There’s a great op-ed article in the NYT today, written by two former independent record-store owners, that does a good job of laying plain what’s happened to the music industry over the past few years:
“The sad thing is that CDs and downloads could have coexisted peacefully and profitably. The current state of affairs is largely the result of shortsightedness and boneheadedness by the major record labels and the Recording Industry Association of America, who managed to achieve the opposite of everything they wanted in trying to keep the music business prospering. The association is like a gardener who tried to rid his lawn of weeds and wound up killing the trees instead.”
They make some great points about the rise of single-oriented mass-appeal artists (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, etc.) and what “the death of the album” really means for music consumers, and the retail outlets that one used to actually be able to go to to buy said music.
“The major labels wanted to kill the single. Instead they killed the album. The association wanted to kill Napster. Instead it killed the compact disc. And today it’s not just record stores that are in trouble, but the labels themselves, now belatedly embracing the Internet revolution without having quite figured out how to make it pay….”
“…It’s tempting for us to gloat. By worrying more about quarterly profits than the bigger picture, by protecting their short-term interests without thinking about how to survive and prosper in the long run, record-industry bigwigs have got what was coming to them. It’s a disaster they brought upon themselves.”