What Does The Declining Price of Recorded Music Mean?
by, Jan-06-2012 at 8:26am (16510 Views)
That ever growing stack of CDs in your house, they turn into little furry woodland creatures at night when you sleep. It's true, because when you awake they've bred and multiplied, only with different names, different genres and different musical instruments. More than enough clutter to justify one of the most famous lines from the movie The Graduate: "plastics."
So we were happy to read that for the first time in history, sales of digital music downloads finally passed that of hard copy--CD, LP, etc. This news won't please everyone, but it's the new reality, or at least the one we're stuck with until another one comes along, and it will. Think Star Trek... "beam The Goat Rodeo Sessions into memory grid 81,678. Energize."
Along with the loss of all that paper, all that plastic, all that shipping, printing, manpower, etc., who pays $15-20 for a single recording these days? Not us.
We left a link on the home page for a good week or more to amazon because they were offering a ton of great recordings in the folk/bluegrass genre for $4.99, sometimes less. Last year, great new collections like those from Sarah Jarosz, Thile/Daves and many others were often on sale for even less. Sarah likely sold thousands of copies of her latest when it was on sale for $2.99. The amazon link is going to keep our attention for a long time. A few days ago they had over 1,600 recordings on sale at that price. This morning? Just over 40. OK, so it fluctuates. We get it. Note to amazon: looking for bluegrass and folk recordings mixed in with modern country is incredibly annoying.
iTunes, another great destination for digital purchases is an easy way to pick up a great recording for $9.99 (sometimes less, sometimes more).
And we're not even touching on all the digital subscription options. More music than you can listen to for $X.XX per month, unlimited usage. Sirius, Spotify, the list goes on. Will they surpass digital downloads?
Compare these to the CDs we paid $15.99 to $19.99 and up more than 15 years ago and then compare that to music prices in today's dollars. Ouch. We were spending a lot of money back then.
But are we really paying less for our music with today's money? We think so, but personal computers and mobile devices certainly come at a price (as did turntables, CD players). Are musicians making more as a result? Unlikely.
For one, we're happy with this change. Less clutter, more music for less money, easier to organize, more accessible, on demand.
That's our opinion.
We're curious. What's yours?