Cost Per Minute: Are Compact Discs A Good Value?

Since its tuneful Tuesday (see our earlier discussion on XMSR) lets revisit the concept of value and music. This meme is increasingly infiltrating the mainstream.

Today’s question: "Are Compact Discs A Good Value?"

No, and the tale below is a classic example of not just that, but why the industry continues to stubbornly insist on losing sales:

You’ve heard many times on the pages of about how the woes of the music industry can’t be placed solely on the shoulders of peer-to-peer file swapping or piracy. The fact that the compact disc is still a poor value was never more evident to me than when I was at the mega electronics store WOW! in Long Beach, California this weekend. This staggeringly large store features a fully stocked Tower Records/Video, along with the newly merged CompUSA/Good Guys! I went in to pick up some toner for my laser printer and, for some reason, the once familiar but long forgotten desire to browse the CD racks came over me. I realized that in my collection of “must have” music, I had a gaping hole. I didn’t have the Metallica CD … And Justice for All, and I wasn’t about to break out my worn-out cassette version or download the album from Limewire for fear of Metallica’s strong-armed legal team, so I figured I’d pick up a copy at Tower Records.

I wandered up and down the aisles, remembering the days when I would actually care and get up for the upcoming release of a new album by a band I thought was amazing. Perhaps I’m showing my age as I hit my early thirties, but I just found it hard to get excited about anything I saw on the “new releases rack.” Then again, finding the next big thing wasn’t my goal. I wanted one of the best metal albums of all time and before I knew it, I was at the Metallica rack. Flipping through the CDs, I found that oh so familiar album cover with the crumbling statue of the Lady of Justice on the cover and almost didn’t flip the disc over to check the price, assuming it would be somewhere in the $11.99 to $14.99 range. Curiosity got the best of me and I flipped over the disc. To my amazement, the price tag read a staggering $18.99 and there was not the typical yellow “sale” sticker that I am so accustomed to seeing. If I wanted to rock to some “Shortest Straw” and “Harvester of Sorrow” in my car, I would have to plunk down quite bit of dough.

I have never considered myself cheap, but I found myself with a little case of sticker shock. In retail, there is a price where almost anything will sell. List your house at $50,000 over market value and, unless it’s a scorching hot market, the offers won’t come pouring in. For me, with this CD purchase, the decision came down to something simple: the $20 bill in my wallet. To go along with my craving for this Metallica disc was also craving for a strawberry smoothie at Jamba Juice. Had Tower priced the disc at what I felt to be a fair amount for a back catalogue record ($9.99 to $13.99), I would have bought it without hesitation. Because they swung for the fences, I left the disc in the bin, doing the retailer, the label and a reportedly financially starving Lars Ulrich no good whatsoever. I did buy the over-priced drink and then went home to purchase the exact disc I wanted, used, from eBay, for a little bit over $5 with $2 shipping. I know arguing over $10 here and there seems like I might be cheap, but I am not. I lunch in Beverly Hills every day, paying easily what the album would have cost me. I was making an economic protest about the value of the album. I understand overhead and royalties with the best of them, but at the same time the label has long ago paid for the production costs of such a great, multi-platinum heavy metal record. With CDs in jewel cases costing about $0.50, I was getting ripped off and I wasn’t going to stand for it, nor was I going to do anything illegal or immoral in response.

This lost “brick and mortar” sale due to an overpriced disc is becoming a common occurrence. I have often heard my friends saying, “ I just don’t buy music any more, because it’s too expensive and just not worth it,” or “Why don’t you just get it used?’ People are still buying DVDs by the millions each week, with “King Kong” selling a reported 6.5 million copies in its first week. A number-one-selling compact disc might be lucky to do 10 percent of that amount. Of course, this number could be a little skewed, as there are many more music releases in a given week than there are mainstream DVD releases, but the days of N’Sync or Eminem having first week sales well north of a million copies seem to be a thing of the past. It seems lately that even the biggest-selling albums in a particular year barely sell more than Peter Jackson’s big-budget thriller did in seven days.

The labels and retailers are committing suicide. Theyt ultimately will reap what they have sown: financial irrelevance and replacement by more competitive entertainment and digital media.   

Cost Per Minute: Are Compact Discs A Good Value?
Bryan Dailey
AV Revolution, April 20, 2006

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  1. Alaskan Pete commented on Apr 25

    Funny, that. Because when I was in New Orleans on hurricane relief, I was driving literally 11-12 hrs per day and wanted some tunes to play in the rental.

    I went to a store thinking I’d replace my lost copies of And Justice for All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets that disappeared back in grad school. The cheapest was 17.99 and these are what…15year old discs? Screw em, I ended up buying some local funk/brass stuff (Soul Rebels, Meters) and some mint used Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Dr. John for $7/per and a new Pavement double disc reissue of Slanted and Enchanted for $19.

    One more thing on Metallica…if you are even a casual fan, check out the documentary film on them “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”. It’s a great flick…not alot of music footage, more “inside the band” and all the dysfunctional BS (and I’m not a metal head by any stretch, but i love this film).

  2. JohnG commented on Apr 25

    Hearing that people suggest buying used raises this question for me: is the durability of CDs and DVDs an issue for new sales? CDs have been out for many years, and if taken care of, they more or less last forever. Is the problem with back-catalog CD sales that they are now competing with the used market? Will DVD sales drop off eventually as the back-catalogs end up in used-DVD stores?

  3. Robert Cote commented on Apr 25

    One of the very first CDs of mass issue was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Mine still plays flawlessly to my ear. I’ll pop it into a Mac and bit slice it for any data loses out of pure curiosity but I’m not worried as I immediately digitize using redundancy software anyway.

    Music just isn’t worth as much anymore and the music industry is late to that realization. One need only look at the market for royalty and royalty free images to see where the music market should be.

  4. me commented on Apr 25

    I haven’t bought a CD for serveral years back to when they started putting on copy protection schemes that hosed your computer.

    I buy the concert DVD and enjoy the video and audio. I rip tunes from the DVD to CD for the car.

    You can get a 2 1/2 hour live concert cheaper than a 10 song CD. Usually the concert includes they best music and the Cd offers tow hits and 8 stinkers.

  5. trader75 commented on Apr 25

    I had the same Tower Records experience four years ago, the last time I ever set foot in one of their stores. I looked at the sticker prices, cracked up laughing, and never came back. They are in a long, slow death spiral–brick and mortar music retail will probably only survive as a low margin add-on or a loss leader (Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble…)

    On the subject of pricing CDs like DVDs, I wonder–is already doing it? Consider these variations:

    Metallica, And Justice for All: $13.96

    Rage Against the Machine, self titled: $8.97

    Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon: $12.98

    Pink Floyd, Momentary Lapse of Reason: $8.97

    What could the differentiations be based on, other than some form of popularity metric?

    Also note that all those are available used, through Amazon, at 50% off give or take.

    The “buy it used” phenomenon might be the real nail in the coffin for the bad old ways. Used CDs used to be sold by quirky stores in strip malls. Now you can find most anything you want online…

  6. niblettes commented on Apr 25

    Saying music isn’t worth as much actaully has two meanings. First is that people aren’t willing to pay the same high prices they once were. And the second that music doesn’t mean as much to us as it once did.

    This second meaning is the most interesting (as I recently posted). Does the fact that music is so easy to make and easy to get result in a music experience that necessarily less valuble? Are the cheaper prices we expect more a reflection of a cheapening music listening experience than a reflection of economics?

  7. RW commented on Apr 25

    Most digital media appears to be quite fragile, at least when compared to many of the analog alternatives (books, records, etc., see for e.g.,

    Given reasonable care – no extremes in temperature, humidity or light – but not necessarily TLC the average CD may last as few as 10 years before film degradation or delamination cause significant errors or make it unusable; the plastic itself may last a long time but that has nothing to do with data integrity. The situation with digital data archives is even more serious since format obsolescence is as big a problem as media degradation (e.g.,

    If you’re looking for longevity in a digital music collection better make periodic copies of ALL the valuable pieces using a utility with good redundancy and data loss algorithms (standard rippers or copy utilities lack this and copies of copies will become error prone); CD’s and other digital media break down over time even if stored appropriately and seldom or never used.

    Personally I think that many years from now people are going to be surprised at how much information is lost from this century; on a proportional basis – % loss vs. total information generated – it wouldn’t surprise me if the loss is right up there with the burning of the library at Alexandria; say maybe half of all knowledge recorded at the time?

    Maybe that speaks to niblettes’ point also: Why pay up for that which is ephemeral by its very nature?

  8. JohnG commented on Apr 25

    In response to RW – sure, CDs die in the long run, but they are definitely more durable than records ever were in the short to medium term. I mean i have never seen anybody treat CDs with the tender-loving-care that we all had to use with LPs, to avoid scratching the darn things.

    Anecdotally, when i was a record-buying teenager, there were virtually no used record stores, whereas now there are all kinds of used CD stores. This would seem to reflect the fact that people can use CDs for a while, perhaps rip them, and then resell them.

    So, i would still argue that the relative durability of CDs, and the ability to duplicate them or rip them, and their compactness (which makes them easy to ship) all may pose a problem for sales of new CDs. And this problem may loom in the future for DVDs once enough are in circulation.

    See this piece from a few years back:

  9. billy commented on Apr 25

    What makes the pricing of DVDs attractive is that the price of most movies are reasonable compared to renting (usually about 2-3 times rent). So if you are going to watch a movie a few times buying makes sense. DVD pricing is attractive compared to renting or buying used.

    The other reason is that a DVD movie is not a bundle. A $60 five-movie combo of a one hits and 4 average movies would be a poor sell, or a $1 single hit song CD would sell better than if it were in a bundled CD.

    This is why used CDs are not the problem for the CD market – the CD pricing and bundling is killing the CD market.

  10. Andy commented on Apr 25

    I don’t think I’ve paid list price for a CD in years unless it’s out of print. I definitely don’t buy from retail shops (except every now and then Target will have something interesting on sale), which everything is overpriced. Better to join a CD club or buy from and buy it used or new from internet resellers. Can’t imagine why anyone would visit Tower ever.

    I own well over 700 CDs and the average per-disc price was about $6… not $18. I don’t believe in ripping off the musicians and I don’t think the problem is with the manufacturers if the CD clubs are offering the same discs at $6 per (after you factor in discounts and freebies). I think it’s Tower that’s giving the whole shebang a bad name.

  11. me commented on Apr 25

    “A $60 five-movie combo of a one hits and 4 average movies would be a poor sell”

    The DVDs even bundle a new one on sale for $14.99 and throw in an oldie for $5. So for $19.99 you get two good flicks.

    The music industry is about as unimaginitive as it comes.

    “And the second that music doesn’t mean as much to us as it once did.”

    Great point. Now we have digital music at home or on the computer and satellite for the home or car.

    They refuse to change with the times.

  12. Steve commented on Apr 25

    I buy almost all my CDs used at the local used CD store the run from $4.99 to $8.99. I end up thinking twice about the $8.99 discs (but I get a free one for every ten). I’ve also bought some off ebay, but that ends up being more effort than the “CD Go-round”.

    The selection seems to come from two sources, buy and rip where the new cd is purchased (new or used) ripped to mp3 and resold, newer artists/CD box sets are in this category. Then theres the collection clearout where someone rips their entire collection and sells the CDs, here we see how weird taste can range (12 Paul Revere and the Raiders CDs came in from one seller).

    We have two of these stores in the RDU area. One in North Raleigh, where the buy and rip kids like the metal/country/country rock/speed rock. One in Cary where they buy and rip kids like the r&b/pop/classic rock/emo. Jazz/Blues selection is about the same both stores and less expensive than the pop/rock.

  13. dsquared commented on Apr 26

    how many people are going to be buying King Kong in 15 years’ time? The CD/DVD comparison never fails to annoy me; they are completely different goods.

    Furthermore, (and apologies to Barry; I have made this joke before), I object to the “bundling” in movies. All I really want to see in a film is two car chases, a fight, a big explosion and a Hollywood starlet taking her top off. That’s like maybe ten minutes of action, and yet these movie people expect me to pay for a whole 90 minutes of movie Rip Off.

    Nobody seems to have a problem with the fact that ordinary retailers price-discriminate between customers who are prepared to pay up to have the thing now, and those who are prepared to wait until it comes on sale. I think that this is actually a mixture of a) people seem to lose all sense of rationality when it comes to the music biz and b) people aren’t accustomed to think of themselves as “someone who would rather wait for a sale” even though with respect to music, they actually are.

    The music industry has always been marginally profitable for shareholders and fantastically profitable for successful artists and managers and I don’t see that much reason to believe it’s changing all that fast.

  14. Cliff commented on Apr 26

    Here’s a question for you.

    A DVD for Titanic can be had for cheaper than the Titanic CD. The Titanic movie was one of the most expensive ever. How come we see DVD’s for movies priced below or near the price of CD’s, when the movies behind them cost so much more to make than the recording’s do?

    And don’t tell me it’s because of expensive musicians. Actor’s are expensive too.

    I know a record executive for Sony and I understand the reason they are out of touch. Their dirty little secret is they get the records for free. They have stacks of free cd’s at work and give them away to their family. If you never buy something, but get it for free then you don’t understand the economics of it.

    I’ve been using to get CD’s for $6 including shipping and the funny thing is that I buy a ton of them from there. Before I signed up for that, I never bought CD’s cause they were too expensive. They don’t get it.

  15. Crackity Jones Jr. commented on Apr 26

    Of course, if the additions to the DMCA pass as currently proposed, you won’t be able to rip CDs to your computer without becoming a criminal.

  16. iPod Fan commented on Apr 26

    “Of course, if the additions to the DMCA pass as currently proposed, you won’t be able to rip CDs to your computer without becoming a criminal.”

    Now this burns my curlies. I’ve got a few hundred disks and not one of them – not ONE – has terms of use printed on it. Which to me implies its mine – to do whatever the fuck I want with it. They took my money – deal over.

    How would it play if you bought a house and when you tried to paint it a new color the builder came back and told you that its not allowed.


  17. GreenLantern commented on Apr 26

    Consider this. If the Metallica …And Justice for All is $18.99 and there are 9 songs on the album that is $2.11 per song. Tell me if that makes any sense?

  18. mike commented on Apr 26

    I sell my CDs for .99 on Ebay all day long. It ends up being less than $4 with shipping nationwide. All my music is digitally “backed up” in my media server so I am dumping the original. I would consider purchasing new music in digital format for about $5-7 per CD and give them some business, but they are greedy and wont ever give in.

  19. Jimbob commented on Apr 26

    Well, 9 songs, but the album is over 70 minutes long. Most albums are 40-50 minutes, tops. Still, $19 for a CD is ludicrious. Metallica has always left their CDs overpriced (generaly $2-3 above the store average).

  20. Jon commented on Apr 26

    And this is exactly why the CD Trading sites are going nuts. I’d rather pay the USPS or the trading site a buck, and get a pristine copy for my collection.

    An 18.99 disc, or even a 15.99 disc is ridiculous.

  21. Jon’n commented on Apr 26

    Newer releases are priced lower to move millions of copies and generate record sales.
    Old releases take time to print also and don’t sell as many copies, hence the higher price.
    Now, I’m not one to defend to majors but really, it’s just common sense that you pay more for catalog, I feel.

  22. Bitsy commented on Apr 26

    The age of the middleman in music is dying.

    Record production companies must die. They rip off the artist and the consumer, while providing little corresponding value themselves.

    The record companies are chock full of incompetents and leeches, and I’m tired of having to go through them to get money to the artists I enjoy.

    I recommend that everyone everywhere vote with their bit torrent software against the record industry as we know it.

    Until their business model is rendered absolutely ridiculous, this crap will go on and on.

  23. iain commented on Apr 26

    “…the tale below is a classic example of not just that, but why the industry continues to stubbornly insist on losing sales.”

    Did I miss the part about WHY the industry continues to insist on losing sales? All I saw was a bunch of griping (albeit justified griping) about how expensive CDs are.

  24. Julian commented on Apr 26

    It’s funny you mention King Kong. As it was released here (Germany) it was available for just 10 EUR, I think, maybe less.

  25. Burgerman commented on Apr 26

    “I wasn’t about to break out my worn-out cassette version or download the album from Limewire for fear of Metallica’s strong-armed legal team”

    If he owns the cassette, did he not already have a license to listen to the music? Where does Metallica get off charging people three or four times for the right to listen to their album?

  26. Franco commented on Apr 26

    “Well, 9 songs, but the album is over 70 minutes long. Most albums are 40-50 minutes, tops.”

    Interesting point you’ve touched on there. Prior to the advent of CDs the artists would lay down the BEST 40ish minutes of music they had to offer for a new release.

    Now to fill up the CDs additional capacity we get a bunch of mediocre tracks. Or in the case of catalogue items “Remixed” garbage. How many CDs do you own that start off with a bang and then trail off…

  27. Adam commented on Apr 26

    Now you can trade your used CD’s for other people’s used CD’s for $1. This site rocks. I have traded 23 CD’s so far.

    Check it out. It is a legal and morally ethical way to 3 way trade a CD you have that someone else wants gives you 1 credt to acquire a CD you want from another person for $1.

  28. Asiaerotica_com commented on Apr 26

    This article reflects my feeling accurately. And as A composer of Hit music and now video , I have to say loud and clear “I understand the issue” and plan to start to price my products with this in mind.

  29. tuttle commented on Apr 26

    Don’t be such a pussy! Metallica is the biggest band on my pirate list.

    I refuse to ever buy their music again because they are the biggest sellout losers in music. I’ll buy some music from some small indie bands who need the money, but Metallica can kiss my shiny metal ass! If I could steal their money directly without getting thrown in jail I would.

    But everything after ..and justice for all has sucked nails anyway.

  30. Basil commented on Apr 26

    Don’t forget about sticking it to the record companies and evil bands like Metallica by supporting and The RIAA can’t come after you, because the $1 albums are legal under russian laws. And you get that warm feeling that comes from sticking it to the man!

  31. karl s. commented on Apr 26

    I read this with a huge smile on my face. It’s been a known fact that the record industry has been overcharging consumers for CDs for years. And why not? There were no alternatives and consumers have never stood up to this. Maybe someday there will be a class action suit against the major labels but by then, they will be too broke to pay, or even to sue.

    Now with P2P, CD Clubs (there were CD rental clubs in Japan years ago – someone tell me if they still exist) the record companies still don’t get it.

    Consumers still go to the stores – why? For the same reason they go to Starbucks and pay $4 for a cup of black water – for the experience. I would bet the big music stores make less off the CDs they sell, than the food and books and other knick-knacks they sell.

    I am still an active music seeker – less of a purchaser than I was a decade ago. It sometimes feels like the market is oversaturated, but on the other hand, music is the perfect consumer product – you don’t need it but you want it, you want something new and you more of it. Tired of trip hop? Then listen to beBop. Tired of that, then move onto hiphop, metal, industrial, rock, Brazilian, Arabic, whatever.

    I recently purchased a few small label CDs and my bro-in-law (a huge P2Per) asked why? My answer, because I want to support the artists and because I know their music isn’t going to show up on the P2P networks any time soon (I’ve checked).

    So, let the labels suffer. Share music with your friends. Make backup copies. And if it’s obscure or on a small label, buy it to support the artists and keep the backup for later.

    Finally, no one here has even mentioned the Long Tail concept. You would think that the majors would know they can make good money from their back catalogue without overcharging. Guess they don’t know, or they do and don’t care. Whatev.

  32. Doug commented on Apr 26

    This is a problem with Tower Records and mall-music stores. Citing those places and “music is priced too high” destroys the point of the argument right there. Those places gauge and suck for music, plain and simple.

    Best Buy is pretty reliable for (metal) music and I don’t think I’ve seen a regular CD above $15. I still balk at the $15 CDs and go to my local used store or look for it used online then unless I have gift cards/rewards to blow. Used is the way to go for old stuff and local/Best Suy/online is the way to go for new.

    The real question is what is the value of CDs at $10-15, where they usually are anywhere else? I certainly don’t mind dropping $10-12 for a new release once or twice a month.

  33. Andrew commented on Apr 26

    BLAH BLAH BLAH. You know P2P has affected sales of CDs. You must have been living under a rock if you cant see/expect that. For hard evidence, I have friends who stopped buying cds ever since napster came to existence.

    Stop justifying that P2P is not a problem or morally correct so you can sleep at night as though you’re a good samaritan.

  34. Rich commented on Apr 26

    “But everything after ..and justice for all has sucked nails anyway.”

    You can say that again. I tried hard to like a few songs off the black album. I tried, but failed. Master of Puppets was a masterpiece, and Justice was a technical masterpiece. They really showed off their technical skills as musicians. But after that, they just went through the motions, without any real soul.

    I don’t mind spending $15 on a DVD or two a month. And i don’t mind spending $10-15 on a CD every once in a while. The real joke, in my opinion, is the way the movie industry is approaching the online market. Pay the same amount to download a DRM restricted, lower quality copy of the movie – which you can’t actually burn to a disc and watch in your DVD player. Great plan. And if you want to download full quality copy (still riddled with DRM), you have to pay $30-40! Who comes up with this? How can these people possibly still be in business?

  35. norml2000 commented on Apr 26

    I remember when CD’s came out way back when and we were told by producers, that initially prices would be 3-4 dollars more than a cassette tape, but after production costs went down the prices would be about the same. That was complete bullshit. CD’s were around 14 dollars and cassette tapes were around 9 dollars at the time. Now a damn CD still costs around 14 dollars and the production costs have became incredibly cheap. So where is all that extra cash going? Not into artists pockets, it goes to the executives that drive those nice Ferrari’s and Lotus’s, with million dollar condo’s. They have been soaking fans for about 15 years and now its coming back to bite them in the ass. Serves them right. I refuse to buy music anymore, unless I can get it at a fair price of about 7.99 or 9.99 tops, and I can use it on any of my personal devices.

  36. Del Bodnarek commented on Apr 26

    The Slow And Painful Death Of Commercial Broadcast Radio
    By Del Bodnarek

    Today I got up and turned on my stereo and listened to Rock Alternative on my satellite receiver in crystal clear digital stereo, no static, no commercials, just music and I enjoyed while I ate my Shreddies .
    One half an hour later my boss came over to give me a lift to work, and we listened to the Classic Rock station on his Serius Satellite car audio receiver.
    When at work I got into my work truck and plugged in my portable MP3 player in ,and the transmitter which allows me to listen to it through the trucks FM stereo, on my MP3 player I had downloaded 7 hours worth of pod casts (downloadable mini radio programs made available on the internet for free).
    It was then that I realized that I didn’t listen to local radio anymoreat least very little, then I had to ask myself , how come I wasn’t?
    Then it hit me: radio now is so homogenized that it’s a bland mix of corporate programmed fluff.
    Now I know some of you are going to be jumping up and down saying “Classic Rock”, “Country” are not fluff! or 80is not fluff etcetera. But I can listen to a 80s station in Lethbridge as it fades out, I can switch over Calgary and listen to Bob or Jack whatever their 80s station is, or maybe their local Classic rock, country ,easy listening and have the exact same list of songs. Its like the stations were the same…hmm maybe they are?
    Some of you may remember the “Golden Days” of FM when a DJ could play a song from an album that wasn’t a single, or maybe they would play the entire “B” side of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album, right before a Miles Davis song and after a Chicago blues song from the 1940s. In other words a DJ chose his own music. Each radio station had an extensive record library, and the DJ would go in half an hour before his shift, delve into the library and come out with enough music to get through their shift. As well as choosing those records , they would also have local up and coming bands to play their latest “singles”.
    It used to be cool to say “sorry I don’t listen to AM” now AM has come over to FM and we have all the bubble gum pop homogenized commercial music, same as everyone else’s music; playing on all the radio stations, by trying to please everyone, the really good independent radio stations are few and far between.
    Now there is something I have to clarify: I am a 40 year old, non-tech geek, in other words I don’t have the latest whiz-bang computer, palm pilot, zip pity-do-everything cell phone . I do have a computer, cell phone and MP3 player, can surf the web ,download music, pod casts, and other if I can get into satellite radio and pod casts, and stop listening to radio, then think what is happening with the people younger than me! The statistics are the proof, the number of radio listeners is down, probably because you can only listen to the same song so many times.
    So this is what I say Stand up and SHOUT! No more Britney-fity-Cent-Shania-and-Mariah clones. I refuse to listen to corporate Top 40, give me substance, real variety. Not everyone will like this, but enough people will like it to keep our ratings up so we will play it. Give DJs the ability to play what they want, not the pre-planned-out-of-Toronto-ratings top music.
    The nice thing is, if they don’t listen now its too late, the wave has already begun. People are jumping off the listen-to-radio ship, with satellite radio, mp3 cd players in their cars, portable digital music players, and the internet.
    Thanks for reading my rant.

  37. dssr commented on Apr 26

    What a bunch of self-righteous smug pricks, justifying the wholesale degradation and undermining of an entire industry of talented and hardworking human beings, people who compose, produce, engineer, and publish music. It’s clear to me that if it wasn’t for the internet, most of you would still be buying CDs. Books and movies cost about the same as a new CD but since these things aren’t easily and widely distributed on the internet, illegally and free of cost, no-one is really bitching about the vast conspiracy to keep prices high on those things. I think it’s a tragedy that music is somehow considered less valuable then a book or a movie, since most great albums cost a great deal of time, money and RISK to produce. Let’s for once talk about the true price of creativity, and hear from people who actually make music for a living, instead of the same self-rationalizing bullshit that theives have always used to justify not paying artists. I’m willing to bet that despite Metallica’s poor reputation for being industry scapegoats with the Napster debacle, that the amount of effort that went into writing and recording a masterpeice like “And Justice for All” is worth the retail price put on the legitimate copy – you can say what you want about the band, but the music stands on it’s own, and the existance of great and relevant art should be supported with payment in kind.
    Also, the level of crazy behavior that the intellectual property holders have and will continue to go to in order to protect their interrests is directly proportional to the amount of theft and profit loss their industry are being subjected to. Cause = effect

  38. Johnny commented on Apr 26

    In this modern age, people are forgetting that music is an experience, and it is best experienced live. I will pay bucks to get into a small show, at the local pub or theater. I will buy the t-shirts, stickers and CDs of those artists, though if I get the chance to chat with them in person I always tell them to consider free downloads from their website–folks are going to steal it anyway so you might as well give it away from your site that also sells your t-shirts, stickers and posters. I love music, but I have given up on the music industry. Industry!?!?! Didn’t music used to be art?

  39. Anon commented on Apr 26

    You didn’t even say what the cost per minute was in the article. That title is misleading.

    [EDITOR: You are correct; Please fill out form 3719j/2 for a full refund of your purchase price]

  40. dssr commented on Apr 26

    Yes, dumbass – INDUSTRY. Last time I checked, we all lived in a Capitalistic system, whether we like it or not. It used to be that the rich in society commissioned artists to create works in their honor, not much has changed. Artists need to feed their families just like everyone else. The idea that they should give away their work, since in your words people are just going to ‘steal it anyway’, is truly pathetic – the logical extension of your reasoning is not a society I want to live in. Try being a TRUE ARTIST in this system, and you will find that without playing by the rules of INDUSTRY, you will quickly starve and die, without having made any ‘art’. Grow the fuck up, please, and pay attention to how the world works – THEN maybe you’ll have the authority to talk about these things without sounding like a moron.

  41. Thoughts commented on Apr 26

    We are in the midst of a revolution in music. As such the rules are being rewritten. If you support the revolution, you are making your voice heard by pirating Metalica. If no one Napsterd, would we even have iTunes? The message to the recording industry still needs to be sent. We simply want any song, anywhere, any device – at a fair price. That’s what the consumer wants. Those that fail to deliver, deserve to fail.

  42. noneya commented on Apr 26

    Funny that It was because of napster that I bought my first Metallica cd. Then Metallica Bitched. Now I will never buy a Metallica cd ever again or download there crap that they call music!

  43. Charlie commented on Apr 27

    I have never downloaded a song or a movie, but with
    the Sony rootkit and the Mafia tactics of the RIAA and MPAA I decided I would not purchase any CD’s, DVD’s or attend any movies. There are plenty fo other forms of entertainment available to me, including buying used.
    Mostly I would like to see the crybaby millionaires get a job at the local Wal-Mart. Just quit spending your money
    you will get their attention.

  44. anonymous coward commented on Apr 27

    @Del Bodnarek

    I’m not so sure your analogy is valid. Book publishers *are* fighting in a similar fashion against things like google’s book indexing project . . . but I’ve never heard of a literary publishing house suing thousands of people for going to the library. Or blatantly suing people that obviously had nothing to do with stealing “intellectual property”… If you want the equivalent of the actions by the RIAA in a book-sense, imagine penguin publishing suing a blind grandmother on her deathbed, because her grandson borrowed a Bob the Builder book from the library. (If that seems a tad out-there, consider recently, an elderly woman died not too long after being sued by the industry for pirating intellectual property, when she didn’t even own a computer)

    If you want a good example of how IP should work, look at lawyers. Stop laughing, they’re a wicked example. Every case ever presented is open and available to everyone else. The work put into creating a case and deliberating it in court gets the lawyers credability, but they don’t own the argument. They can’t prohibit people from reading their work and using it in their own.

    I realize that the lawyer analogy doesn’t fit for the commercial sales of the entertainment industry; it was to prove that not all IP has to be a freaking cash-grab.

    So what’s the deal with this overtired rambling session? I’m not too sure. I want to restate what I’ve read about 50 times in this thread, but that’s been done . . . hmmm
    how about this?
    I love the fact that I can try music out over the net before I purchase it. The main problem arises when I actually hear something I like, it’s almost never at any record store. Maybe it’s because, like many of the people here, I’m sick of cookie-cutter albums that get pumped out of the music factory. I usually find the more “original” music that I won’t tire of on indie labels that may not be carried by the mega-huge record stores.

    Oh – and while I’m ranting, I should add a bit of anicdotal evidence against DVD’s too . . . the other day I was in the movie section of an Indigo, and Ocean’s 12 was selling for $45. Seriously. That piece of shit would actually cost over 6 hours labour for “regular” job goers. Would YOU work that long to buy that???

  45. Truth in Tech commented on Apr 27

    RIAA is making itself irrelevant

    When is the last time you bought a CD? For me its been at least five years. Bryan Dailey over at AV Rev posted a great story that illustrates just how much damage the RIAA is doing to itself.
    Flipping through the CDs, I found that oh so famili…

  46. Bryan g commented on Apr 27

    dssr misses the point completely, and is undoubtedly someone who will continue to do so willingly. I have a feeling that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who took the time and effort to comment here that isn’t in favor of supporting the artists. In fact, when most of us here advocate fighting the “INDUSTRY”, we do so in hopes of a more efficient system that will enrich both producer and consumer.

    While I do buy CDs to support the artists whose work I’ve discovered through filesharing and find phenomenal, the desire to own a physical copy is fading fast for me. I’ve already got a shelf full of cases and binders full of burnt discs that are gathering dust, why add another piece of plastic that will sit there when I listen to everything on my computer or iPod? Why incur all the materials and production costs involved in getting it here?

    To all artists out there – instead of complaining about filesharing, put a paypal link for $5 on your webpage and call me out to support your work. You average 82 cents a disc; I want to more than quintuple that. I support X number of artists; I want to triple that. With today’s technology you’ve got most of the production and mastering tools at your disposal. Let’s cut out all the middleman, the management, the stores, the shipping costs, the raw materials drain.

    In doing so, we as consumers can support a wider range of artists for the work they’ve created, as determined by the proven quality of the material rather than its artwork or marketing.

  47. dude commented on Apr 27

    metallica should forfeit all previously earned income after that heinous cover of “Turn The Page”

  48. Wizard Prang commented on Apr 28

    Dol Bodnarek,

    1) We are not ripping off the “talented and hardworking human beings, people who compose, produce, engineer, and publish music”, the RIAA are doing that all by themselves. That’s why the artist sees less than 25c of each $15 CD sold.

    2) “It’s clear to me that if it wasn’t for the internet, most of you would still be buying CDs.” Rubbish. Most of the CDs that I have bought in the past three years would _not_ have been purchased if it was not for the Internet, as I would neve have heard them! The difference is that now I buy them discounted or used. I will not pay $15+ for a CD that cost less than two dollars to make as a matter of principle.

    3) “Books and movies cost about the same as a new CD”. Rubbish. “Titanic” cost $200M to make. How many CDs cost more than $1M? As for books… been to the library lately?

    4) “the same self-rationalizing bullshit that theives have always used to justify not paying artists.” Yes, it’s terrible what the RIAA are doing to the artists.

    5) “Also, the level of crazy behavior that the intellectual property holders have and will continue to go to in order to protect their interrests is directly proportional to the amount of theft and profit loss their industry are being subjected to.”

    Is there such a thing as “Intellectual property”? Say after me: “NOT EVERY DOWNLOAD IS A LOST SALE”. Oh and suing your customers is NOT a good way to win friends and influence people.

  49. dssr commented on Apr 29

    I don’t think I’m the one who is missing the point at all. I think the real point isn’t some imagined ‘revolution’ that you think you’re participating in… it’s that over time, the true consequences of unchecked, illegal (but more importantly, illicit) file sharing will only get steeper in a myriad of ways. No-one is really arguing against the fact that the distribution model for music and other media is changing, and that ultimately artists and consumers should benefit from the open nature of the internet. It’s high time that there were other options besides the huge corporations who have for too long stifled creativity and only allowed the most commercially viable artists to thrive & compete. However, it is worth noting that an independent and underground music scene has always existed in spite of the major label ‘monopoly’, and way before most of you had your first AOL dialup accounts. It still seems a bit of a logical fallacy to suggest that illegally downloading an artists’ work somehow helps to break the chains of the true artist from the big mean & evil RIAA – it just makes you fuckers of the same breed, just coming in a different door. There are in fact many, many talented and worthy artists creating amazing work who aren’t even represented by the RIAA at all. Are you helping to save these artists, too? The ones who pay all the costs of recording and producing their own music themselves, who aren’t represented by the lawyers of big labels with deep pockets, and who take the risk of putting out a product on their own, only to have it stolen by the likes of a bunch of crass teenagers who actually think they’re doing the artist a favor? The old argument that “The artist only sees 25 cents of each CD sold” is another convenient sound byte that has no real value to the disussion – the fact of the matter is, each artist is different, each recording contract is different, and many artists have a great deal more at stake then a mere 25 cents per unit. Hey, if downloading a song off the internet helped turn you on to that new amazing Norwegian metal band, that’s great. But how many of us can honestly say that we’ve kept ourselves in check with all this freedom, and have consistently paid for everything we’ve enjoyed? Are we really sticking it to the man? Or is the end result of ‘everything, all the time’ access, perhaps caused an outcome a bit more complicated? Has anyone thought to wonder how it might affect the amount of quality recorded music if all of it were ‘free’? Anyone here want to codify the qualitative difference between a t.v. show on Fox, versus, say, HBO? In other words, you get what you pay for. But on the internet, you get whatever you want with little or no consequence. My ‘point’ is that there is a consequence, but it may be hidden from view.
    Many artists don’t want to be distributed on the internet in shitty MP3 format at all – they want, and deserve to have control over how their music is distributed and played – after all, they created it. In other words, with the artwork and packaging, lossless quality, and yes, paid for and supported. When you buy a used CD, the artist is not being compensated at all. You may say that the original purchaser has already compensated the artist for the product, however many people buy a CD, rip it, and sell it back to the store. This is the same as buying Photoshop, installing it on your PC, and then selling it to someone else to use. YES, there is such a thing as intellectual property. It’s too bad that most of us don’t have the intellect to appreciate & respect those who create things for us to enjoy.
    As an aside, I have bought music for my whole life, since I was 10 years old. I remember saving up for albums as a kid, and the immense pleasure of bringing them home, unwrapping and playing them brought me. The fact that I couldn’t afford to buy them all just made me appreciate the music even more, and made it all the more important to me. I miss the days when music wasn’t disposable trash. I suppose all of these things make me old, and for that I’m grateful.

  50. zapphnath commented on May 5

    For me, buying CDs has always been about more than just the sound eminating from my speakers. When I buy a CD, I’m also buying the artwork in the booklet, the back side, and on the disc, itself. Also, there’s the info inside of the booklet, like lyrics, bios, or whatever the artist decided to put in there. It’s an all-around visceral experience that I just don’t get from an .MP3. I do, sometimes, download something directly from an unknown band’s website (something they’ve made ligitimitely available) if it’s something I like or think my friends might like to be turned on to. I’d say about 90% of the .MP3 files on my machine are of the tech-related podcast variety (TWiT, Inside The Net, Diggnation, etc.). There’s hardly any music on my system (compared to most).
    That being said, my 500+ CD collection grew by a staggering 1 CD during the 2005 year (System of a Down’s Hypnotise – in case you’re wondering) and, thus far, a big, whopping 0 in 2006.
    I hardly listen to the radio, anymore – I just don’t like 99.9% of what passes for music, these days. I’m, certainly, not going to buy any of that crap (or, even, download it).
    As far as pricing goes, there’s a chain of stores, in my area, that has been re-selling music and movies, in all of their forms, for as long as I can remember. No one I know has paid mall prices for a CD in, at least, a decade. The nice thing about this chain of stores: while mall prices are in the $18 range, a new CD averages about $12, there. As far as used material goes, with the occasional buy-one-get-one sale, I’ve bought CDs for as low as .25c apiece. With their discount program ($12 for a one-year membership gets you $1 off each disc – a six-disc box-set is $6 off), I’ve bought DVDs for as low as $1.99 each.
    Anyway, back to the subject at hand: trying to compare the two industries is difficult. Sure, they put a truckload of more money into the average blockbuster than they do into any album, but they look to make the bulk of their investment recoup and profits from the box office. The music industry doesn’t have an equivalent to the movie theatre and, if they did, would anyone go? Would you pay $8 to go somewhere and sit around listening to a CD just once? Then wait six months for it to become available, through retail, and pay twice as much, or more, to hear it again? Of course not. If the only way to ligitimately distribute video was the DVD, they’d be priced much like Disney movies were in the early days of VHS (around $80, if I remember correctly).
    Comparing what you get for your money from a DVD to what you get from a CD is innacurate, at best. Hollywood can afford to put a relatively low price on the DVD because, basically, it’s an after-thought.
    Well, enough ranting from me – it’s 2:00am, here.

  51. Davey commented on Nov 1

    It looks like this topic is dead, but I couldnt pass by and not say something. Everyone out there grouping artists together in one big lump and acting like any one set of standards applies doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about. I’ve read this mentality from both sides in the discussion above. Really, think about it – art is about freedom, expression, originality, and a million other things that will all factor out as different priorities to the Artist. By definition, the internet is the revolution. It is empowering. In the past it was only the rich that could afford to publish a book, movie or album and distribute it to a large group of people. Thats a fact, and thats why the RIAA and all the Majors exist in the record industry. They were the guys that were willing to invest 200 thousand dollars to make that album you love happen (although it doesnt cost so much anymore), and it doesnt really matter whether they were doing it for the love of the art, the love of the money or a combination, because bottom line, they forked over the cash up front that made it possible.

    Don’t get me wrong, thats not the way I personally run my business. I like to pay people what they deserve, but I’m also not in the business of investment, which is what the music industry really is. When you figure the percentage of flops in the industry, it is a big risk. More reason for bands to embrace the indie internet culture and more reason for major labels to embrace it as well. The more you empower the individual the less risk it is for the investor, but the labels are scared and not thinking.

    The revolution is not imaginary, but its also not exclusive to or limited by the “Art” sector. It’s a revolutionary tool which gives every last person who can afford a highspeed connection the ability to reach a huge distribution of people with a bunch of free fancy tools. The revolution that has spread into the music industry among others has nothing to do with a large group of people uniting, it has to do with a huge group of people dividing and conquering in whatever way they see fit.

    Yes its true that the VAST majority of people with a major label deal end up getting 3 to 5 points for each sell and even then, half of that goes to paying back industry professionals which are always overpriced and over compensated with royalty checks that should probably be going to the artist, but at the same time, as much as the Majors took advantage of all of us by charging us 17 dollars at the record store, back before the internet it made sense because there was no way to do what they did without a ton of money and insane connections.

    Now not only is it possible for every john q public to do this stuff on their own with a little bit of creativity and dilligence, but its even cheaper for the majors to do it as well, but still, their prices barely even budge.

    An industry fact is that profit continued to rise during the years of napster, depending on how you look at it, the music industry did BETTER, but the labels just got greedy like everyone else does and were pissed off. I’m not saying thats wrong of them, they provided a service whether or not they were kind with their prices.

    I personally think the real revolution isn’t in destroying the major record labels because of some mob mentality that they are evil, but in giving every INDIVIDUAL artist the ability to make up their mind and have 500 different options of how to promote their art without being stuck with only having record labels as an option.

    For some people a label is perfect, for some its not. If you dont like labels, just dont buy their cd’s. Pretty simple. Although there are a lot of good bands that are signed, by sheer numbers there are many more indie bands that are just as good.

    The revolution is in the freedom of choice, not the decision.

    Dave Harding

    P.S. I am a musician who buys music but encourages people to first and foremost listen to my music and enjoy it, and if you feel compelled to buy a cd or come out to shows and buy other merch, it really really helps. Most people who can help do help, and it’s not like you’re missing out on money from people who can’t afford it, who cares if they have a listen?

  52. Beppo commented on Apr 26

    I don’t have a problem with buying used CDs — I’ve done it myself — but it’s sad to hear how many people will rip a CD to their computer and then sell the CD. That’s piracy. Sell it only if you don’t like it and aren’t keeping it.

    As an artist with a CD out, it hits home when people pirate music, because I’m not selling thousands of CDs (yet).

    I wish there was a way for artists to get paid on used CD sales. Maybe someday…

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