Expect to see more changes in the music purchasing/acquiring habits of teenagers as time goes by. Courtesy of the NPD Group's press release
"teens (age 13 to 17) acquired 19 percent less music in 2008 than they did in 2007. CD purchasing declined 26 percent and paid digital downloads fell 13 percent compared with the prior year. In the case of paid digital downloads, 32 percent of teens purchasing less digital music expressed discontent with the music that was available for purchase, while 23 percent claimed to already have a suitable collection of digital music. Twenty-four percent of teens also cited cutbacks in overall entertainment spending as a reason for buying fewer downloads.
The downturn in paid music acquisition was matched by a downturn in the quantity of tracks downloaded from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, which fell 6 percent in 2008. The number of teens borrowing music, either to rip to a computer or burn to a CD, fell by 28 percent."
Some thoughts I've had:
If a large quantity of most of the music ever recorded is available, online, probably forever somehow, then there's no urgency to buy a new or an old release, like in the days when you'd stumble into a record store in another city and just "have to" buy stuff because you knew you'd never see it again.
A younger listener who never had this experience would take this world for granted.
When you can say, "Who are these Rolling Stones?" and then in a few hours maybe have almost all their albums downloaded the music then becomes a resource, like having an encyclopedia where you don't read the whole book but pull it out when curious. I get the feeling, even from younger musicians I know, that many people have downloaded (for free) much more music than they actually get around to listening to. And then friends hand over a DVD-R or flash drive with tons of stuff that will be waded through over time and weeded out. Should people be paying for music they don't even decide to keep?
So record labels are unhappy that people don't pay
for music? What about used album/CD sales? They never had a cut in on that and it has gone on for years and years. What about the library? I've borrowed CDs from there to check out, and possibly dropped a few into iTunes. What about people recording music off the radio? Or off streaming sites?
Show me an artist that makes millions of dollars from CD album sales on a major label. Not publishing, touring, merch, licensing or such. I wonder if there's anyone that could even live off a major label's doling out of a tiny percentage of the sales after recouping a trumped up figure. Artists aren't hurting, major labels are hurting. Fuck them.
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.