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Music Industry Suicide

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Who’s killing the music industry? According to Hit Charade – The music industry’s self-inflicted wounds by Mark Jenkins in Slate, it’s the music industry. Short term quarterly profits, reliance on a handful of monolithic blockbusters, the refusal to encourage innovation and industry consolidation are the reason they are in trouble. Remember “home taping is killing the music business”?.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the five major labels that dominate CD retailing, would like to blame much of the slide on Internet music-file swapping. Yet there are many other causes, including the fact that the big five are all units of troubled multinationals—AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal, BMG, EMI, and Sony—that are focused on short-term gain and have no particular interest in the music biz. There’s also been a recession, of course, and resistance to CD prices that have grown much faster than the inflation rate. Perhaps the most important factor, however, is the major labels’ very success in dominating the market, which has squelched musical innovation.

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