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Fan Memo to Music Industry: Lower Prices

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On February 16, 2006 @ 1:46 pm In Music | Comments Disabled

I have a lot of digital media items queued up, but this one is so dead on with many of our prior comments on the subject that I couldn’t wait for tuneful Tuesday:  Music Prices Are Too High.

Here are the results of a recent Rolling Stone/AP poll:

"Music executives love to blame illegal downloading for their industry’s woes. But, based on the results of a new nationwide poll, they might want to look in the mirror.

Eighty percent of the respondents consider it stealing to download music for free without the copyright holder’s permission, and 92 percent say they’ve never done it, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of music fans say compact discs are too expensive, and 58 percent say music in general is getting worse.

"Less talented people are able to get a song out there and make a quick million and you never hear from them again," said Kate Simkins, 30, of Cape Cod, Mass.

Ipsos’ telephone poll of 1,000 adults, including 963 music listeners, from all states except Alaska and Hawaii was conducted Jan. 23-25 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

While the industry has been quick to blame piracy, they have refused to accept blame for the generally mediocre quality of the music they have been pushing.

Additionally, consumers have long ago figured out that CDs are a poor value proposition. It makes little sense that 45 minutes of music retails for $16.98, while 2 plus hours of digital video goes for the same price, and often much less.  Its no surprise that 352.7 million tracks were sold digitally in 2005 — at an average price of 99 cents, while CD sales slid in albums sharply in 2005, down from the 762.8 million sold in 2001 to 618.9 million.

Here’s what consumers are saying:

"The industry would be wise to embrace downloading, said Greg Hoerger, 42, of Minneapolis, who suggested that customers could receive five or six free downloads from an artist when they buy a CD.

For fans like Hoerger and Simkins, buying a CD for about $20 is no bargain. They’d rather download one or two favorite songs to their iPods. The digital music revolution also has other benefits, Simkins said: with the iPod, she no longer has to have cassettes or CDs cluttering her car.

The last CD she bought, a few months ago, was by the Killers. "It was on sale," she said."

Its harder to blame the crappy music on the sales decline, as cumudgeons like myself have been bitching about lousy music since the days of Disco. Taht hasn’t stopped anyone from tryiing, however:

"Many fans also say they just don’t like what they’re hearing. It may not be surprising to hear older fans say music just isn’t what it used to be when they were growing up. But the poll also found that 49 percent of music fans ages 18-to-34 — the target audience for the music business — say music is getting worse.

"Even if our parents didn’t like how loud rock ‘n’ roll was, or that it was revolutionary, at least they could listen to some of it," said Christina Tjoelker, 49, from Snohomish, Wash. "It wasn’t gross. It wasn’t disgusting. It wasn’t about beating up women or shooting the police."

The last CD she bought was Neil Diamond’s new one, "because Oprah was raving about it," she said.

I was surprised to read that "Rock ‘n’ roll is the most popular style of music, cited by 26 percent of the fans. It runs neck-and-neck with country among fans ages 35 or over."

Go figure.


Fan Memo to Music Industry: Lower Prices [1]
AP Entertainment Writer, Thu Feb 2, 4:45 AM ET

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[1] Fan Memo to Music Industry: Lower Prices: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060202/ap_on_hi_te/downloading_music_ap_poll

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