All entries for Monday 28 January 2008
January 28, 2008
The Model of the Music Industry Continues to Crumble
There is no doubt that online piracy and file-sharing has decimated the recorded music industry, which has been struggling to find an alternative business model in order to meaningfully survive. Interstingly the Jazz and Classical markets appear to be less affected when it comes to downloading. Usually the audiences are olde, better off and fussier about the music quality. Currently there are few sites that allow customers to download music files which provide even the equivalent quality to CDs. Linn the hi-fi company is one of the few. It can even offer studio quality masters at a price.
Global Music sales in 2007 fall by 10%
Leona Lewis helped boost online music downloads
The organisation blames music piracy for the shortfall. It is calling on internet providers to disconnect people who repeatedly download illegally.
The (Music) Empire Fights Back
Today was meant to see the launch of Qtrax which is an online only site which is going to allow visitors to listen to any of up to 30 million trqacks perfectly legally. This content would be paid for by advertising. Before every track ordered can be listened to the listener must undergo a barrage of advertising. Qtrax claim to have got the support of all the big four record companies:
But Warner, EMI and Universal all say they have not licensed their music. (BBC article)
Despite the hype Qtrax failed to meet its great opening on the announced day. checking it site today only got a beta version as announced in its logo. There is a lot of opposition out there not least from Apple who do not wish Qtrax to become compatible with its iPods.
More online shopping for music: not all deals are "good deals"!
Amazon has announced the international rollout of its digital music store. Already operating in the US customers can download music without any digital copying protection. Soon millions of songs will be sold without Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, allowing - for example - customers to burn their own CDs freely. Amazon says it is the only retailer to offer DRM-free MP3s for the four major record labels as well as thousands of independent record labels. However this offers no real advantage over buying a CD and has the disadvantage of being recorded at a lower level of quality than a CD.
How far are the Music Industry's "Problems" of its own making?
Perhaps the music industry needs an even more radical overhaul than just finding alternative models of making as much profit out of music as before. We have now entered the era of user generated content. Very high quality recodings of music can be made relatively cheaply as the price of sophisticated recording technology continues to drop. But with most music downloads being listened to on inferior sound systems there seems to be little point in making huge efforts to provide such high quality original sound and "adding value" i.e. trying to put up the profit margin. People quite literally aren't buying into it. Sell a lot more music a lot more cheaply and have more bands working and cut out the super star celebrity bit. Instead lets just get back to the music and the culture that surrounds that music.
The music industry has for decades being accusing the very people it relies upon for its existence as being 'pirates' or thieves. If people weren't feeling so ripped off and if music was sold at a fair price then it wouldn't be a problem. Popular music by its very nature is ephemeral it belongs to the moment it is part of the Zeitgeist. Making more of it more available as the Zeitgeist moves would help profit, help the industry and provide audiences with what they want. The Music industry has failed the great test of all media enterprises: keep your audiences happy. what the media consumers are regualrly being accussed of thievery?
The shake up at EMI promises to cut a lot of the fat out of the music industry, it will be leaner, fitter and all the better for it, but it is still at its heart a celebrity / star model of music selling.
15 Jan 2008 - Could EMI's latest idea to get specific sponsorship for bands change the face of music in the future?The new boss of EMI, Guy Hands, has announced job losses of up to two thousand which is about aiming to save the label £200m a year. EMI was taken over by the private equity firm, Terra Firma, last summer but this new development about sponsorship suggests brands could become more involved with music. (My emphasis BBC)
(Sorry this is work in progress at present)