Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Another reason why the RIAA sucks...

In the news today, the RIAA is blaming music piracy for their decline in sales. My comment is below:


The reason their sales are down are myriad. First of all, most of the new music today sucks. Consumers are starting to realize that the process is broken, and that most music showing up nowadays is overpromoted derivative crap. There is no current overwhelming musical trend, the way grunge, for instance, was huge in the early '90s, or boy bands and barely post-pubescent girls were in the latter part of the decade. Most "artists" now are overproduced and overmanaged, and it shows in the diminished quality of the material. Consumers are finally waking up to it some.

The other huge factor in the decline of sales... Hmmm... Might it be... a recession? Perhaps?

When people have less money (or perceive that times are tougher), they will spend less on certain luxuries. CD's are a luxury. There is more competition for the diminished dollar, and so I refer you to the first part of my rant above. When the music sucks and people have less money to buy it with, they're going to pass up on music in favor of other pursuits.

What music there is is horribly overpriced. In the late '80s, before the shift to CD was complete, most vinyl albums still cost well under $10. CDs were newer technology, and so the price point got set higher - most people could tell there was a difference in quality and so they put up with the higher price. There's no excuse left now, though - it costs less to manufacture, store, and ship a CD in real dollars than it ever did to handle LPs. Factoring in inflation, there is no reason a CD should ever cost more than about $12 to the end purchaser. The only excuse is greed.

As for me, I bought five CD's last year (TMBG, a couple of Lyle Lovett discs, an old Hank Williams disc, and Springsteen's live album). My wife bought two (U2 and something else). I downloaded a couple of dozen songs - most of which I already owned on old vinyl and a couple of which were "pirated" singles. I also ripped all my CD's into iTunes, threw it on a server in the house, and now I can stream my jukebox to any room I want at home, which is neat.

Okay - I've fessed up. I have, among other things, a downloaded copy of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" (what can I say - she annoys me but I can't get that damned song out of my head!). Put the cuffs on. But seriously, I offer my tiny, relatively weak voice to the din in the vain hope that someday a record company exec will read this and have an epiphany:

If you (the RIAA and it's member companies) continue on your present path of being as consumer-unfriendly as possible, I will eventually be pirating all my music. Just to spite you. I can afford to buy it but I won't because you suck.

But if you do the Right Thing, lower prices (hell - just stop raising them!), stop putting out the same old drivel, and make it easy and inexpensive for me to buy music, I will buy a lot more of it. That small portion of your profits that can be attributed to me will go up. A lot.

Which is no big deal by itself, but I'm pretty sure that I'm far from the only person who feels this way.

No comments: