From the King Of Blogging, Sean Conners. Various articles and op/ed's on just about anything from A to Z. Politics, religion, entertainment and whatever else seems interesting at the moment. Members and non-members alike are welcomed to participate in th
Over the past decade, CD sales have simply plummeted. A decade ago, it would have taken well over 100,000 sales just to crack the top 10, but today, some weeks a mere 65K will get you a #1 slot. And yet, the industry continues to charge exhorbitant rates for their products. CD's are still commonly sold @ 15-20 bucks a pop.

Will the industry simply switch over to 99 cents a song downloads? Well, while I expect the download business to increase for some years to come, I still expect that some will still prefer to own a "hard copy" of the music. Not to mention, to the more "audiophile" types, and some who just plain care aboutthe sound, CD is still a superior sounding format to MP3. Eventually, however, MP3's technology will match or even surpass the CD format. And eventually, the CD will go away, as did the cassette, 8 track and vynyl record album.

In the meantime, it's time that the industry perhaps did consider doing some price lowering. And that is for both formats. At 99 cents a downloaded song, it's still no bargain. And when you consider that offering a download is in the long run a cheaper investment for the company, it could be viewed as downright price gouging. With their declining sales, the industry should seriouly consider at least dropping CD's to a more reasonable price, under 10 dollars. If folks either buy more CD's or download more MP3's, they still win, the artists win, and the consumers win as well.


And if the industry is unwilling to budge, what about the artists themselves? While minor and unsigned artists have embraced the idea of selling their music online, It would be nice to see more major artists simply bypass the recording industry giants and just set up shop on their own. Certainly the technology is there, the expenses are minimal and might even be less overall than dealing with the "system." A few artists, like Chuck D, Phish, Grateful Dead and Amiee Mann have had some success in the past. It would be nice to see more of that.

In fact, with technologies already here, and what is on the horizon, home based recording could replace the traditional studio in a very short time down the road. In fact, it will be possible for a group of musicians to collaborate and record online, while sitting in the comfort of their own home.

Artists have long complained about the restraints and other negative factors the "corporate" side of music brings to the table. But for a long time, they were considered a necessary evil for anyone who wanted any measure of fame. Now, in this "flat world," with the tools available to simply bypass the corporate world of music and present one's "art" directly to their audience. Who will be the 1st acts to "take the plunge, outisde of the forementioned unsigned and minor acts?

This "future world" of online, real time, professional level collaboration and being able to inexpensively market your music to your audience is here. I believe the smart artists will embrace these new tools, while the rest let their $17.99 CD's sit on the shelf.

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Comments
on Feb 22, 2007
I don't buy CD's anymore. One of the reasons is that so many CD's have one or two good songs and a bunch of crap filling out the rest of the album. I know they all can't be top 40 hits but some albums it's just so obvious that at least half the songs are garbage that took no imagination at all.

I absolutely agree that the music industry will have to change their business model at some point. It's a changing world out there.

I think the internet has been a great thing for new music. There are so many great songs that I have downloaded because they were on someone's playlist and I decided to check it out. I would have never gone to buy the album of a song that I hadn't heard. It's also a great way to hear things that don't get played on corporate radio stations that only play songs off their corporate approved playlist.
on Feb 22, 2007
I buy CDs because I'm a geek when it comes to music. I like to know who played on the tracks, who produced the songs, who wrote them etc. I also like the artwork associated with off-the-shelf products. I like the bonus bits and pieces often provided and I also like actually 'having' the product.

Having said all this, I fully embrace the idea of downloading music. So many people own some sort of MP3 player these days (hell, even my parents have one now). Recording technology is so advanced and easy to use, lounge rooms or bedrooms can double as studios and produce high quality music that sells around the world. Most bands have websites that provide as much and, in some cases, more information than a CD insert does.

The major record companies still want to put their bands into ridiculously expensive studios for weeks on end. The results might be more polished but I don't think they're necessarily better recordings. These sorts of activies mean CDs cost what they do so the majors can make their money back. If the business model were to change, it would be to one where more bands were supported by major labels because the label's recording cost would be reduced due to current technological advances. It follows on that the more bands are signed, the healthier the whole music industry would be.

You've heard some of my recordings. All of the preproduction was done in my home studio, in my own time. The final recordings were done in a small, very cheap studio for less than $500 (these figures are in Australian dollars). Mastering costs are about $100 per song (exorbitant in my books, but necessary). So, for less than $1000, we have five good quality, decently produced songs. Add the cost of replicating CD's, which is cheaper the more you do and usually includes a four page full colour insert. If I wanted to do a minimum run of 500, this would cost about $1200. So, all up, it would cost a band such as mine a minimum of $2200 to get 500 copies of our disc into our hands. If the band sold the CD for $10, they would still be making over $5 back per disc. But the previous hasn't included promotions, distribution or marketing. All of these things cost. It costs money, time, effort and energy. Most bands, at my level, are doing what they do out of love, while holding down day jobs. In other words, they never get back what they put in.

On the other hand, if a band has a good website and works at gathering a decent mailing list at gigs, they can save a lot of money by providing downloads at significantly reduced costs. They don't have the added costs of producing CDs or artwork as their website has all that anyway. A website might cost a little to set up, but once running, is very easy to maintain. Promotion, marketing and distribution, therefore, is pretty much taken care of. So all the band really has to do is concentrate on making the recordings as good as possible.

I think it is still a ways off before bands will be doing their business exclusively online, but I think it will happen.
on Feb 22, 2007
I'm still an album-phile. If I like it, I get the CD. There are a few things that, if I've never heard it before, I'll download it, but if I do enjoy it - I always buy it. Always. I feel compelled to support my favorite groups.

Not economical, but very, very nice.
on Feb 23, 2007
I think it is still a ways off before bands will be doing their business exclusively online, but I think it will happen.

i think so too

I'm still an album-phile. If I like it, I get the CD. There are a few things that, if I've never heard it before, I'll download it, but if I do enjoy it - I always buy it. Always. I feel compelled to support my favorite groups.

me too. and i miss vynyl in the respect that the artwork and liner notes were so much better in the larger format.
on Feb 27, 2007
i miss vynyl in the respect that the artwork and liner notes were so much better in the larger format


I miss vinyl too. I've still got a heap of albums but I don't own a record player anymore, although I'm thinking of getting one that will convert my vinyl into MP3s while I'm listening to them.

I am going to get some of my favourite covers and frame them too.
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