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The Forum > Article Comments > Bye, bye, Miss American Pie (chart) > Comments

Bye, bye, Miss American Pie (chart) : Comments

By Trajce Cvetkovski, published 4/4/2006

Pop music industry faces extraordinary challenges as burning, ripping and sharing music becomes rife.

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Firstly we should reckognize that music is a fundemental part of our culture AFAIK every culture has music and IMHO people will always be happy to pay a fair price for music.

The recording industry was established in the last hundred years to take advantage of the various forms of vinyl, tape and digital media. To achieve economies of scale it is more profitable to sell 10000 copies of a single albums then 10 copies of 1000 different albums and so the current industry was developed with top40's, lots of hype and a handful of superstars.

Computers and the net have changed the music environment to the extend that the above business model is no longer as profitable. However the recording industry has defended their business model tooth and nail and in doing so have alienated their customer base.

What is really needed is new business model. Amazon has found that their is plenty of money in the long tail, ie those books not usually in the bookshop. Music has an even longer tail, as there is plenty of music that is not even in print. For example Neil Murray (Good light in Broome) has been out of print that means and that you can't buy it even if you really want to. There is no excuse for this lost revenue, it could easily be available on line.

The smaller labels have much of their music for sale on line with free tasters in a reduced quality format. The internet boom has shown that few upstarts really make it and that with some delay the bricks and mortar majors dominate the online market. Imho we can expect the major labels to copy the minors business models.

Dr Trajce Cvetkovski raises an interesting point in the commodisation of music. In the 70s and 80s music was the only home electronics application. Now it has to compete with computers, game consoles and dvds and music is loosing out. As people spend a smaller portion of their time and budget on hifi and music the industry cannot expect a similar revenue stream.

Posted by gusi, Wednesday, 5 April 2006 1:22:33 AM
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Piracy is a crime but it can be reduced with some common sense fair-use laws. Currently it is illegal to copy any digital music in Australia. Including the CDs and records you have owned and loved for years. Most new cars have an MP3 player (iPod) docking bay so you don't need to bring all your cds in the car. But how many people would buy an extra mp3 copy of the albums you already own on CD? Not many I reckon. The medium term future of media is hard disk, there are numerous hifi components that stream music off the computer into the hifi or a set of head phones. Microsoft has even created a special version of Windows (Windows Media Center) that is optimised just for this application. Again can we expect people to buy extra copies of CDs and DVDs to place on their computer? How many (presumably music loving) record company executives have never created a tape in their youth?

A radically different business model is pioneered by Pandora. Here you subscribe to a monthly service that is like music on tap. However you cannot request specific albums or tracks. You provide a few songs and it will play music in that genre. It gets it pretty close. If the industry moves a way from superstars then the public will be more open to music they haven't heard before and this business model may well succeed.

People love music in their lives and are willing to pay for it. The recording industry holds all the cards at the moment, it has contracts with current musos and the back catalogues. They have every reason to be able to succeed with a different business model. So please stop whinging about dwindling profits and get on with it!
Posted by gusi, Wednesday, 5 April 2006 1:23:22 AM
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It couldn't happen to a nicer lot of bastards. The hollywood moguls obviously want this copyright racket to go on forever, whereas the whole idea originally was to encourage authors in the same manner as patents by providing protection for a limited period (originally 16 years). The idea was to provide benefits for the author and his family, not to create an unending income stream for corporations unconnected with the author. Fot many years copyright lasted for 50 years after the author's death, but it has now been extended to 70 years here and 95 years in the US. I don't think many people would oppose prosecution of pirates who sell their copies, but those who do for personal use do not harm the author in any way because they wouldn't buy the item if they could not get it for free. The current arrangement is a cosy one between big business and government, who both do very nicely out of it. At least in Australia any prosecution on indictment must go before a jury, and they are free to return a verdict of "not guilty" in the case of personal copiers. The value today of any income more than 20 years in the future is virtually zero, so the claim that extension of copyright encourages authors is a load of tosh.
Posted by viking21, Wednesday, 5 April 2006 8:43:00 AM
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