Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 3
Well, it's hard to measure a "value proposition," but I'll try to respond to your points:

Music consumers in 2002 develop far less personal relationships with their music versus 10, 20 years ago, and this will kill record sales over the long term.

Difficult to evaluate, but very questionable. Music purists have been criticizing the Industry for decades now, and it's hard to fathom that the listeners of today have a much different relationship than our infatuation with the Hair Metal and Bubblegum bands of the 1980's. Splitting the difference, here's a link to the Top 40 chart for 1987:

The Bangles, Whitesnake, Robbie Nevil, Bruce Hornsby, Wang Chung, Lisa Lisa, Tiffany - there's always been plenty of ephemera mixed in with the longtime favorites.

The value proposition is worse because the CDs themselves are losing functionality. This is all relative to the time period you are talking about, but I can't justify buying a CD today that is copy-protected for the same price as one that wasn't copyprotected a year ago.

The value proposition isn't particularly worse than in, say, 1997, when there was very little reason to copy an audio CD track at all; or 1990 (when the average retail price of a CD was also around $15), when there was no way to copy a CD whatsoever. Given widespread proliferation of portable and auto CD players over the last 5-7 years, one could argue that even copy protected functionality is greater than it was during the late 1990's - does that mean that you're willing to pay more than back then?

In my view, as someone who now almost exclusively listens to music on an ipod and on the computer, CDs are kind of useless, just devices for carrying files and should be priced as such.

If the majority of the market used CD's the way you do, then perhaps the industry might price them that way. But I'm pretty sure that most people don't. Most folks buy CD's, and listen to the CD's. There are more than 100 million CD players in the United States (according to the internet, which we can always trust!), and folks use 'em.

Although it's easy to say that "CD's are a ripoff," it's hard to prove it. They've been a hugely successful product, and immensely popular. For any product, there is a demand curve, and folks at the tail end will only reluctantly buy - griping all the way that the seller is charging more than the product is really worth.

It is equally easy to say that record companies should start charging less for CD's because it's now so easy to steal the content, or because the measures necessary to protect the content from theft make the CD's less usable. I'm not the least bit surprised, though, that publishers don't take that viewpoint. A store with a high incidence of shoplifting isn't going to respond by lowering prices. Thus, when you ask:

Why does the industry refuse to respond and instead choose to keep its head in the ground?

...the answer is obvious - they look at filesharing as stealing their product, and are not going to lower their prices to compete with "free." Instead, they will try to ensure that their product is as protected as possible.

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.