For about five or six years now, I’ve been hearing the music industry folks piss and moan about how downloads are killing their profits. My usual response has been to observe that (a) while true that CD sales declined in 2001-2004, those were also years of general economic recesion and it was no surprise sales dropped (the music industry has been pretty quite about this since the CD market rebounded along with the economy in 2005); (b) if you put out an over-priced crappy product, the market will respond.
The problem is that most executives in the entertainment industry have enjoyed their monopoly status for so long that when the market finally responds, they get caught completely by surprise and usually enter a state of denial. (This is equally true for broadcasting and movies and cable, al of which have spent the last ten years or so busily consolidating and producing predictable products. Eventually, sales and ratings decline. And these guys are are surprised and looking for some regulatory fix they can plug to solve their “problem” — like broadcast flag or limits on satellite radio.) As a result, they don’t want to hear that they need to stop abusing their customers and work for a living.
A recent poll provides one more piece of evidence which I predict the music ndustry and their lap dogs in Congress will continue to blissfully ignore. A recent poll shows that most music fans don’t “steal music” and are very happy to pay for quality products — particularly things like downloading that really suit their needs. But music lovers are tired of being treated like trained seals expected to buy whatever the music industry offers at whatever price they chose to sell it in whatever format the music industry insists on providing.
Why this trend is so shocking in the music industry when we see it in a variety of other industries (have YOU driven a Ford lately? Probably not, because they offer crappy behemoth-class cars instead of better fuel efficient ones) I have no idea. I guess being a cartel gives you such a sense of security you forget about that whacky free market you’re always praising in Washington.
Stay tuned . . . .