Slowing CD sales ?



Consider the spike in GDP in the second half of 2003 preceded an increase in CD sales in early 2004. Now, with GDP slowing, might that be impacting CD sales?

Turns out yes: 

"Music industry hopes for a recovery from a long slump may have been premature. Disc sales rose by almost 10% during the first nine months of 2004, but have dropped by approximately 20% for October and most of November. As of Friday, November 19, year-to-date sales were ahead of the previous year by slightly more than 5%, indicating that the surge seen earlier in the year may not carry through the winter holiday season, a time when the music industry typically enjoys up to 40% of its annual retail sales.

Perhaps not coincidentally, on Thursday, November 18, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the filing of copyright infringement lawsuits against 761 computer users, part of a continuing campaign to contain the file-sharing phenomenon. Recent suits include students at Amherst College, Boston College, Bridgewater State, Iowa State, Northeastern, and the University of Massachusetts."

What? Are CDs merely another consumer product subject to the vagaries of the marketplace and business  cycle? Quelle horror!

Note: I haven’t seen this report anywhere else yet; I’ll try to find confirming data on this . . .

Industry Roundup
Barry Willis
Stereophile, November 22, 2004

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What's been said:

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  1. David Bennett commented on Nov 22

    I believe music executives like to believe that they are major hep cats, but I think they better look forward to the sixties.

    A lot of bands that the heaviest music users jive to class themselves as rebels with or without a cause, and busting kids for piracy is going to be like busting pot in the sixties.

    It’s going to create little private cults intensified by the threat of the man coming down, theoretical 3 year sentences is one thing that the music hep cats are proposing.

    OK so now the music sharing can’t be found on
    google, but the kids can put together hidden music sharing things easier than they can link pot networks and I’m pretty sure that stuff is widely availible.

    This “represson gig” is exactly what you need to create an underground, especially when the jack boot is mostly symbolic. It’s as though the hepcats are trying to create a “resistance culture.”

    The cyberpunk ethic may come back big time.

  2. PigInZen commented on Nov 22

    May come back? MAY? You must not run in the proper circles, David, but I am aware of some people that have compiled FOUR THOUSAND PLUS albums on a private .mp3 server. I don’t condone this sort of thing – I’m told the price of admission is access to one’s entire personal catalog, ripped to a large-capacity IDE drive and shipped to a person on the inside. This catalog is added to the collection which is then promptly copied back on said large-capacity drive and shipped back.

    I’m absolutely certain this is occurring in other small groups as well. It’s completely underground and not really talked about much in the open. Good luck busting this sort of operation – you would have to have specific knowledge of illegal activity, the sort that only comes from serious investigation. For groups of people that are a dozen or less involving easily-hidden or destroyed contraband it becomes nearly impossible to bust.

  3. David Bennett commented on Nov 23

    I definitely do not run in the right circles, I spent too many years in them and am now blissfully middle aged.

    However what I am referring is not simply theft, but to an acceleration of political theory, attempts at defining social structures which the “cyberpunk” movement active 10 to 15 years ago provided some base and then a building of “critical mass” of these groups until they have impacts similar to what we saw in the sixties and seventies. An essentially feckless and ineffective “repressor” triggers such things.

    Plus if the record companies engage in too much irrationality, such as kids in prison for light weight acts, then sound theft becomes an acceptable political statement for far more than the corp.

    With emerging bands jumping onto this culture, producing their own shareware stations and quite possibly traditional record companies fighting to prevent their work from getting into places like I-tunes or the emerging CD writers that will be availible at many stores, especially if they compete on price, you get other potential first amendment issues.

    I can’t predict this will happen, but American industry in general can get irrational. And from my admittedly liberal position the entertainment industry is one of the more reactionary subcultures in American society. This is masked by their allegedly “leftist” positions, but note how easily they embraced clearly feudal structures such as communism, note the display of wealth, the love of clubs and stores that disdain the “little people.” While you can get the same attitudes among the smal town country clubs filled with car dealers, doctors and shopping center owners, the entertainment elite is the only group that dares display their social attitudes openly, though some Republican’s are building the nerve.

    The problem is that this society includes the new “nobility” of our society, individuals used to mob worship, and is controlled by individuals (the executives) who tend to hubris because they direct societies “most important people.”

    I actually half believe this intemperate rant and it wouldn’t surprise me if these morons follow in the path of certain French and Russian royal families.

    For those who actually like my posts I’ve started a Yahoo group.

    For the record this guy basically prototyped the modern personal computer. A lot of his team moved to Xerox Parc, then Apple produced a simplified version. This group is an attempt to use his ideas to study the technical, social, philosophical and political issues involved in the emerging technology.

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