Like oil, music is pumped out and commoditized by large corporations. Commoditization occurs as a goods or services market loses differentiation across its supply base. Sound familiar? The goods in question is the garbage being churned out by the music industry. Like the wars waged for other commodities, the corporations are at war with consumers and the battle field is the Internet.
Technology is killing music
In the 80’s and 90’s people would ask their friends for recommendations and share mixtapes. It’s apparent that ‘high speed dubbing’ has been replaced by ‘drag and drop’. Thank goodness for that, it took me hours to splice mix tapes and my music doesn’t degrade over time. Like a broken record, pardon the pun, the music industry has used the same old line since the 1980’s. Copying is killing music? No, the only thing killing music is the music industry.
Failed to diversify, blame the Internet
It’s now possible to obtain trend information and track specific files being sharing in the digital domain. This type of information was not easily obtained in the world of analogue high-speed dubbing. These figures are the biggest weapon in the music industries arsenal of misinformation. I doubt that even a paltry 10% of blank cassette or VHS tapes sold in the 80’s were used in dictaphones or handy cams. Cassettes were used for copying and distributing, and the large labels still made huge profits. The Industry skews figures to justify their war on customers. They want to squeeze every last cent out of the us to maximize their profits. Music is not a commodity, they should stop treating it like one.
The internet, and all it entails – MySpace, social networking, file-sharing, blogs – has destroyed the importance of the physical ownership of music. – Hazel Sheffield – The Guardian
Peculiar statements such as this highlights the successful brainwashing of the masses by the RIAA and the big four. Vinyl sales are increasing. The Internet is an enabler and an important communication tool for musicians, local music scenes, independent labels and alternative music festivals. Social networking sites have enabled other people to share tracklists, music reviews and podcasts. Most importantly; discovery and even creation of new sounds and genres. For example the Internet has aided the growth of the Dubstep scene worldwide through forums and blogs.
It’s foolish to ignore the future of music distribution. It’s obvious that the old encumbents are bloated and slow to act. The 2009 book ‘Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Recording Industry in the Digital Age’ sums up the music industries loss of control
amid the actions of extravagant, sometimes cocaine-addicted executives — ending with the seismic domination of the download,
which slipped out of the industry’s control before its chiefs could decide how to harness it.
A fine example is the demise of Tower Records. Music industry ‘experts’ blame Tower Records’ closure on its failure to compete with the Internet. The high paid executives probably never heard the saying ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. You’re meant to be ‘on’ the Internet. Not competing with it. I’m sure if Tower had taken their head out of the sand and started selling music online in parallel to allow iPod docking facility in their stores they would be still be alive and kicking today. The once-ubiquitous Tower Records is gone because they failed to diversify.
Today, it’s clear Sony is failing to diversify. Over the years Sony has been abismal in the field of innovation and diversification. Like the ingenious mini-disk, the Sony Memory key and their fabulous attempt to infiltrate your computer with a DRM trojan virus. Ironically, even after attempting to copy Apple iTunes, the mighty Sony failed again with ‘Sony Connect’. Their profits dropped from a whopping 2.2Billion US$ in 2007 to 110 million in 2008. Chump change I shout! Sony & others have shot themselves in the foot repeatedly while pointing the blame elsewhere….
How are we ever going to tame this rampant corporation killer know as the Internet? Answers on a postcard to 550 Madison Avenue, New York.