Is This The Future?
By Ian Urie
By now, most people will know that the new Prince album
has been given away free as a covermount with a Sunday newspaper.
Surprisingly, not everyone is happy about this.
Record Industry figures have been scathing about the give-away,
saying "it beggars belief" and other such nonsense.
Their stance is that if CDs become so devalued that they are given away, then their industry
and shops will become defunct.
However, Prince is unrepentant about it.
And why should he be?
He is also giving away the CD to everyone who attends his concerts.
As his spokesman said, Prince generates most of his revenue from his concerts.
His last album is reputed to have sold only 80 thousand copies, so a print run of
nearly 3 million means his music will be in a lot more homes than last time.
If those homes play the music, they might like it and buy more........
sounds like a win situation for him.
Record companies have been complaining for some time about the demise of their sales.
Other industry figures have pointed out that they need to change their business model.
Downloading music has been blamed for most of the damage, but then again, they also blamed
home taping for destroying the industry as well (and that was over 30 years ago).
Surveys have found that people who download music are also the biggest buyers of music.
Could it be that the music they like isn't available?
I know that most of the music I listen to isn't on radio.
In my younger years, I listened to the radio and heard bands, then I went out and bought the records.
Now, I have to search the internet or listen to online radio to find the music I like.
I still buy music, but most times, it's online now, simply because record shops only stock the latest chart sensations.
By chart sensations, I mean, the bands that record companies are pushing, and there's the rub!
If the record companies were listening to their audience, we might see a resurgence of sales.
As was pointed out previously in this magazine, people don't want a download, they really want
a CD, with properly printed cover art, lyrics, information about their band.
They also don't want a CD that prevents them doing what they want with the music.
I, for instance, instantly copy the CD onto my MP3 player, and burn a copy for the CD player in the car.
As someone who has seen their prized CDs vanish when the car has been broken into, once bitten twice shy.
Now, the record companies don't want this.
They'd prefer I bought three copies of the music!
I hate to say it, but it ain't gonna happen.
I secretly believe that most illegal downloaders are those that don't know how to rip a CD.....
or can't find the music in a shop.
I notice that more and more bands are taking their future in their own hands and selling their music themselves.
Unsigned bands are proliferating and Prince is now taking it one step further.
Record companies are still singing the same song, though.
They are continuing with their campaign of tracking down downloaders and sharers and dragging them through the courts.
They are continuing with DRM and trying to control every means of people listening to music.
..........and their sales keep dropping.
Wonder how this will turn out in a few years?
Will we end up in a "1984" scenario, with the big Brother record companies controlling all music media?
Will those that have proposed a blanket tax for artists win out?
(If that comes about, will it kill the fat cats of the record industry?)
The funny thing is that their audience will eventually decide.
It could be a big decision for everyone to make.
Look on the bright side, music has come and gone for more years than record companies.
I look forward to the future and bands that play music I like remaining for a long time.
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