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Sales of Music, Long in Decline, Plunge Sharply

"In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music.

The sharp slide in sales of CDs, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, has far eclipsed the growth in sales of digital downloads, which were supposed to have been the industry's salvation.

The slide stems from the confluence of long-simmering factors that are now feeding off each other, including the demise of specialty music retailers like longtime music mecca Tower Records. About 800 music stores, including Tower's 89 locations, closed in 2006 alone.

Apple Inc.'s sale of around 100 million iPods shows that music remains a powerful force in the lives of consumers. But because of the Internet, those consumers have more ways to obtain music now than they did a decade ago, when walking into a store and buying it was the only option." -- Read more

Numbers have spoken. Thanks dylunio for the link.




I really wonder if it actually does have much to do with downloading from the internet. If you go to a CD shop now, you'll find that it's almost empty compared to the amount of CDs to choose from a few years ago. Less CDs in the shop means that more often you have to order them, and it's much easier to order them from amazon and the like. So sales go down for the shops, which means their selection becomes even smaller, etc etc.

But then just as many CDs would be sold through the net, right? Not. In the past I liked to walk into a CD store look around between shopping for other things. Internet shops are only visited when looking for a specific CD.

But then what songs are downloaded? I don't P2P-share, but I guess it will be mostly songs heard on the radio or recommended by friends, things for which we wouldn't have bought CDs in the past but used tapes.

Well, that's what I think.

I hope this will make the

I hope this will make the music labels reform, from the article they quoted a manager who said CDs were only a form of marketing now, with the money coming in from concerts, tee-shirts etc. I also don't P2Pshare for legal reasons and find it easier to buy CDs in a shop with my own cash than to download from the web in any format DRM encumbered or not, since I do not have a credit card. As tbuitenh has said the choice in the 'media' shops has declined, which makes people go to the internet for their CDs which results in less browsing, and fewer CDs being bought. Since I only really go to bricks and mortar 'media' shops this reduces my choice, which means that I buy fewer CDs... It seems a kind of self perpetuating decline.

Anyway I hope this will reform the music industry in a good way, resulting is less DRM, fewer 'cloned' bands/groups etc. you get the drift. Though my hopes may just be way too naive when one thinks of the RIAA and its friends.

Well whatever the details of

Well whatever the details of the issue I think internet definitely is the one to blame for these declines, as it should be. That's called progress.

Note though that, according to the article, one billion songs are shared over "illegal" file sharing networks. It seems to me like this is where most of the music traffic goes nowadays..

Anyway, even though I could, I rarely find myself downloading music except for some mixes which aren't by the major labels, but by artist-owned labels (like Armind by Armin Van Buuren). They are mostly aware that this stuff is shared over forums, rapidshare etc. They play those mixes all the time on internet radio stations anyway, which brings me to maybe the biggest source of online music for me: internet radio station. Smiling

I would however be willing to pay a few bucks for a DRM-free friendly-licensed album that I would really love to have (through sites like emusic or magnatune).

And this is the future I think, friendly licensed (like Creative Commons), DRM-free music for a few cents a song or few bucks an album over these web sites. It can even be free if they manage to grow big enough to support themselves with advertisements and sponsorships.

Hmm, but you know what..

Hmm, but you know what.. there is something about these p2p networks that I can't get around. But it's hard to talk about it without being branded an all out supporter of illegal file sharing (even buy Free Culture supporters who rightfully believe we should respect copyright if we intend for others to respect our copyleft, because copyleft is based on copyright). But this.. not being able to talk about it, feels almost like a restriction. Even here on I am beginning to feel, myself, as if it is a taboo topic.

It's like "don't you dare speak positively about illegal file sharing networks" now, especially after that thread I wont link to from here.

This just doesn't sit right with me. Overwhelming masses of people share music over these networks, including people I know very closely (gosh, do I really need to censor myself.. yes my sisters) and I just CAN'T bring myself to see it as a bad thing. I can't imagine in no circumstance that what they are doing is wrong. Artists aren't deprived of their music.

So I guess what I'm saying is that this broken system that we have here should find a way to make this file sharing over p2p networks completely legal. It is obvious to the birds on branches that this is what majority of the society wants anyway, and yet this majority is somehow forced to think of it as an underground activity.

The thing is, it isn't really an underground activity anymore. Gosh, cops know about it! They do it too! People in government do it, without a doubt! I would dare to go so far as to ask you to show me anyone who hasn't illegally downloaded a song, at all? Never????

I hate to be pressured not to talk positively about a trend like this, especially not on a site which is about freedom, a site which should be the oasis of free speech, no matter what I'm saying. Why should I suppress my positive feelings for p2p networks on this site?

No I'm not sure that Free Culture copyright argument even cuts it. Sure we should respect copyright. That doesn't mean we shouldn't sympathize with p2p networks (yes even illegal ones, which aren't branded as such anyway?) and believe in that this copyright law should be changed to allow for their existance and continued legal flourishing.

So what now? Am I supposed to shut up about that?

EDIT: Here's the question for you. How the heck can I respect copyright and believe that it is so upside down, sick and harmful at the same time?? I am being asked to respect copyright for the copyleft's sake and I am beginning to see a paradox in that plea. I don't respect copyleft because of copyright. I respect copyleft because it is what this damn copyright should become.

In other words, I can't respect copyright as long as it is not copyleft. But.. again that paradox.. because current copyleft licenses are a hack on copyright, hence made enforcable by the current copyright. What am I suppose to make of all this I wonder.



Hi! I've been reading for some time now. I decided to register because I love this site.
So, about 'illegal' filesharing: libervisco, you shouldn't shut up about it. I feel the same about this topic; if you share you do not steal, sharing is just the opposite of stealing. And it's not that I am taking money away from the artists, I am just not giving this money to the already rich people. Rather than buying music I prefer to donate money to artist that I like from, where the music is free (creative commons) and donations go to the artists, not to jamendo.

Hi sickie, welcome!

Hi sickie, welcome! Smiling

Donating to Jamendo artists is a good idea for sure.. Now that you reminded me and I was listening to internet radio right now anyway, I'm listening to some Jamendo artists. Smiling

I don't really use p2p networks nor am I a heavy downloader, but yeah I do sympathize with them and don't find anything wrong with people downloading music except that it is currently illegal.

I think your way should be an example, you download music, but at least you in turn support artists who specifically offer their music under terms that make it legal to share it (under copyleft, what should be a new copyright).

P2P filesharing networks are


P2P filesharing networks are great, but as long as the MAFIAA continues to behave like it does, it's not smart to publicly admit you use them for downloading non-free licensed files.

In this context it may look like a lie, but the truth is I have never done that. As long as I'm "clean", I'm much less vulnerable to legal action from the MAFIAA meant to make me shut up. Being a libervis moderator, that seems like a good idea.

Well, alright I suppose

Well, alright I suppose there is a difference between saying that you love p2p networks and publically announcing that you use them for illegal downloading (hypothetical "you" I mean). I understand that.

I might have overblown the issue a bit above.. just felt like my freedom of speech is put to doubt if I have to be *that* careful not to talk about illegal file sharing in a positive way.

Truth be told I barely use any p2p networks these days, illegal or not. They don't work very well on my connection anyway. The few downloading that I am doing is of thing that aren't owned by Big 4 anyway (I don't really listen to nor like mainstream music much).

I too do not think P2P

I too do not think P2P filesharing is a bad thing, and greatly support reform of the copyright laws etc. but this does not change the fact it is against the law in my country, and I do not want to break the law so I do not practice it. Of course I do use P2Psharing for things CC'd works etc. since there are no legal problems with that.

Copyright, Copyleft, Copymiddle?


Do I use P2P for the occasional song? Yes.

I have a personal rule: If there are three songs on a single CD worth having (that I'd save to my hard drive, burn to a CD or even link to a streaming media page) I will buy the CD.

My bedroom shelf is filled with several hundred CD's but I've noticed a growing trend.

The total playing time on those albums is shrinking, the number of tracks is shrinking, the diversity of the songs are INCREASING and the number of good songs per album are shrinking. This isn't to say music is getting worse, because I very much like music. It's that the content of the CD's are being mixed to appeal to a wider range of people (and hence, rock bands have a more pop like sound on 5 tracks, for instance) and the 6 great songs a band or artist can churn out are being dropped over three albums filled in with crap.

Because these digital music vendors refuse to release DRM free music in the USA, I'm faced with the option of 1) Download illegal files where the artist gets screwed out of the appreciation money the record cartel chooses to grant them. 2) Comprimise my ethical values and purchase defective, restrictive and offensive DRM encumbered content or 3) Stick to the radio, where I can hear current music for free, without DRM and buy concert tickets for bands that I like.

Since I'm not willing to sacrifice my values, and I'm not willing to be sued over an album I think is too crappy to blow less than an hour's wage on, that means I do very little purchasing of music now.

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