Regardless of how you feel about the legality or morality of file sharing, there is no question it has forced the recording industry to increase the value of CDs with add-ons and bonuses, and reduce the price of CDs in general. Check out all the bonuses on the new P.O.D. release:
- PlayStation 2 game that comes included on a DVD. Or the one who wants it for the trading cards packed in the cover. Another P.O.D. fan is after the documentary about the band, also on the DVD. And the last wants the CD because it offers access to unreleased P.O.D. music online.
Bundling a album with a raft of value-added extras – while charging just a dollar more than the standard price for a CD – may sound like a costly move for P.O.D.’s label, Atlantic Records, part of AOL Time Warner. But it is a testament to just how desperate music companies are to stoke consumer interest and reverse a three-year sales slump by pulling fans away from making free downloads of music from Internet file-trading sites.
While the P.O.D. album, scheduled for release Nov. 4, is unusual in the amount of extra material it will carry, it is just one album in a flood of new CD’s promising extras. Recent discs from artists representing a broad cross section of genres – from R.& B. diva Mary J. Blige to singer-songwriter Elvis Costello to punk band Pennywise – have come with extra material.
….The bevy of bonuses continues even as Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record company, put into effect plans to slash CD prices up to 30 percent on coming releases.
….But some music industry executives say price cuts are necessary. “We would not be reducing the price of music if we were not fighting” free music, that is, popular file-sharing services like Kazaa and Morpheus, said Jim Urie, the president of Universal Music and Video Distribution. [NY Times]
Read again what the Universal executive just said. Extraordinary.