Is There Big Trouble Brewing?

It seems there is some trouble in the recorded music industry. Sales of recorded music has fallen 5% in 2001, 9% in 2002 and the global forecast is for a drop of 12-14% in the year 2003.

Regulators, especially in Europe have blocked mergers between companies including Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI and BMG, and seem to be holding firm on their positions. The music industry feels that consolidation may be the answer to many of their woes. I don't know if I can agree with this.

Do you remember when you purchased an album that contained 12 or so songs? Usually 70-80% of those songs were great recordings with quality content. Now if you find 10-20% of the recorded content to be of any quality you are doing well.

The recorded music industry likes to blame piracy and the world economy to be the culprit. Could it be the lack of quality in conjunction with out of proportion pricing? Many companies feel that format changes may provide the diversity for multiple income streams. Is that why they continue to introduce recycled music in the new formats?

I myself feel a great resentment towards the music industry. I am sick and tired of paying high prices for low quality and I'm sure many of you feel the same way. If the industry would like to see the new formats have a higher acceptance factor, don't you think they would do so by releasing new material on the newer formats?

I don't get it. Is there anyone out there willing to embrace the new formats so that they may listen to recordings that they have been listening to for the last 30 years? Will the industry ever wake up and realize that the consumer is disgusted with the bill of goods we are presently being sold?
When I was fifteen I had the choice between The Who, Stones, and Allmand Bros. etc. etc.. There was no fabrication with these bands like there is now. I don't want to come across anti business but I just think there is too much meddling in the artist end product. I think the artist they are choosing to promote have a different skill set (video oriented) than maybe some singer songwriters that are not being promoted. Ozfly I agree with you regarding smaller local studios. I live in Athens, Ga which has a thriving local music business that does a wonderful job of getting local and regional artist in front of the public, live and otherwise.

There will always be the Spice Girls of the World, which I can enjoy as much as anybody. I'm just not going to buy their cd but I will still buy an Allman Brothers CD. I think the internet is going to empower the artist so when that big distribution deal comes along they'll be in more control. And it gives the artist that the big labels are passing on a relatively cheap distribution vehicle.

Let me just add that, if history repeats itself then just take a look at the college scene if you want to see the future of pop music. It is just downright uncool for college kids to buy a cd. They want the bootleg live in Aspen String Cheese Incident. And so do I. It seems to me that SACD was made for live music. I'd buy those tomorrow if they would put out some good live stuff.
Lokie: You, too, are suffering from selective memory loss. No fabricated bands in the 60s? Remember the Monkees? And what about Motown--talk about the suits meddling with the art, Motownpractically invented the form.

The way you people chatter on, you'd think the last people who had any decent new music to listen to were Adam and Eve. (Or maybe Abel and Cain, since the industry always catered to the youth market!)
T bone, I have to agree with you fully from a numbers aspect. My problem is with quality. If there was some form of relativity between price and quality, I would not have as much of a problem.

Example; (using your terms) In 1970, a Porsche 911 was approx. $6000.00. In 2003, a Porsche 911 is approx. $70,000. But, you are still buying the quality of a Porsche.

It would be very hard for someone to convince me that CDs cost as much to produce as an LP. If you consider just the packaging that was provided with an LP of that era, (album covers, sleeves, artwork, lyrics, posters, etc.) versus what is being provided today in the average CD. Let's not even discuss the quality of the musical content.

Several weeks ago I purchased several XRCDs. Beautiful packaging, excellent sound, overall a very nice quality product. This indicates to me that the music industry is completely capable of producing such a product. The cost? $30.00 each.

Personally, I have a hard time understanding how a product of this quality can justify it's cost. Does it really cost that much more to produce an XRCD with all of it's packaging versus the average redbook CD? And the real clincher is that the XRCDs that I purchased were all recordings from the 50s-60s-70s era. Is this indicative of the fact that maybe even the record companies feel that much of the newer musical material is not worthy of "special treatment"?

Let us also consider the newer formats such as SACD or DVD-A. How often do you see new musical material being used for these newer formats? Why wouldn't the industry try to promote their new formats using new musical material. I mean how many times are you going to purchase "rereleases" of Pink Floyd's Dark side of the moon?

With all do respect T bone, I really have a hard time understanding this.
You'all gotta start looking at the politics involved with all this nonsense. Politics, as in: 1) Congress allowing the radio waves to be dominated by two corporations, thus controlling what music we are subjected to, 2) Recording giants force feeding the masses the dirty joke...rap, grunge, hip hop, nearly explicit sex music videos, violence and the many anti-social fabric messages, and 3) the anti-piracy brigade.

Spank a man's monkey and he'll spoog once. Teach a man to spank his own monkey and he'll spoog a lifetime. Think about it. The music (actually the entire entertainment monopoly) industry has been quite busy catering to our baser instincts. The problem is: instead of buying the material to spank the monkey to, the same industry taught us how to share our materials. Pass the Playboy please.

Geez, with all the dynamic range available on CD's I find it interesting the most compressed music ever made is on that medium. Note that whenever there are gains made in digital storage that the extra space is usually filled with high calorie, high fat, low nutritional fluff. Apologies extended to the small, quality driven artists and engineers.

Connect the dots if you care to do the research. Microsoft, the RIAA amd hardware manufacturers (our beloved high end gear vendors too, not just computers) are joining forces to stop pirarcy. Soon, if the sun, the moon and the stars don't line up inside your playback equipment the music won't be able to come out. And, they don't care one whit about quality of playback.

Lest some bonehead (like Pbb) chime in and attempt to place the blame on the good 'ol US of A, let all know that this is being accomplished by international banking efforts. There are huge dollars, not to mention "control" possiblities at stake with degrading the worlds values. Sure, the control freaks are having problems keeping the masses in line, but understand, they have deep pockets and the will/ability to pull this off. It is our responsibility to correct the problem. My effort is simple. I will forever be vinyl based. I will only pay for music which is at worst, value neutral. I refuse to listen to radio except publicly owned, local stations which are few.

Here's a test for the doubters: find someone in your email address book that has an @MSN address. Record your own voice or your dog barking, convert it to an MP3 file and send it as an attachment to that person. MSN will block the recipient from receiving the file. Maybe that doesn't bother you in the least since you may feel that piracy is wrong. But consider the freedom you have lost in this process.

I'm confident that most readers here will believe I have gone off the deep end and am a member of some radical political splinter group. The problem with being so quick with waving off my statements is that they are covered on a regular basis in the business sections of my two local newspapers (One is owned by Gannett-McPaper, and the other is a Northwest region owned paper) as well as covered in the internet techie news and written about by main stream authors available in hardback at your local library.

As you are reading this your computer is keeping track (and reporting to M$) what you listen to or watch on your Windows Media Player. Web sites are placing spiders to take and report your activities to whomever places the spider. Doubt it? Download Lavasoft Ad-aware and run the program to find out how many snoops live inside your computer. The innocent answer to why is that advertisers can market directly to you based on your habits-without personally identifying you-ha ha. The real reason is that once the industry has bought the legislation they desire, you will be stomped with both bootheels. It won't matter if you have an MP3 of Mothers Day. Your computer will be corrupted or you will be sued. It doesn't matter if you are innocent. You'll still have to fix your computer or defend yourself in court.

I urge you to create a music folder in your computer. Download non-copyrighted materials or make your own. Label these files with names of real artists and real songs that are copyrighted. Play them on your Windows Media Player. Back up this "evidence" to recordable disks. If enough of us do this and we are damaged in the future, some lawyer will sue on our behalf and maybe we can redistribute some of this ill-gotten wealth back to us.

Sorry for the rant. Complaining about the lack of listenable music on one CD is but the tip of the iceberg. Please read a little more than the headlines and get informed.
Wow, I cant' wait to sit down to dinner tonight and listen to an MP3 file and enjoy a nice bowl of soylent green