Someone else who "gets it:"
Ask any record company suit about why record sales are down from 30 billion dollars per year to 18 billion and they will instantly start in on the effects of Napster, peer-to-peer sites and piracy. And they are wrong. The modern fall of the record business as we know it is based on the rise in popularity of DVDs and video gaming, paired with the poor entertainment value associated with a mainstream compact disc. For $22, a media-buying customer can get a Hollywood blockbuster for a home theater system, PC or even the back seat of the family Escalade. For about $30, you can get a video game, which, like a DVD-Video movie, is an audio video experience that can provide you with countless hours of entertainment. Today, for $16.99 in most stores around the country, you get a good 40 to 70 minutes of music, of which only a few tracks can be considered hits. It’s easy for consumers to see how the value of a CD today no longer competes in the marketplace with video games and DVD movies.
Let me add that DVDs are often much cheaper than $22.
Its really not all that complicated . . .
Small High-Res Labels Redefine The Album Concept
Jerry Del Colliano
June 16, 2005
Personally, I don’t want the various mixes. I don’t want the video. I just want the music and it is hard to discover new music by listening to the radio. Back in the ’70s I used to listen to WNEW-FM in NYC — album oriented rock. I would hear something that I liked and went out and bought the album. It wasn’t just top 40. Today I listen to satellite radio which very handily tells me the artist and song name. Then I hop onto Google or Amazon, type in the band name, get a list of cds, usually with track lists. I find what I’m looking for and many times can buy it used. (This frees up cash for the seller to buy more cds and half the time I’ll buy it new).
As much as I hate the RIAA, I must admit they aren’t completely wrong. I’m a 26 year old guy with several music loving friends around the Bay Area. We all own many, many CDs. But guess what? Most of them were purchased before 2000. My CD collection slowed when Napster came out and seized entirely when Bittorrent came out. Everybody I know did the same. There is just no reason to buy CDs anymore. And we listen to just as much if not more music than we did before P2P existed. Movies and games have replaced the time people spent watching TV, not listening to music.
While somewhat overlapping, they are really two (dvd/video games vs. music) different sensory experiences. I don’t buy the notion that people are listening to less music because of the rise of dvds and video games. They may be buying less due to other factors, but surely not listening less.
While I’m no gamer I can see the lasting “value” of a great video game. But as for dvds, are they really such a screaming value over a cd. You might watch the flick a few times, maybe even dive into the commentaries once or twice. But do you get the same mileage as from a great tune or album you bought? Music seems to have more longevity. Over the long term your cost per use of a cd is probably much less than a dvd.
Why pay $16.99 for an album (or $9.99 on iTunes) to get just one or maybe two good songs, when you can take the same amount of money and buy from 10 artists and get ten individual songs that are great. That’s why music sales are down.