Brad King compares the current music biz crisis with that of 20+ years ago:
- The recording industry blames the rapid decline of album sales on a new technology that allows people to easily copy and transport music. It’s expected to cripple the major record labels.
The year was 1979. Audio cassettes and the Sony Walkman were the feared technologies. Twenty-two years later, the industry is making similar claims, but today’s culprits are MP3 files and file-trading services.
The hit-driven recording industry has long been at the mercy of popular tastes, but executives still view emerging technology as dangerous.
Shipments of CDs dropped 7 percent in the first six months of this year, a fact attributed to an increase in music downloads through file-trading services, according to a report issued Monday by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
It’s the same argument the organization made two years ago during its legal scrape with Napster. Back then, however, record sales were still climbing.
Today, the decline in sales appears to bolster the RIAA’s case.
….”Consumers are beginning to understand what digital means,” said P.J. McNealy, an analyst with technology research firm GartnerG2. “That goes hand in hand with the PC manufacturers and the ISPs wanting to become entertainment providers. Music is the first introduction of that (thinking), but it takes time to change consumer behaviors.
“The music industry is going through another disruptive technology period like it did 30 years ago, and it will take some time to reverse revenues back in the right direction.”