A fine analysis of what’s going on with the recording industry by Jeanne A. Naujeck of The Tennessean: digital downloads break albums down into songs, which has refocused attention on singles, which the industry phased out in an effort to drive more lucrative album sales.
A large number of music fans don’t download, don’t really want to download and the industry can still them then CDs for years to come if the price is right – the figure mentioned here is $8 – and greater flexibility is built into the system. If the industry responds to this, their current model can last a while longer, if not it won’t. Medium to long run (10 years?), however, the future is the “celestial jukebox”: all songs available for a reasonable fee ($.05-.25 each?), with documentation and art if desired. Prepare to accomodate this future or be prepared to go away.
- Did you cry when they phased out the old 45 rpm record? Have you noticed that you can’t find CD singles? Ever spend $17.99 for an album you only played once?
Many music collectors share your pain. And in 1999, when a college freshman named Shawn Fanning invented software that let people trade tracks online, tens of millions of people joined a world where they could download only songs they liked. No filler.
People want to choose and organize music their own way, and if the future of music is indeed a singles world, smart businesses will find a way to accommodate it and capitalize on it.
”It’s pretty clear the consumer wants flexibility about what they purchase,” said Joe Kraus, co-founder of DigitalConsumer.org, an organization that says it favors fair use for copyrighted material and compensation for those who created it.
”It’s the promise of online — stripped down song to song, you can customize every album to taste without paying extra. To fail to recognize that is to deny the thing that makes the medium powerful.”
Digital delivery is the means by which consumers could one day have unlimited access to all the music they want.