For the last five years, they’ve been sitting around wringing their hands saying, “MP3s are coming, what do we do?” In the meantime, many people buy MP3s but even more do not because they know that if the place they bought them from goes bankrupt, they’ll have DRM problems and will not be able to re-download those MP3s if their hard drive crashes or a virus eats their operating system.
But now, the industry is back in fighting form:
The Universal Music Group could rewrite U.S. music pricing when it tests a new frontline pricing structure, which is designed to get single CDs in stores at $10, or below.
Beginning in the second quarter and continuing through most of the year, the company’s Velocity program will test lower CD prices. Single CDs will have the suggested list prices of $10, $9, $8, $7 and $6.
To accommodate the lower pricing, UMG labels also plan to step up deluxe versions of albums that can sell at higher prices for the more devout music fans and collectors. – Billboard
They used to blow off the internet because it’s for nerds, but that changed, and now everyone uses the intertard. Completely weird. But I digress.
The old days of the record industry were big profits. They got these fat profits by signing foolish people like Elvis Presley, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson and having them produce a slightly more quality version of really dumbed-down music. Then they got millions of people to buy it, and reaped record profits. Now, recording is easier and cheaper; you can do it at home and have it sound like a studio. CD pressing is cheaper. Even advertising is cheaper. But there’s piracy among those who want very simple things. That means mass piracy of Britney Spears that affects her record sales because her album is most valuable when new, but not much of an effect on a band like Deicide, whose album “Legion” is immortal.
The new industry will be more niche sales, cheaper CDs, and more extras. Bands will record to tour and tour to eat. It’s less of the Brave New World of the 1950-2005 record industry, and more of a dose of reality that was there all the time.