Posts filed under “Music”

DVDs continue to cannibalize CDs

OK, my last rant for the year about the music industry

Yesterday, we discussed the attempts to wring more dollars out of smaller numbers of music buyers. Today’s rave looks at a new fallacy gaining traction: Decreasing CD sales can be supplemented with increasing music DVD sales.

That gets it exactly backwards; its increasing DVD sales which are c ontributing to decreasing CD sales. Consider this bass ackwards NYT headline: “Music Labels Look to DVD’s as Sales of CD’s Decline.”

A more accurate header would have read: “Sales of CD’s Decline as DVD’s Soar.”

We considerd this previously in terms of DVD movies. Lately, we’ve been noticing DVDs as a music format (concerts/videos) is also kicking CD ass. Its not overstating it to say that DVD music sales have been slowly eating away at the entire CD format.

It’s no surprise why: at $15, the CD is a decreasingly attractive value to consumers versus the DVD. One contains 45 minutes of audio; the other 2 plus hours of audio, video, documentaries, interviews and additional content. Which provides a better bang for the increasingly tight consumer dollar?

The music biz marketing wizards need to face facts: CDs are a lousy deal. Indeed, the so-called free DVD given away with a CD purchase is a misnomer; buy the DVD — the more desired product — and it comes with a free CD.

As much as they desperately want to blame P2P, the dysfunctional Labels need realize that nearly all of the “old economy” media have been suffering a sales slow down: Newspaper readership is down big; Televised sports programs have seen their audiences slide; Film attendance is soft (revenues are up due to increasing ticket prices); Magazine sales have been lackluster; The Book Industry Study Group reported that sales dropped by 23 million units from 2002 to 2003.

Increased competition from many digital formats — internet, TiVo, DVD, video games, and digital music — are competing for scarce consumer time and money. Indeed, today’s NYT reported that a recent survey found that "use of the Internet has displaced television watching and a range of other activities. Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day, compared with the national average of two hours."  Time is hydraulic, the study’s author noted. "Time spent on the Internet is time taken away from other activities."

Why is it that only the music industry gets to blame the P2P boogie man for its woes?


Music Labels Look to DVD’s as Sales of CD’s Decline
Robert Levine
NYT, December 27, 2004

Is Hollywood to blame for the music industry’s woes?
Meredith Amdur
Variety, March 31, 2004

Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing
John Markoff
NYT December 30, 2004

Category: Film, Music

Music Industry Responding (slowly) to Pricing Issues

Category: Finance, Music

A Different Kind of Top 10 Music List For 2004

It’s year’s end, and that means list time.

The annoying thing about the ubiquitous year end list — best Books, best Movies, best Albums — is that they tend to be compiled by people who read, watch or listen to stuff for a living.

Most of the listed items are nanoseconds old. And while that’s de rigueur for someone who does that professionally, it has little correlation to the lives the rest of us lead. Gotta job, family, obligations? Then you probably don’t get to listen to hundreds of new releases each year. Good luck then, making an intelligent top 10 list.

Movies? The days of waiting on line opening night are long since gone for this old man. A majority of the films I ended up renting, buying or pay-per-viewing this year were not 2004 releases. Wanna make a helpful list for me? Tell me the best stuff on HBO next weekend; Knowing 2004′s most critically acclaimed Eastern European documentaries is of little use for most people.

OK, rant over. Here’s a different kind of top 10 list; these favorite CDs are what actually got listened to in 2004. While a few of these came out this year, that wasn’t a requirement. These are what actually spent the most time this year on the iPod or in the CD player of a person with a job and an ever decreasing amount of spare time.

The task was made infinitely easier by iTunes, which shows me the chronological order of when CDs were ripped, and purchases made via ITMS, or downloads via a P2P service, as well as the number of plays each song got. Incidentally, the correlation between my downloaded P2P tunes and subsequent CD purchases is extremely high; I’ll bet others have had similar experiences. Don’t expect an RIAA study looking into that phenomenon anytime soon . . .

Anyway, on to the top 10 list:.

~ ~ ~

Roman Candle  Says Pop

Roman Candle’s debut is a joyful assortment of finely crafted pop
tunes. If FM Radio didn’t suck, this is the sort of music you would be
hearing on it right now. Finely crafted lyrics mated to delightful
melodies delivered by a tight power pop five-some in a surprisingly
slick production. Like nearly all the discs on this list, this one is
really good from start to finish.

Why didn’t you ever hear of these guys? Roman Candle hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and signed with an independent label. No payola, no Clearchannel — and no radio play.

Roman Candle   Says Pop

Bonus:  I discovered Roman Candle through BBC 2’s Bob Harris Check him out.

~ ~ ~


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