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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming 375

itwbennett writes "At the Digital Music Forum East conference, held Thursday in New York, music industry watchers gathered to puzzle anew over the continuing decline in music sales. 'We have lost 20 million buyers in just five years,' said Russ Crupnick, a president at the analyst firm NPD Group who spoke at the conference. Moreover, only about 14 percent of buyers account for 56 percent of revenue for the recording industry. In years past, the blame was put on digital music piracy. At this year's conference, however, the focus was on free streaming Internet services, such as Pandora, MySpace, Spotify and even YouTube."
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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

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  • What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#35320934) Homepage streaming over the air, i.e. radio?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can control radio much easier than they can control the Internet.

      • Re:What about... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:19AM (#35321616) Journal

        Maybe. But it does seem especially bizarre that he's not complaining about 'stolen' music, but music that is properly licensed and paid for.

        I guess it boils down to, decisions that the major labels made several years ago to license their music to these streaming services, now seems to be negatively impacting their ability to sell the hot new song of the week. It hurts even more because they no longer can bunch that hot new song with 9 other songs that are even worse.

        Bad executive. No more coke and whores for you. And no golden parachute either!

        • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:16AM (#35321896)

          If the music was worth buying, people would buy it.

          As long as most of what they are trying to sell is disneyfied overproduced crap or bieberfied overproduced crap, we don't want it.

          • Re:What about... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by sharkbiter ( 266775 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:44AM (#35322018)

            Mod this person up! The music business is all about price models and cost per unit. Nowhere is there any genuine concern for the consumer's tastes, likes or desires. This is a market powered by dollar bottom line and not artistry in any way, shape or form.

            When was the last big superstar group? Bon Jovi, wasn't it? They rode around in a frickin' jumbo jet, fer chissakes! And when their music lost favor, where were they then? Right now I'm listening to Duke Ellington and am amazed at the variety of style that that man could come up with in his head and on a train with just a pencil and a blank scored sheet of music. No way in hell would the music conglomerates even think of signing on such talent in this day and age!

            • Their biggest problem is that they're not listening to their consumers and giving them their music in a format they want. The only music seller which does (ie. Apple) is still making huge money off music.

              That ... and number of people who are obsessed with music is declining. Consumers are now spending their money on other things, eg. DVDs, mobile phones, apps for their mobile phones, cinema, etc. The market has changed, music is less relevant.

              But still, keep on passing those laws and suing the few die-hard

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                The industry is used to telling people what they like, not asking. When you control radio and TV play you control what people get to hear and make sure they don't go off and get into say jazz or classical where you can't make megabucks. Problem is now the internet lets people discover music on their own so suddenly all these little guys are stealing a piece of their pie.

          • Re:What about... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @07:38AM (#35322722) Journal

            If the music was worth buying, people would buy it.

            The problem is that 'worth buying' is a moving target. A hundred years ago, you had a very small number of AM radio stations, none playing music all of the time. Buying some music was then very valuable, because it was the only way that you could guarantee being able to listen to music whenever you wanted (unless you were rich enough to hire a band).

            Twenty years ago, there were a few FM stations that played music most of the time. Enough that you could probably turn on the radio and listen to a genre that you liked, even if it wasn't one of your favourite artists. Genres were quite broad, however, so you may get a lot of things that weren't really very close to music that you wanted to hear. Buying music was still quite valuable.

            Now, there are thousands of Internet radio streams. You can connect to one playing music that you really like. I'm in the UK, but I often listen to one in California []. When I hit play, it's almost always playing music that I enjoy listening to. I've not bought much music for the past few years, because I find that I rarely listen to music that I've actually bought. I only do when I'm not near an Internet connection, but still want to listen to recorded music, which is fairly rare. I get a much wider selection of music that I want to listen to by turning on the (Internet) radio.

            Now, the record companies could do something about this by making tracks cost about 5 for a DRM-free download. At that price, every time I heard a track I liked, I'd be tempted to buy the entire album and listen to it, and I'd end up with a very large collection of music - large enough that I could listen to it in shuffle mode and get a similar variety to the radio - quite quickly.

            I pay Radio Paradise a small amount every month, but this goes to cover their costs - very little (if any) of it actually goes to the people who made the music. I'd happily double or triple my donation if I had some assurance that, at least 50% went to the artists. Unfortunately, the money that they pay for licensing goes to SoundExchange, and getting money out of SoundExchange is almost impossible for artists.

            • The problem is that 'worth buying' is a moving target.

              The problem is that people overwhelmingly buy what they are sold. Advertisers use borderline fraudulent techniques (in some places many of their astroturf marketing techniques are actually illegal as the source of funding or other compensation must be disclosed) to convince people to purchase things that they do not want by increasing their perceived value. I'm not suggesting that only things with intrinsic value have actual value, but something you don't really want, that you won't use as much as an advert

    • Re:What about... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:34AM (#35321046)
      My guess is that the radio station selection is rather limited. Hence, consumers were forced to buy music to listen to stuff they really wanted to hear when the radio got repetitious. Certainly, that's what I used to do: bounce back and forth between the regular radio (which gets old quickly) and my music collection every month or so (while buying new music to fill-out my music collection). Now, with pandora, I just type in the name of a band I kinda like and listen to that. It seems less necessary to buy music anymore because I have unlimited variety with pandora. At least they make ad-revenue from that, though. I kinda figured that might be where music is going: towards ad-based revenue.
      • by mhajicek ( 1582795 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:11AM (#35321274)

        I kinda figured that might be where music is going: towards ad-based revenue.

        You mean like radio?

      • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:13AM (#35321292) Journal

        My guess is that the radio station selection is rather limited.

        I've been scanning the dial only to hear the same song playing on at least 3 different stations at once.
        This is what Corporate Music has done to us.

        • Try a college radio station... it may not be good, but it's different.

          • I work at a college with a radio station. It *SUCKS*. I think they play the music they do simply because it's not what you'd hear on a normal station, and for no other reason. At least it gives the students experience for when they eventually end up in a real radio station, I suppose...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Music is going towards affordable.. unless on a shiny disc. The execs are still trying to hold the average selling price to above $10 for a CD and at least $1 per track for downloads.

        DVD sales prices adjusted to video rentals. Video rentals got squeezed by Netflix, Hulu, and other sources. Squeezed as in the royalty payments for rentals are high while the price they can charge is falling. Look at why rental is dying. The brick and Mortar stores are melting down as grocery stores and drug stores are selli

        • by raodin ( 708903 )

          Ripping CDs for personal use is covered by fair use.

          DVD ripping is only illegal because you have to circumvent encryption to do so, and the DMCA can then be used to do an end-run around your fair use rights. Audio CDs are not encrypted, so they are still fully covered under fair use.

      • Re:What about... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by makubesu ( 1910402 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:17AM (#35321904)
        I've had the opposite reaction. Whenever I find a great song on pandora, I want to listen to it again so bad that I usually buy it. Pandora does wonders for traditional markets.
      • The kids don't listen to radio any more. Radio is for old people.

      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:05PM (#35324248) Journal

        The entire problem recently is simple. It is the MP3.

        It has changed fundamentally how we listen to music, how we use music and how we expect to get it.

        Napster wasn't just about not paying for music, it was about a different way to GET music. Only very recently has the music industry stopped the old practice of releasing a song for radio with a lead of a couple of weeks before it is available in the stores. The OLD logic was that they would advertise it through being played on the radio, create hype for the release , then have it released on a day with people queuing like they were selling iPhones or something. It worked because the consumer really didn't have much choice. There were few radio stations back then and you couldn't count on them playing the songs YOU wanted, so to hear your favorite artist when you wanted to, you needed a recording of it. Because only physical media existed this either meant buying one yourself OR getting a taped copy from someone else (and this happened a LOT, far more then the record industry would have you believe) OR borrowing an album from a friend (this happened a LOT as well).

        There was no other choice, recording from radio was a lot of work and many stations talk(ed) through songs to try to stop this. The akwardness of LP's also meant people listened to music differently, you either had the radio on for casual listening OR had to flip a LP every twenty minutes or so for "serious" listening. While there were LP changers they were more expensive and couldn't play the B-side (at least mine couldn't, yes, I know I am old). The physical medium forced consumer behavior.

        With the Sony Walkman this changed. While tapes had been available before, now people COULD play music on the go and HAD to make their own tapes (commercial tapes are to short). This helped create the era of the mix-tape, where people would create their own mix of music and share this as some sort of DJ on an individual basis. It made people see LP's not so much as things you listened to, but merely as containers for music which you then "downloaded" to your Walkman.

        It was still a slow and akward process and the Walkman lost some of its original appeal. With the MP3 player it came back with a bang. Now people could create their own custom collection for hours upon hours of music. It changed the way people got their music.

        Rather then having to buy an entire LP pre-filled with a music selection or get a friend to mix a tape during a slow process with a desired music collection, you could just pick music up from all sorts of places and use it in one long playback. Until you actually created your own tape with different music from different sources you just are not capable of understanding what a change a M3U playlist is. Just put a binary file on your MP3 player and it will be played. Guy at work has a new song? Copy it and you can listen to it. Among your collection, no quality loss like with a tape copy, no having to splice it in or create a new tape.

        And because we could just take bits of music from anywhere, we did. My own early MP3 collections where a complete mix of different encoding settings and filename conventions, picking whatever song I liked from where I could find it.

        AND then LISTENING to it, whenever and wherever I wanted it. Exactly the music I wanted, anytime, anyplace.

        I don't just not buy music anymore, radio has all but disappeared from my life. If it wasn't for the radio on my MP3 player, I wouldn't even have a radio anymore. Oh wait, my clock radio has one and I use it because NOTHING wakes me up faster with the vile bitter hatred I need to get my day going then being woken by morning radio.

        As for ads? Why should I listen to ads when I pick my own music? Ads are what we put up with on radio until something better came along. We no longer consume music this way.

        And because we could pick up music anywhere, buying it is no longer an option. I had maybe a collection of 100-200 lp's. But that was build up over years and there were plen

    • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:56AM (#35321196) Homepage

      Radio doesn't play the music you want to hear when you want, there's no way to skip songs you're tired of and so on. You might find a channel that's reasonably close but that's it, it's no replacement for owning the song. Spotify lets you play any song directly, save playlists, take the songs offline etc. and is much closer to having a huge mp3 collection on a network drive, owning it isn't that important anymore. Instead of buying CDs or on iTunes to play, people skip the "buy" step and play from Spotify.

      To them Spotify is a huge double-edged sword. On the one side, it brings many pirates to a legal streaming service. On the other side, it brings a lot of profitable buyers to a not so profitable streaming service. But if they make Spotify worse then people will go back to P2P, probably in even greater numbers than before. Not that I think they can stop the move to digital downloads anyway, fewer and fewer use a CD player anymore. Delivering it on CD is just a very impractical temporary medium until you can get it ripped.

  • people are broke.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:23AM (#35320946)

    and most of the music sucks! What else is there to say?

    • And they're more concerned about the constrained supply of Bolivian Pink Flake. Music executives are what Charlie Sheen would be if he had no work ethic.
    • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:55AM (#35321770)

      How about "I really love Jamendo []"?

      Because I do. Just putting it out there in case anybody wants some nice, freely-available indie music to replace the RIAA trash and stop giving those bloodsuckers free advertisement and/or money.

      • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @05:16AM (#35322318)
        I will drink to that. I've found some pretty amazing talent on Jamendo, and honestly I get more enjoyment out of music when I know the artists are in it for the love of music. I'd also add in OCRemix [] if you're into remixed classic video game music. I'm not a huge fan of techno, but some of the artists have turned the video game music I grew up with into truly haunting and beautiful instrumental music.
        • While we're in the process of pimping sites..

          I want to add a link to a small net radio me and some friends are running : Nectarine Demoscene Radio []. It plays music from the demoscene, and some music from old games, where the authors were either a part of or a big inspiration from the scene. The music is either licensed from the artists (some of them even frequent visitors to the site), or public domain.

          The users themselves decide what to play (each user have three request slots), and the songs are then locke

    • by iplayfast ( 166447 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:57AM (#35322086)

      I agree. Maybe they could sell more music, if they actually hired musicians. You know, people that can sing, and play instruments. I can't believe people actually pay to hear hip-hop. Although I admit, it's not my generations music, I have a hard time hearing the music in it at all. Just shouting and a beat. I guess it's disco...

      I like harmonies in the vocals, and an actual tune. I like the occasional instrumental solo, but the vocals are key (not the bass).

      • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Saturday February 26, 2011 @06:12AM (#35322498) Homepage

        "I have a hard time hearing the music in it at all. Just shouting and a beat."

        It's poetry. The most successful form of poetry in history. Kids on street corners practice their poetry and aspire to be poets when they grow up!

      • "Although I admit, it's not my generations music"

        You should have just stopped there, because to me that simultaneously explained and undercut everything else you subsequently wrote. If you were 30 years older, you'd like Frankie Vallie, hate rock'n'roll and think Elvis was destructive.

        I have diverse musical tastes (rock, some metal, blues, some country, bluegrass, many types of electronica and produced music (techo, lounge, trip-hop, trance, DnB), some pop, classical, world). And I love a whole lot o
  • Funny... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:26AM (#35320956) Journal

    Funny that I bought most of the music in last 3 years after listening on Pandora.

    What they don't get is - digitization has made me purchase just one good song from otherwise crappy album and hence paying only a dollar and not a full 10-20$ they used to charge.

    • Exactly. Not piracy, not streaming. Crappy Albums from a bunch of Crappy Singers. It is hard these days to pick out a White Album or Thriller. Albums that history will remember and we will want to share with our own children.
      • But every generation thinks that modern music isn't as good as it used to be. There were plenty of people who hated the nice, clean sound of the Beatles, and who thought that Michael Jackson was just another generic pop singer pumping out tracks that sounded like all the other dross out there. In fact, listening to Jackson's later albums I can see where the basis for that opinion. But more importantly, you have forgotten just how much rubbish music you had to hear before you came across those memorable albu

        • Re:Funny... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:40AM (#35321722)

          But every generation thinks that modern music isn't as good as it used to be.

          Sure. But the thing is, this used to be something that happened once you hit 40 or 50, when you were old enough to have teenagers of your own.

          Now, almost as soon as you graduate from high school and get exposed to more diverse music in college, you look back at what you were buying and listening to, and wonder WTF you were thinking. Pop music has become so irredeemably shitty that the so-called generation gap is all but gone.

      • I hear this all the time whenever this comes up, but quite frankly, there are a lot of good new albums out there. Its just that they're not the 'blockbusters' of years yore, and as such are harder to find. Personally I like rock with a folk twinge... or maybe folk with a rock twinge, however you want to swing it. Also, plain old singer/songwriters with soft hearts and a nice voices. Some great *whole* albums from the past 5 years that I like are:

        Bishop Allen - The Broken String
        Gaslight Anthem - The '59

    • Heck, for a dollar you can get the whole album from gomusicnow.
  • Greedy bastards. Just suck it up like everybody else is doing it these days.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:46AM (#35321116)
      Except the big Wall St. banks. They're doing just fine. Cha-ching! Oh by the way oil is at $112, cha ching! We'll just get our friends at the Fed to keep interest rates at zero forever so you might as well stuff your money under your mattress since that way at least you will save on all the bank fees. You sure as hell aren't going to get any interest even on a CD. But remember to pay your 5-6% on your mortgage, plus all those other hidden fees, and pay your 20% on your credit card. Making money with interest is not for you, it's for us. Cha ching! Oh and we haven't told you what is going to happen to your savings with all this inflation we're not telling you about (believe the CPI because we take out energy and transport costs - hah, I mean, who uses THOSE THINGS anyway). Your house prices are not increasing though, so you're not even keeping up with this inflation. In 10 years or so you won't be able to afford a car, but we'll lend you one in exchange for your first born. After all it's your patriotic duty to save American car manufacturers! Cha ching!
  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:29AM (#35320996)

    "We have lost 20 million buyers in just five years," said Russ Crupnick, a president at the analyst firm NPD Group who spoke at the conference. Moreover, only about 14 percent of buyers account for 56 percent of revenue for the recording industry. In years past, the blame was put on digital music piracy. At this year's conference, however, the focus was on free streaming Internet services, such as Pandora, MySpace, Spotify and even YouTube.

    They will clutch at every straw and leave no stone unturned in their quest to increase sales... except for the myriad ways that they are their own worst enemy. It will never occur to them that suing your own customers is not good for business. They will never think that what is in my opinion the obvious "buy-a-law" political corruption (designed to institute perpetual copyright) in which they engage makes people with a conscience decide not to support them.

    They will never consider that threatening tens of thousands of people with lawyer letters demanding they either pay a settlement or face a lawsuit they could not possibly afford, with no regard for the fact that many of them were innocent, might earn them some ill will. Nor will they think that taking children to court and using interrogation procedures obviously designed to intimidate them is something that decent people don't care to reward financially.

    Nope, it's them evil pirates, those horrible music streaming services, etc. Of course it is. That adequately explains everything.

    It's at a base level and I openly acknowledge that, but I can't help but to smile when I see that they are showing signs of desperation. They deserve more failure than they are experiencing.

    • by oik ( 790336 )

      I totally concur. I actually had to stop listening to Pandora since it was becoming a bit of a financial drain: song plays, "Oh, that's good", click-buy-album, wade through a few more songs, wash, rinse repeat. I realise that I'm a bit old skool in that I still do buy actual albums (and that you do get bitten by the old one-good-song-in-chaff problem) but Pandora still found plenty of really good artists that I would have never stumbled across otherwise.

      I know I'm preaching to the converted here on Slashdot

  • I for one use YouTube to "try before I buy" and if I was going to buy something I might not, all thanks to YouTube!

    That said, I do buy a reasonable amount of music online, around $500 worth over the last year, so I can see where they got that 14% statistic from.

    I for one think that piracy is wrong, but there are some people who don't think like that. If they want more money they are going to have to provide a better service, especially by dropping the price. Thanks to YouTube I can decide that it is not wo

    • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:24AM (#35321344)

      I haven't bought any from them in years, and I won't be buying any from them until they learn to behave themselves and place nice. If they want to sue pirates, that's there right, but I'll be damned if I'm financing those questionable law suits. Restrict the suits to people that are likely guilty of significant distribution and ask for a reasonable sum and I'll start buying music again. Until then I just won't buy anything and they can make whatever they can off of those free sites like Pandora.

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Ahh...but you walk a dangerous road. I'm playing devil's advocate here, not trolling.

        What's 'significant' distribution? In theory anyone offering a song on P2P is offering it to millions. How many connect to them? What's the cut-off? Does it apply if you only upload a chunk, not a full song?

        The whole cost model is broken, the whole distribution methodology has already been superseded by an effectively FREE one, and the rent-a-lawmaker politicians aren't going give up their under-the-table perks so we c

    • by Eugenia Loli ( 250395 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:01AM (#35321526) Homepage Journal

      Agreed. Last year I paid *over* $2000 for music, so that puts me probably not just on the top-14% of consumers, but probably on the top-1%. But like you do, I always check what I buy, I don't buy whatever random stuff are around. Youtube has neither good or bad effect, because it neutralizes its position by helping me decide to buy something or not. If youtube didn't exist, I would probably buy LESS.

      What's the killer though is that 80% of my new music these days is downloaded for free from BandCamp rather than bought. Not because I don't want to buy (I've can prove that I do to anyone who would check my iTunes and Amazon receipts), but because the KIND of music I listen these days very rarely can be found on iTunes, and to much less extend, on Amazon. I started listening to obscure indie bands that record at home, and these people just do music for fun, and so they often don't charge any money for it.

      More importantly, it's that THESE musicians are pushing the boundaries of music, since they don't have to answer to any music exec. 95% of popular music will never win me back, so for these execs mentioned in the article, I'm already a dead customer. Even if I spend so much money for music (since it's mostly for indie labels' music, and the rest is music I get legally for free).

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Drop it to $1. You trade value for volume. When you drop the cost so low, you don't need fancy distribution methods or the ability to 'reclaim' your music you lost. Charge $1 for the album DOWNLOAD...your hard drive goes belly-up without back-up and you need to re-buy. Puts the responsibility on the user...but they could offer a service to list everything you've paid to DL before for a quick 'fill-me-back-up' megadownload...for a price.

      Companies love selling you the same thing over and over...this would

  • This sure sounds like management at my job trying to solve a problem.

    A must be causing this! Oh not A? Must be C then! Damnit if it's not C then it's gotta be B causing all our problems!

    Like gasping for air underwater...

    • This sure sounds like management at my job trying to solve a problem.

      A must be causing this! Oh not A? Must be C then! Damnit if it's not C then it's gotta be B causing all our problems!

      Like gasping for air underwater...

      It's the result of Politician's Logic:

      "We must do something. This is something, so it must be done!"

  • Really?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nyeerrmm ( 940927 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:32AM (#35321032)

    14% of buyers accounting for 56% of business sounds pretty normal. They're called enthusiasts. And I would bet a lot of that 14% probably do a lot of free streaming too.

    I'm guessing that I'm one of that 14% (I buy a new album every 2 weeks-ish lately), at least in the past three or four months. The main reason for that is that I started a job that involves a lot of sitting at my desk, and i listen to a lot of pandora.

    The market is changing, diversifying and reducing the power of "blockbuster" artists, and that's scary for these companies. However, streaming services like pandora make it *easier* to make money off of a diversifying music market, by making it easier to find new music even as tastes narrow. Hopefully theyll figure that out sooner rather than later.

    • Every time one of these articles about the music industry comes up, I remind everybody that there are alternatives [] to giving the weasels money. There are some fantastic artists there, and they *want* you to listen to their music and share it with others.
    • The market is changing, diversifying and reducing the power of "blockbuster" artists...

      If anything, these streaming services are doing the oposite. Just go look at Youtube's Most watched videos of all times. I'll be damned if Justin Bieber isn't benefiting from that! Sure, many people use Pandora (and the likes) for finding new music and listening to different styles, but to say that the blockbusters are losing their power because of it is short-sighted.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe if you didn't make it such a pain to use your product by telling people when and how they can use it this wouldn't be happening? Also, I'd buy more music from you if you actually released what I wanted. Give me easy access to Svetlanov's recordings of Tchaikovsky's Symphonic Poem Manfred, or good recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Harpsichord Concertos and Orchestral Suites. The complete set of Beethoven's Sonatas, and Chopin's Nocturnes and Etudes at reasonable prices and we'll talk again. B

  • by Dishwasha ( 125561 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:41AM (#35321076)

    The music industry is doing nothing to actually groom and foster music. My wife goes to bed every night with the same radio station on and I swear I have heard the same 5 songs repeated over and over and over and over again for the past 8 months to the point where I want to shove an icepick in to my eye. If you don't take risks and support more artists you're doomed to decay from the inside.

    • My wife goes to bed every night with the same radio station on and I swear I have heard the same 5 songs repeated over and over and over and over again for the past 8 months to the point where I want to shove an icepick in to my eye.

      Where I live, the owner of a classical radio station has decided to use the frequency for classic rock instead. So, that's one strike against it. They have advertised the classic rock that they claim to play on the local TV. Yet, when I tuned to that station (what can I say --

  • by bugi ( 8479 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:43AM (#35321100)

    14% of music buyers accounted for 56% of revenue. How is that shocking? So you have some kids buying too much over-priced music. How is that new?

    Oh that's right, you have "music execs" who either won't or can't do their job. Wait, how is that new? Maybe it's the reporter who jumped on some numbers and assigned the same meaning to them that "music execs" always give whatever numbers are handy. Or maybe a bad summary, but I'm now too bored to even spell out RTFA.

    Would it help to use percent signs instead of spelling out "percent"? Word problems are hard.

  • by CycleMan ( 638982 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:44AM (#35321102)
    I can tell them all why I'm not paying $18 per album: there's a thriving secondhand market and format conversion is easier than it used to be. I used to spend $1000/year on CDs. Now I'm mostly buying vinyl at thrift shops for a buck a disk. Someone's parents died and they don't have a turntable, so off it goes, and I find it. Granted, I don't always know if it's good before I buy it, but for a buck, I no longer need to; it becomes a great adventure. For the albums I really like, that's 10 MP3s for the price of one iTune. This won't work for those who need the latest releases or artists, but if you like classical, folk, or oldies, it's probably out there waiting for you.
  • by NoSig ( 1919688 )
    How the hell can these people NOT KNOW what is causing the decline in sales? Get focus groups together, ask a lot of people and look at the sales data. Such things will point out exactly what the problem is with no guessing or uncertainty, and these things are not very expensive to do compared to the budgets of these players. It defies belief that they don't know their problem, whatever it is. Yet if the focus completely shifts from one year to another, they can't have a good idea of the situation, except i
    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Ignorance is an amazing thing. You're suggesting Van Gogh to a blind man who can't understand what Red is.

      Willful ignorance, as is the case with the RIAA (and MPAA), is a step even further.

  • Alternatives (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lorien_the_first_one ( 1178397 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:59AM (#35321216)
    Here are some interesting alternatives not mentioned so far:

    Jamendo (CC music)
    SomaFM (streaming)
    BlueMars (streaming music for the space traveler)

    I use the bottom two every day and go to Jamendo when my eMusic account runs dry for the month.
  • They will blame the decline on any culprit they can come up with, first it's piracy, then it's internet streaming (neglecting that they are paid more for streams than any other broadcast service and it neglects that radio doesn't even pay).

    But what the decline is really tied to is that they stopped looking for innovative and new bands and started the whole new kids on the block / American idol create a 5 hit wonder who the company owns and gets paid almost nothing. They were so successful with this busines

  • ... will it take to beat into their thick skulls the simple fact that the music those dolts are pushing onto the public sucks.

    I try to listen to the radio, I really do, but I cannot for more than, maybe, an hour. During that hour I've probably listened to a half hour of commercials. I realize they have to pay the bills but the sheer number of ads one is forced to endure is ridiculous. Hell, many of the songs that the DJs are allowed to play are those that are used in commercials or are Autotuned to death

  • Makes you wonder who they consider in their "industry"... I know a lot of people still paying for music. The difference between 20 years ago and now is, now they are paying for live shows, T-shirts etc... indie artists give away the music and profit off their fans good will. The days of a large record company investing $50k in an artist, forcing them to sign a horrible contract and then ripping them off for the next 20 to 30 years are over. Old fashion radio was dead 10 years ago, and now is so laden with p
    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Hell, for what it used to (or "does") cost to record an album you can not only build the studio but go to a vocational school for 18 months and learn HOW to record it.

      When you consider what popular music is today, the majority if it is catchy more than anything else. It has very little to do with actual talent, skill of the sound engineers, or the quality of the recording.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:32AM (#35321384)

    Free streaming is not something of the last 5 years. Free streaming was invented more then 100 years ago []. And recording of the free streaming (for which the music industry pays) has been done on a medium that was licenced free of charge [].

    I understand them. They see Banks and other industries getting a shitload of money, so they want some too. It is as if they are saying "Boo-hoo, competition is HARD! Please give us enough money and power so the money we make matches the slides we showed our shareholders (which is us)."

    Well, if you don't like it, get out. But buying some politician is easier. Especially if the media is on your side and actually part of the whole process.

  • Blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame blame!

    Suck it up and get over it, RIAA!

  • I hardly ever buy music anymore, and the reason has nothing to do with internet streaming. Nor does it have anything to do with piracy, or any of the other reasons they like to cite. It's simply that I already have plenty of music.

    "Music" used to mean a physical object with a finite lifespan. Records wore out and needed to be replaced. Tapes wore out and needed to be replaced. But CDs changed that: you could play a CD as many times as you wanted, and the quality didn't change. You still needed to
  • According to the figures that I've found by a quick search, the unemployment rate 5 years ago was around 5%. It's now around 10%. With a US workforce size of about 150 million, that's about 7.5 million more people without jobs. So that's a good chunk of their lost customers right there. Even those with jobs may be watching their budget more closely (especially with the price of food and a lot of other more important things going up, while salaries have kept stagnant) considering that we are in a recession.


  • or anyway, something that:
    • isn't Apple (plays nice with Linux)
    • has automatic cloud storage
    • lets me save it, or stream it to multiple devices easily

    We've bought a few tracks here and there, but my wife isn't all that computer literate, and I don't support Windows or Apple stuff.

    So, for her to buy with confidence and know she isn't losing it and can use it again, it has to be pretty robust, but since Apple is actively hostile to Linux, it can't be iTunes.

  • Define "buyers" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjdude ( 470014 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:54AM (#35321488)

    We have lost 20 million buyers in just five years

    This is easily misleading. If Mr. Crupnick means "album buyers", he is more likely to be correct than if by "buyers" he meant total number of customers buying music. The fact that people can now easily purchase single songs when they previously were forced to buy entire albums in order to get only one or two songs they really wanted might have something to do with this. In fact, it might have everything to do with such a typically misleading music industry claim.

  • I stopped buying music when the labels started sueing their best fans. Doesn't seem right to support that kind of company.
  • by BearRanger ( 945122 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @02:07AM (#35321550)

    And then, around 1998, I stopped. Not because I started "stealing" it. And not because I started listening to streaming music. I stopped because I had enough music. Enough music to fill a 100 GB iPod. If I listened to it continuously I'd be playing music for weeks without hearing a repeat. Why in the world would I buy any more?

    As it is now I'll occasionally run across an old song I haven't heard for years. And wonder why. Buying more music, especially music that isn't as compelling to me as the old stuff, would be a waste of money.

  • I mean, that is what they use to do. You took some talent, and then they would give them enough cash/money to pay some of their expenses while they were still getting developing their skills. They would get time between albums to practice and learn to play. There was actual talent required to make/perform the songs. Now it is if you get one song that is a partial success/hit, they have them release a full album, when there might be 2 songs worth anything on it, and then play those 2 songs over and over and
  • Back when "streaming" was called radio, I imagine they were pretty happy with all the advertising they got, even if they did pay for it at times. Now there are enthusiasts creating radio stations and advertising for them, and these enthusiasts aren't getting a dime for doing it. They are even paying money out of their own pockets in many cases to keep their radio stations alive. I know I've found tons of music over the last few years listening to epicrockradio that I would have never otherwise found, and

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @03:05AM (#35321846)
    but what I was buying I found on back in the day. I like power metal, but it's so hard to find new bands. I know there out there, but there's lots of pretty lousy acts and even if funds were unlimited (there not) it's just too much bother to find them. I miss being able to just pull down a bunch of cool demo tracks from from up and coming bands. Stuff like Dragonforce, Power Quest, Frostweaver (anyone but me heard of 'em? Only had 5 tracks).

    I guess I got a taste of the good life (musically) in the 90s and it spoiled me. emusic was great while it lasted, but they've creeped up to to 50 cents a track and more. The economy's in the toilet. I don't have $30 month to blow on mp3s...
  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:02AM (#35322780) Homepage

    People aren't buying your product because your product isn't music. It's noise. Lousy noise, at that.

    When you learn how to master a CD without succumbing to the loudness wars, let me know.

    Also, when you learn to hire people with musical talent instead of the hacks you hire for looks these days, let me know. Until then you don't have a product I want.

  • by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @08:48AM (#35322922) Journal

    From my point of view in the UK, streaming music is the least of the record companies problems.......

    1. CD's have not got appreciably cheaper despite manufacturing costs having become so.
    2. Online stores that sell individual tracks have got more expensive (and the media companies enforce their region cartels to stop shopping around for tracks).
    3. CD's keep on getting remastered and the sound quality gets butchered because the record companies seem to think I like their idiotic loudness war []. I return CD's like this.
    4. Compilation CD's are also remastered sound (see point3 ).
    5. Tracks from online stores still do not offer FLAC as default.
    6. I have more important things to spend my money on.
    7. These days, record companies push what is laughably described as music, more descriptive to say it's noise.
    8. If your "artists" need to strip to their g-strings in videos and concerts to sell stuff, you should have figured by now your business is totally screwed.
    9. Not one song I can recall from mid-1990's onwards can ever become a classic, they are just cr@p. Record companies have done this suicide without outside help.

    All in all, I think it's obvious that I will continue to spend less and less on music. It is up to the illegal record company cartel to change their ways to make music attractive. Suing people for copying is NOT going to get more people to buy music.

    I have no sympathy for the position the film and music companies have got THEMSELVES in.

  • by aeoo ( 568706 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @09:06AM (#35322982) Journal

    Of course bad, boring, unoriginal and soulless music can't possibly be the problem. Trying to charge too much money can't be the problem either. Treating your customers as if they are thieves can't be the problem, nope... Suing innocent moms and pops for infringement and demanding 10 million dollars for each downloaded song can't possibly be the problem either.

    Oh right, it's Pandora's fault!

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll