said that the Music industry is having another of it’s
periodic whinges about anything and everything, and how hard
done by they are – down to their last few lines of coke, no
doubt. I should of course say that the music industry does
nothing but whinge these days, about the terrible and heinous
crime of music theft through the internet and anything else that
delivers their product without its traditional 900% mark-ups.
carefully overlooks the fact that Radio has been broadcasting
music for “free” for the best part of 75 years, and that
compact cassettes have been around for the past 25 years,
providing Napster, AudioGalaxy and Gnutella with a pretty good
issue seems to be that the portability of “acquired” music
is getting simpler and more pervasive as smart media and Sony
memory stick devices are starting to get affordable.
Of course, the minidisk format has also been around a
while now, too – and entry level PCs come with enough hard
drive on them to keep all the MP3 music a “normal listener”
is going to be able to handle. But by far the worst part of the
news for the industry is the way that fans mercilessly
demonstrate that they actually only want the best two or three
tracks from an average album.
pause for a moment and remember where music comes from. It comes
from musicians, not lawyers and promoters. Although you could be
forgiven for forgetting that in the recent rash of litigation.
exploitation by the middle men only really started in earnest
last century as mass music distribution became “enabled” by
(printing) technology. The
publishers came into existence to promote the existence of their
“clients” when communication in general was a pretty patchy
thing, and limited to sheet music. Although Marie Lloyd in a
music hall could do a lot to popularise a tune, the advent of
broadcasting made the music business much simpler – and the
process now pretty much boils down to “what does it take to
get a tune onto the play list”. Outfits like MTV obviously
have to beg on bended knees in front of record producers for
permission to feature their clients’ tracks and videos, and
the commercial radio scene has never been known to “cop a
brownie” in return for hyping a new release, has it?
What??! Perish the thought.
start of the year, the music industry was saying that CD sales
had not been affected by piracy; but now the latest figures are
suggesting that it is starting to hurt. So what’s been the
music industry’s only real answer to what’s going on the
real world? Close Napster – or at least turn into a pale
shadow of what it once was. There is now also talk of
“fixing” audio CDs so that they cannot be easily copied in
CD burners – but there is still nothing that could stop them
be ripped into MP3s and Napstered.
it’s video industry’s turn, with shares in US video rental
are apparently starting to sag, reputedly because of the
prospect of “web based video on demand” . Well, I
can imagine that some folks have got more convincing home
wideband connections than any we have seen, because VoD only
seems to works where the servers are located at local exchanges.
believes in the VoD fairy’s ability to chop out the middle
man? Why, the film studios, and all this is even before the
music publishers (which also includes film studios like Sony and
managed to get to grips with any new aspect of earning a bean
from “audio on demand”. This may be ironic, because the film
industry believes that it can chop out the middleman, while
largely the same media industry has been telling the music
creatives that they need to have a “middle” tier in the
distribution of their wares.
precious little evidence of any effort to evolve in the music
industry, so the field remains wide open for the “right”
proposition, which isn’t CDs containing 12 tracks for £12,
when you probably only want 2 or 3 of them anyway.
The video industry is subtly different – for the film
business, the idea of video sales in the form of VHS or DVD is a
serious bonus that few ever really thought about until quite
climate where there has been a lot of scorn poured on things as
prosaic as on-line grocery shopping, and its complete failure to
make a dent on traditional shopping practises, the ideas being
mooted concerning audio and video distribution make an
interesting contrast. On the one hand, the internet is
apparently capable of reducing a mighty and well-established
industry to rubble in the space of a year, and on the other, the
internet is barely able to make a dent.
oldest story in commerce – “e” or otherwise – cross the
threshold on value for money, and people will vote with their
feet and anything else they can muster. Being charged £10 for
delivery and checkout prices for groceries just ain’t exciting
buyers have a budget in mind for buying their music, and
they’ll probably spend it either all on one CD, or on 20
individual tracks. Just look at the success of pre-pay cell
phones for the “younger generation” users.
business has wet feet. Will they ntoice when that damp feeling
creeps up past their wears, I wonder..?