Friday, June 22, 2007

Someone call a wahmbulance for the record industry

Picked up this week's Rolling Stone out of the trash (long story - someone got forwarded a subscription by mistake, he throws it away, I pick it back up), and find that record company executives are wailing and gnashing their teeth. Seems that album sales are down by 25% since 2000, they've had to lay off 4,000 people, blah blah blah, wah wah wah.

Well gosh, folks. Y'know, if you wouldn't collude as a cartel to charge $14.95 for a product that costs literally 25c to manufacture, maybe people would buy more of them? And if you would quit suing your customers, maybe your customers wouldn't get pissed and quit buying your product?

Besides, everybody is hurting in Bush's America, except for the top 1% of taxpayers, who are just getting richer (and this includes record company executives, who are getting pay raises while they lay off thousands of workers, though at least the morons who sued Napster out of business are walking the streets now, or, rather, taken their million-dollar bank accounts into retirement in the Bermudas). The company before last that I worked for got knocked out of business by the Bush Depression. The last company that I worked for came up with a great product, and it's selling like heaters in Death Valley in July. So over 2,000 record stores have gone out of business? Join the club. The only retailers doing worth a crap right now are Wal-Mart and McDonalds, and in both cases it's because they cut their prices to cope with the fact that, dude, things just fucking *suck* out here in the Real World(tm).

Now, I'm not saying that CD's need to be priced at 25c apiece. Obviously there needs to be some royalties flowing. But the free market is telling record company executives that colluding together to keep CD prices at the same level as the much-more-expensive-to-produce DVD's is not working. When the fucking soundtrack CD to a movie on DVD costs more than the actual movie on DVD, a movie which cost $80 million to make, it doesn't take a fucking genius to figure out that its pricing is out of whack. The movie studios are making money hand over foot on DVD sales because they chose to price DVD's reasonably and release a *ton* of their backlist even more reasonably on DVD. Will record studios do this? Nooooo.... they'll continue treating their customers as their enemy, continue suing their customers, and continue publishing the same old crap year after year while keeping greats on the backlist out of production to avoid their old acts sucking sales from their new acts.

Meanwhile things are going just fine in every other part of the music industry. People are listening to more music than ever. They're just not listening to it off of purchased CD's. If record industry executives had a fucking clue, they'd realize that this is a sign that the problem is one of them suing and pissing off their customers and overpricing their product, not a sign that people don't want their product. Sadly, you can beat stupid greedy morons with the Clue Stick(tm), but that doesn't mean they'll ever get a clue.

-- Badtux the Rude Music Penguin


  1. just this week i was talking with a young friend of my nephew's who is getting som pretty decent attention for his songwriting and performing. he asked me what i would do if i was 18 and just starting out in the music business. i told him that i would set up a webpage where anybody who wanted to do so could download my songs for free. while they were doing those downloads i would make sure that they had to watch the dates of the shows i had scheduled for the next few months. i would also spend the .25 cents to burn and package my own cd's which i could sell off the bandstand (or give away as promos to help the bar sell drinks). i don't know where the industry is going to go. i take heart in feeling pretty secure about my own little corner of it (jingles will always be money in the goddamn bank). but, in trying to save their little kingdoms the label suits are looking like the agents of their own destruction.

  2. Hello, Mr Penguin.
    I took a bit different path than Minstrel Boy, going with originals. Never could break in with that studio crowd.
    For most musicians, live shows are the money-makers. A lot of guys have 2 bands, one for the money and the other to make good music.

    The big record companies have a stranglehold on distribution. That's changing.
    But there's too much good stuff out there that doesn't have the attention of some exec visiting radio stations with freebies to kneel before the record companies asking, "What would you like for me to listen to next?"

    I think it's more of the consumers telling the record companies that they're promoting the wrong bands. Times have changed, and they haven't kept up.

    To hell with them.

  3. It would help if the record companies put out music anyone over the age of 15 wants to listen to. I get my stuff from cd baby or artist's websites.

  4. YEA - clap clap clap -- YEA - love it!!! (this post i mean)laoecp


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