crap even if they can't afford it, so they have no choice they 'must have it now', so they just copy it from a friend or download it.

        Do I think that is bad, nah, not really, they are better off spending what little money they have on food, lodging, clothing, transportation and their health, better that the rich become

    • I live in one of the most technologically backwards states in the country, and even I hear people complaining about the RIAA. There's a fairly significant amount of people who've been voting with their wallets against it. Even if there was much worth buying under the major labels, their actions ensure I'd only pay for a used copy of it instead of putting any money in their hands to ruin lives with.
  • by christurkel ( 520220 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:34PM (#21927142) Homepage Journal
    The music buying public was pillaged by greed and lack of competition.
  • 1) CDs are overpriced. Here in Vancouver, CDs usually cost between $15.99 and $24.99. (Yes, you read that right. No, these are not special edition or imports.) If CDs sold for around $5, not as many people would bother illegally downloading music. It wouldn't be worth the trouble plus you can get the artwork, lyrics and something to physically "own".

    2) Most new popular music today is disposable and no one wants to pay for this crap. (Now get off my lawn.)

    • by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "CDs are overpriced. Here in Vancouver, CDs usually cost between $15.99 and $24.99. (Yes, you read that right. No, these are not special edition or imports.) If CDs sold for around $5, not as many people would bother illegally downloading music."

      Yeah, Canadians get screwed at retail on a lot of things. Back when the Canadian dollar worth $0.80 US, US companies (including the ones I've worked for) would jack the Canadian retail prices up by 20% or so to accomodate. But now that the Canadian and US dollar

    • 1. CDs are overpriced in the States, and they're cheaper here than most other places. Most of what I've bought recently has been on significant sale over the Internet, or they've been Naxos, good music for a lot lower price. (I buy mostly classical.) Furthermore, since CDs (unlike tape/vinyl) last longer, I don't have the imperative I used to have to replace things. Frankly, I don't want to have to pay "big Media" for a lot of crappy marketing, payola to radio stations, etc.

      2. Canadians are definitely
  • by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:42PM (#21927216)
    Hang on a sec.. This would be the same 2007 that Oil hit an all time high, a credit crunch of such epic proportions that it's hitting the world wide banking system to the point that Governments are having to bail out financial institutions.. People are losing houses and jobs.. Economies are looking shaky, and unemployment is starting to creep up in a rather scary fashion..
    And they blithely put it down to piracy and competition from other entertainments. Don't you think that maybe.. Just maybe.. The fact that people don't have the money to spend on fripperies, and are actually worried about their ability to keep roof over head is also a factor in this?
    • by VENONA ( 902751 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @06:58PM (#21927372)
      Nah, this all due to the same reason oil prices are so high. We've reached Peak Music.
    • You are on the right track. People are looking at the options and cutting back. And CDs isn't the only one, lets look at Starbuck's stock price []

      But there are a lot of factors, including your insight:

      • - high gas prices, low wage growth consumers buy less optional items like CD/DVDs
      • - poor quality, wait until the one hit CDs get rolled into the best of CDs
      • - market saturation. Hand-me-downs, second hand dime store.
      • - people like me wait for the "DRM free" label, sorry Sony/BMG I do not like nor will I pay
    • Hang on a sec.. This would be the same 2007 that Oil hit an all time high...Don't you think that maybe.. Just maybe.. The fact that people don't have the money to spend on fripperies, and are actually worried about their ability to keep roof over head is also a factor in this?

      By comparison, they say sales peaked at the year 2000. Wasn't that also about when Napster peaked?

  • The only reason for me to buy CDs is that I can't get it online in good enough quality. When I get all the documentaries, pictures and lyrics with a FLAC encoded download, I won't touch a record store ever again.
    • by xaxa ( 988988 )
      If you like hip-hop you might like the album is available from []
      It was mentioned on Slashdot yesterday, and I bought it [], but really should have listened to it first!

      It's $5 (£2.52 for me) for 427MB of FLAC -- that's an excellent price! Equivalent to a couple of beers somewhere cheap, or single double-spirit+mixer somewhere cheap in London.
  • In the paper yesterday, it said that although a lot of singles were downloaded, 95% of all album sales in the UK were physical CDs.
    • In the paper yesterday, it said that although a lot of singles were downloaded, 95% of all album sales in the UK were physical CDs.

      Considering that for a whole album, iTunes often costs *more* than a CD- at least in the UK- that's hardly surprising. Maybe other places are cheaper, but I doubt it.

      Point is that iTunes is great if you only want one or two songs, and don't want to buy the whole album (they're still much cheaper than CD singles- even though those don't seem to be as overpriced as they used to be- and you aren't restricted to the charts or even what's released as a single). But iTunes for albums? Overpriced.

      They might have

  • Suing your customers and generally being asses to them while avoiding moving to an alternative distribution method had nothing to do with it. ;) Sure piracy is a factor, but they've taken nearly ten years to recognize that customers don't want to buy the same album over and over to listen to it on varied players. I'd go as far as calling this an adjustment. Similar to the adjustments that the market experiences from time to time. There were too many groups/bands/artists putting out crap that was more of
  • The folks at ZDNet are eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media music sales.

    And not a peep out of Netcraft? I'm waiting.

  • when i was in my teens & 20's i purchased lots of music, when i got in my 30's music purchases slowed down, not that i am in my mid 40's i do not buy any music partly because i lost interest in what is currently out there today, i have a coupld of shoe boxes full of cassette tapes and i refuse to re-buy music i already paid for, so they mostly just sit in a closet until i take that occasional road trip then i get a few out to take with me just in case there is nothing on the radio i like...
  • by iliketrash ( 624051 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:04PM (#21927398)
    "They refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing",

    This nonsense of describing downloaded music as "digital" to distinguish it from that on CDs needs to stop.

    • An AC already gave you the answer you deserve, but he got modded down as flamebait, so I thought I'd give it a shot: Completing a purchase and downloading a file online is a "digital sale". All aspects of the transaction are carried out through a digital medium. You walking down to the local music shop, on the other hand, is most definitely not digital. Unless you're walking on your toes or fingers :)
  • Album sales dropping is what their true fear has been all these years. It's the whole reason they are tearing their hair out about apple. The reason they are even willing to dump DRM so they can sell music for ipods outside iTunes. The single is king again and the record industries are going to be forced to swallow their bile and accept the hit to their pocket books.
  • And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:18PM (#21927524)

    ...I've bought more CDs this year than in any year before. As I did last year, and the year before that.

    It's just, they've all been bought straight from independent artists. No tally will catch them. But that doesn't mean the physical media goes away; just that the control over them is finally returning to those who it belongs to.

  • If the music industry is going to put a ton of crap on the shelves and only a few albums I really want then I will only be buying those few (since I like 80s music that is mainly oldies compilations).

    Nowadays I am more often buying mp3s from amazon as I can get the odd track that has either no longer on the shelf or is only available with a bunch of other tracks I already have/don't want.

    Would I buy more stuff off the shelves? If what I like were available. Borders and FYE have been the best of getting album sales from me lately.
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) < minus language> on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:28PM (#21927622) Homepage Journal
    Much like a spoiled child, they never look at their own behavior. It's always "some else's fault." I haven't purchased any music CDs in over a year because:

    1. It's all crap.
    2. I refuse to do business with anyone who considers my fair use as criminal.

    Yes, I ripped all my CDs. I do so so I can download tracks onto my digital player. I also have a web interface to access all my music from anywhere I have computer access, but the web page is password protected and I don't give access to anyone. The music industry, however, doesn't want me to do that because they see it as a loss of a dollar for every single track. At the moment I have 1400 tracks on my server. The music industry sees that as over a thousand dollars of lost revenue -- even though I've already paid for every bit of music I possess!

    How many times must I buy an album before I can use it as I please? Let's take one example, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I went through three vinyl albums way back before digital music was invented. I also owned a cassette of it (store bought, not copied). I might even have owned an eight-track version of it during a brief period of insanity. At the moment, I own two CD copies, the regular version and a "special remastered" version. That's seven copies of one album I have paid for. And you want to sue me because I ripped the CD onto my computer? FUCK YOU!

    I know what the problem is. The music industry is very unhappy with CDs because they never wear out. Back during vinyl days you had to repurchase an album because they wore out, no matter how careful you were. They weren't too pleased with cassettes because you could record an album onto it and greatly extend the life of your music, but even cassettes wore out and pre-recoreded cassettes were purposely made cheaper to shorten their lifespan. These days, CDs don't wear out so replacement revenue is from the rare event of physical damage. And digital music never wears out.

    So the music industry has seen their revenue from replacement purchases completely disappear. This leaves only one option to them, make the consumer purchase a different copy for every single device, but we're not going along with their plan, and they're now in panic mode. A panicked animal attacks anything and everything within reach, without thought, the music industry is no different. So they attack what is most convenient, their customers. We just need to stay out of reach until they bleed to death.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )
      "These days, CDs don't wear out"

      I take it none of your CDs are more than 5 years old?

      Several of my older CDs have deteriorated substantially, in one case with a sizable hole right through the metal layer in the audio tracks, in other cases with oxidation eating into the metal layer from the edges. Fortunately, thanks to error correction, they're still all playable so far... but they won't be forever.
      • by Hao Wu ( 652581 )
        Remember this "sell" from the 1980s.....

        "The Compact Disc Digital Audio System offers the best possible sound reproduction - on a small, convenient disc. Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics. For best results, you should apply the same care in storing and handling the Compact Disc as you would with conventional records. No cleaning is necessary if the Compact Disc is always held by its edges and is replaced in its case directly after playin
    • I wish I had mod points so I could mod this up.

      I don't think anyone has bothered to consider the retrospective view of the industry that is currently suing people from behind the RIAA. Thank you. I didn't think about how vinyl wears out - I never owned enough LP's for long enough to really notice. However, I have had plenty of tapes get munched and snapped by cheap walkmen and in-car decks. Ironically, this was *exactly* the reason why I made mix tapes: because the medium itself was too fragile and repl
  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @07:48PM (#21927808)
    I do not p2p so the industry cannot easily blame piracy.

    I stopped buying CDs because I refuse to patronize a greedy industry that was convicted of selling overpriced media, that maintains an iron grip on their distribution channels and seeks to eliminate any threat to that control, that uses "Hollywood accounting" to defer royalty payments to their artists, that litigates against their customers using shoddy legal practices and bypasses required steps in the legal process, that uses endentured slavery contracts to strip profits from their artists and enslaves them to provide content, that exploits their political connections to force alternate distribution channels (IE internet radio) out of business through retroactive copyright fees, and lastly fails to provide decent value for our dollar due to poor content ratio - one good song, the other nineteen disposable.

    When the RIAA cartel collapses, then the distribution channels may finally open to better music from better talent.

  • If they hadn't cocked up the transition to SACD then maybe people would still care about physical objects. Instead, a format war and idiotic DRM derailed the next obvious upgrade and nobody bothered. Combine that with the ability to download single tracks rather than being forced to purchase a bundle of crap and is anyone really surprised at the outcome?

    I can't help but think that Microsoft are hoping for the same thing to happen with the HD video formats so their Live-based download service benefits lik
  • Good to know its still thriving. If they really want to stop piracy they will not start stupid crap like telling us that ripping CDs we legally own is illegal. They get that passed, and piracy will skyrocket.
  • Get off my lawn! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Graftweed ( 742763 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @08:07PM (#21927984)

    Distribution of content (music in this case) over the internet, definitely has its advantages from the point of view of the consumer, such as no time wasted going to the store or waiting for goods to arrive, and also a myriad of advantages from the point of view of the content producer.

    That being said, there are several tradeoffs that I, personally, am just not ready to make unless I'm forced to by the discontinuation of CDs or by a change in the distribution model. Here are the things we are losing as we move way from CDs:

    • Raw CD Audio - I can take the lossless raw cd audio and encode it into my pet format of choice with minimal loss of quality. If I start with a MP3 and assuming that's not my pet audio format, then the loss of quality if I use a lossy codec will be noticeable.
    • Used Market - I like how I can turn to the used CD market if I don't want to pay full price for an album, or if for some reason I have a problem giving the producer in question money. It'll be a cold day in hell when the EULAs that each distributor uses allows the resale of a downloaded audio file.
    • The Physical Product - A pet peeve of mine to be sure, but I like having the actual object. Not only are some pretty damn cool [], they serve as a backup and look good on my CD tower.

    I'm willing to overlook the last one if they tweak the distribution model to address the first two as they are the real deal breakers for me. Especially the absence of a used market.

    • by W2k ( 540424 )
      The first two are easily fixed. Firstly, getting your music as files over the Internet does not automatically mean worse quality. In fact, since any format can be used, quality superior to red-book CD's is easily achievable. I personally prefer my music files as FLACs, rather than MP3s. They're losslessly compressed, so transcoding to any other format produces the same result as encoding from the raw media (assuming the FLAC was encoded from the raw media to start with).

      Second, a digital file never wears
  • Duh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saladpuncher ( 633633 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @08:12PM (#21928038) Homepage
    The older generation that buys music as a physical medium already has purchased everything they want. My mom isn't going to repurchase the White Album no matter what new wacky format it comes out in. The new generation doesn't see those shiny metal discs as storing music. They grew up with everything being digital. Even if they burn everything to an MP3 cd, how many songs will that store? 200-300? Their friggin phones can hold that. Their ipods, zunes, etc can hold thousands or more. Do you think they are going to buy an album for 20 bucks that has ONLY 10 songs? The end of the physical medium is here. Open up a web site and sell all of your stuff online for a good price. Oh wait...Apple already is :)
  • We all have heard that the dynamic range of CDs and MP3s pale in comparison to high fidelity tape or phonographic recording. If the recording industry invested some of the money it dumps the the bottomless pit of DRM and lobbying to make something that can reproduce that range (I'm sure the digital technology is more up to speed now then it was when the CD spec was made) they could re-invent audio into some new high-def format and then start doing a repackage of decent sounding audio, equipment, portable p
    • CDs natively have the ability to play a much higher dynamic range than vinyl, about 85 db range compared to 45 db, if memory serves. The reason that current cd recordings don't make use of that is due to the studios' decisions about how to make the recording. Basically, cramping the range makes CDs play better in cars, portable disc players, and other high ambient noise situations. It isn't a technical problem, it's a product design issue.
  • No band subsequent to Led Zeppelin has been better than them. The record companies are simply discovering that even with young people discovering Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin isn't producing any new good music, and neither are any of the current bands. And you can only sell one complete copy of the entire Led Zeppelin corpus to everyone.

    Modern music sucks.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant