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After reading an article today about Universal Music cozying up to Apple again, I feel the music industry is doomed to fail. What they want to do is sell iPods prefilled with music from Universal Music’s massive library. Then charge a subscription fee for unlimited access to the rest of their music. Also Universal wants a kick back for every iPod sold (Do they really think that their music is the reason I want an iPod?).

This kind of all the music you can listen to thing is not new; Rhapsody and Nabster have been doing it for awhile now. I have tried music services like this and didn’t like them. I found that the limitations (DRM) were too strict and I would rather spend my $14.99 a month on a new DRM free album from Amazon.

The music industry needs to understand, we don’t want to pay for music. That means they need to think of other ways to make revenue. Just look at what Radiohead and NIN are doing. They are giving away their music (or selling it very cheap) and are still making money.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see some big players in the music industry trying new things, but when they are in the wrong direction it makes me remember why they are struggling in the first place. Subscription fees and kick backs are not the answer. They need to learn how to add more value (and/or bacon) to their products, and then we will want to buy them.

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8 Responses to The Music Industry Will Never Get It

  1. yohami says:

    Yah, we dont want to pay for music, movies, books, games or software. I dont like paying the rent either, I dont know WHEN they are going to understand that.

  2. Mosley says:

    @yohami

    I was hoping someone was going to say that.

    I guess what I should have said was, “We don’t want to pay for digital music that cost $0 to copy and pennies to distribute”. People don’t mind paying for a DVD because they get added value that a downloaded movie does not have. It has extras and higher quality.

    The music industry is still trying to charge the same for a both digital and CD formats of a album, when the quality and the value you’re getting is so different.

    So the industry needs to understand that the consumers are not stupid and we’re not going to pay the same for an almost zero production cost product.

    The industry needs to look at the bottom line and the “real” costs to produce music and set their pricing for digital offerings accordingly.

  3. Kenny Love says:

    I see this surmisement as two-fold, to which I would like to respond through dissecting it, for lack of a more appropriate description.
    _______________________________________

    > What they want to do is sell iPods
    > prefilled with music from Universal
    > Music’s massive library.

    I see nothing wrong with this, as the music serves as a (sort of) incentive and bonus. Companies unrelated to music companies have been doing similar deals with their products since the beginning of time, and will continue to do so after the clock has stopped ticking.

    > Then charge a subscription fee for
    > unlimited access to the rest of their > music.

    I see nothing wrong with this either, as it too is a familiar “buffet” landscape, with some of the most notable situations being your local cable provider or your satellite service.

    > Also Universal wants a kick back for > every iPod sold.

    Well, the “kickback” is after the fact, meaning, the iPod has already been sold and such a kickback doesn’t affect you as a consumer whatsoever. Perhaps, it is more of your own personal issue in simply being aware that such a payment is being passed along from your retail
    payment which, again, should not affect you. After all, it isn’t as if you must pay two different vendors directly for the same single product.

    > This kind of all the music you can
    > listen to thing is not new; Rhapsody
    > and Nabster have been doing it for
    > awhile now. I have tried music
    > services like this and didn’t like
    > them. I found that the limitations
    > (DRM) were too strict and I would
    > rather spend my $14.99 a month on a
    > new DRM free album from Amazon.

    No, it is not new, and you are going to find more and more services coming out with this “subscription” process as it simplifies and satisfies all parties concerned.

    > The music industry needs to
    > understand, we don’t want to pay for
    > music.

    Your statement here directly contradicts your previous statement where you say, and I quote, “I have tried music services like this and didn’t like them.”

    > The music industry needs to
    > understand, we don’t want to pay for
    > music. That means they need to think
    > of other ways to make revenue. Just
    > look at what Radiohead and NIN are
    > doing. They are giving away their
    > music (or selling it very cheap) and
    > are still making money.

    At this point, I must express my lack
    of understanding on how many people
    fail to see that music is the product
    created, produced, promoted, and
    distributed by musicians.

    This is the same as with a soap maker,
    a farmer, an auto maker, and every
    other commercial product or service
    manufactured or provided.

    However, with the literary arts and,
    particularly, music, because it is an
    intangible state, it is significantly
    devalued.

    Yet, try to imagine certain instances or sectors of our society that could function and be attractive to its target markets without the support of music.

    In fact, as musicians, let’s try the age-old experiment of boycotting society by taking a day and not playing a single note of music. Then, I believe everyone who doubts the validity and the role that music plays in our worldwide society would have a different perspective.

    Also, I’m not sure what you do as a vocation to put food on your table, but I’m sure that you don’t give it away or do it for free. And, I’m sure that if the suggestion was even made that you should do it for free, whatever it happens to be, it would incite not only a personal insult, but anger within you as well.

    > Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see > some big players in the music
    > industry trying new things, but when
    > they are in the wrong direction it
    > makes me remember why they are
    > struggling in the first place.
    > Subscription fees and kick backs are
    > not the answer. They need to learn
    > how to add more value (and/or bacon)
    > to their products, and then we will
    > want to buy them.

    In closing, I find myself questioning what makes consumers, such as yourself, immediate “experts” on the music industry and its mechanics. While
    I disagree with much of the “corporate” side of the music industry, too often, I have found consumers want to dictate and direct something that few of them have any remote knowledge regarding its operations.

    Add to that, a great number still pirate music and illegally share digital files even though music’s retail prices are at an all-time low. And, when consumers speak, more often than not, they are speaking about the direct income of the musicians themselves, of which I take great
    offense, since I too am a musician who earns my own living through various aspects of the Music industry.

    Too often, anger can be felt, heard, and seen from consumers such as yourself because music is not free as you wish, causing me to wonder if Bill Gates would also consider giving away about a billion copies of his software upgrade, since it too is classified as an “intangible” product.

    After all is said and done, you always have the option of not purchasing or supporting an artist’s work, thus, saving yourself an incredible amount
    of stress and wasted time writing essays such as this.

    And, no, I won’t buy you a beer as you
    requested because, not only was the post unenjoyable, it showed your overt lack of concern for another’s way of earning a living, and in this particular case, my fellow musicians.

    And, besides, I’m a wine man myself. Château La Mondotte Saint-Emilion red, if you please.

    Kenny Love
    http://www.myspace.com/jazzman795

  4. Mosley says:

    Kenny,

    A post I wrote in 10 minuets is a essay? I think of it more as a opinion. Essays usually need evidence to back up statements. I was just sharing an opinion.

    Also I think if you read my fallow up comment you will see that I am not attacking how you make money. I am just say that the way things are now the labels are making a killing.

    Also I don’t like how you assume that I steal music. I don’t I pay for it. All I was trying to say is that the need to stop charging the same for digital. The costs don’t justify it.

  5. Kenny Love says:

    > A post I wrote in 10 minuets is a
    > essay? I think of it more as a
    > opinion. Essays usually need evidence
    > to back up statements. I was just
    > sharing an opinion.

    A moot point, as I readily understand it was an opinion, and as I presented a moment of sarcasm.

    > Also I don’t like how you assume that
    > I steal music.

    I never stated that you, personally, steal music, as I have no way of knowing whether you do so, or not. However, it is a matter of worldwide public record that music is, indeed, pirated and illegally downloaded and file shared, thus, equating to the common form referred to as “theft.”

    > I don’t I pay for it.

    This statement above is incoherent, as it relates to my understanding. Please clarify it.

    > All I was trying to say is that the
    > need to stop charging the same for
    > digital. The costs don’t justify it.

    While I do not feel that online digital files should be priced at the same rate as their physical counterparts, i.e., compact discs, due to the absence of its physicality, I don’t see the issue with the standard one-time retail price of $.99 being charged for a digital download, if that is, indeed, the average rate that you are referencing.

  6. Kenny Love says:

    > The industry needs to look at the
    > bottom line and the “real” costs to
    > produce music and set their pricing
    > for digital offerings accordingly.

    In further response and, particularly, to this statement, please provide your own suggested itemized financial breakdown, starting with production costs and going through promotion and distribution costs, ending with your suggested retail price for digital sales. After having served as a recording artist, and now having been a music executive for almost 20 years, it is highly likely that I, possibly, am ignorant of a crucial bit of information as it relates to this specific element. Therefore, I eagerly await your response to this issue on this forum.

  7. Mosley says:

    Kenny,

    You’re the one that is in the “Music Industry”, so you should be the one providing ME the numbers to prove me wrong.

    I have a lot of work to do this weekend and can’t keep up with this debate. If you want we could talk about it on my podcast TalkObjectivism.com. It might be a good topic to cover. I record it live Sundays at 8pm EST.

  8. Matt G says:

    Kenny. In regards to what you wrote.

    Using allot of big words and directly quoting others just to throw it back in their faces isn’t the way to win an argument. It’s only a genuine display of the kind of sad self gratification one would get by writing only to go back and re-read it for pleaure. A true “working” musician, one who benifits from “the industry”, wouldn’t have the free time to visit a website primarily dedicated to bacon and attack it’s owner’s musical OPINION.

    If you were to reply to this, please include your bands name or your name so that I can visit I-tunes and purchase your music. Hopefully there are a few recordings of just you talking because I’m sure it’s far greater than any musical arrangement I’ll ever hear.

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