Thursday, May 06, 2004

Music industry looking to raise the prices for online music downloads...?

The music industry doesn't know when to chill out. The suing of music downloaders has been at least somewhat effective at chaning attitudes about P2P theft of copyrighted material. But the main music consumer complaints remain - that the state of pop music is the dumps, and more importantly that CDs are a rip off.

Lots of consumers have begun to pay for music downloads from online services like iTunes, which at 99 cents a song isn't so bad. But recently, as I've noted before here, they've begun to demand more money for new music, which destroys the incentive to download the music because you the CD costs the the same and in some cases more. No one wants to pay the going rates for CDs, it's too much - so by raising the download prices they are going to drive just as many people back to KaZaA as they drive to purchase the CDs. Check this out:

At the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., Glaser recounted his general frustration in getting the record labels to offer creative pricing beyond the 99-cents-per-download model. In fact, some labels -- emboldened by consumers' apparent willingness to pay a buck a song -- are talking about raising per-song fees rather than lowering them to increase volume.

"Can you explain what planet the record labels are on?" asked Walt Mossberg, tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal and moderator of a one-on-one interview with Glaser at the conference.

Glaser smirked. "I guess I'd call it Planet Spreadsheet," he said. "The problem is that they don't look at it holistically."

Not only are they going to dirve people back to P2P services, they are going to be driving them straight to newer services like, a new russian company offering music for $10 per gig (wow!). By the way, Gizmodo has tried it out and liked it - read about the experience here.

No only all this, but as most of us are now realizing - CDs don't even last. When I saw these articles about "CD rot" I only wondered why they'd never appeared before. I've been losing CDs to rot for years - that's why I recently ripped them all to a seperate external harddrive, to archive the music on them (which is fair use as a mere shift in media and because I didn't need to circumvent any data protection device or encryption to do it, which would violate the DMCA).

The rampant pirating of copyrighted material has to stop, but the music industry needs to play ball, not just sue everyone and jack up prices. The music industry needs to work with their customers instead of alienating them. I really believe that most people want to and are willing to pay for their music - but not at $20 a CD. No matter what Congress does about the problems of P2P, they can't enforce their statutes in Russia.

Via Wired.

Update: A new article in the NY Post claims that soon songs on iTunes are going to be priced up to $1.25, with some full albums going for $16.99 (the same prices you can get the CD for, or more even).

EMI and Sony Music, which this week launched its own download service called Sony Connect, were said to be the most aggressive on pricing.

Article here, via Gizmodo.


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