I listened to a report on this on NPR yesterday ... the RIAA spokesman mentioned that "virtually all music is now available on the internet for legitimate purchase" (paraphrase). My question is: Where? Have any of you used any subscription services or other downloads-for-sale sites? Were they any good; could you find what you wanted? I haven't done any searches lately; I was disappointed when I tried before.
Ever since Napster's days I've been wondering why the recording industry doesn't absolutely embrace
the possibility of selling music directly to consumers online.
I admit there are probably a lot of factors at work that I don't know about, but even so:
1) Are there (insurmountable) logistical reasons why record companies cannot open up their entire catalogues for perusal and purchase online? If that were possible, I would think there would be a lot of money to be made on older and/or obscure music that no longer rates a place on the record store shelves. (I have downloaded music -- largely forgotten one-hit-wonders or childhood favorites that I wouldn't have had a clue how to find in a physical store.)
2) Selling online would allow for a very flexible way of pricing. Every song could be available as a single, if they wanted. They could offer a discount for purchasing an entire album as opposed to just a few songs -- giving the consumer the option. They could sell full-album-only during its peak of popularity, then go to singles after a few weeks or months. They could offer a volume discount for purchasing a quantity of songs from different albums and artists. The latest Britney crap hit could cost $2.50, but if what you're really looking for is something that only you and a couple hundred other people like then you could pick it up for a quarter. So many options!
3) They might
even make more
money off of selling the latest red-hot songs as pricey singles than they do when they force the consumer to choose between plunking down $15 or not buying the CD at all. Personally, I usually opt to not buy it at all -- I can't afford all the ones I want, plus -- like everyone -- I hate the lousy experience of getting the CD home and discovering that I only like 1 or 2 songs besides the hit on the radio.
4) I really don't understand the suscription service idea. Why give away an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee? Wouldn't they make more money pricing it my way? Maybe they're scared that people would just file-share instead (since they're used to getting an unlimited quantity for free); but I think most people would be happy to use a legitimate service if they could just get what they want
on it. Most people don't want to steal; when I downloaded music it was to get things that weren't available through other channels.
5) Start-up costs might seem prohibitive, but wouldn't that investment be recouped in savings from greater efficiency? E.g. less physical shipping, wasted shelf space on albums that didn't sell, leftover stock....not to mention having the consumer "in the record store" any time he's on his computer.
6) A huge selling point is that people love
their computer jukeboxes. All one's music organized just so, simple to find, rate, select, favorite songs only so you never have to hit the "skip" button ... and my teeny-tiny comp speakers sound better than my old stereo. Actually I've taken the CD's that I own
and put all my favorite songs on the computer -- it's just more convenient to play them that way.
So far I'm the only person I know who's looked at it this way -- there must be issues that I'm overlooking??? All discussion of why my grand plan can't work are welcome. I just want my music available on my comp!