Music sales fall again

This post from from the Shifted Librarian juxtaposes two interesting statements, one from Wired News:

Since the week ending June 29, traffic to Kazaa has fallen 41 percent to about 3.9 million unique visitors from 6.5 million in the week ending September 21.

with one from MSNBC:

The battle-weary music industry surveyed the wreckage of another dismal six months on Wednesday as global data showed music sales tumbled 10.9 percent, piling more pressure on music companies to do deals to survive.

If the central thesis of the RIAA argument that downloading reduces their business is to hold, shouldn’t the amount of fileswapping activity inversely correlate with music sales? If fileswapping goes down and music sales also go down over the same period, perhaps what we are seeing is something that seems intuitively obvious to me: if you sue your customers for being enthusiastic over your products, over time they will stop giving a shit and eventually find new ways to have fun with that money. Who can weep for the Big Machine when it spends so much energy trying to run you over with its enormous treads? As I say over and over, until this behavior changes I will not be spending any money on any RIAA label’s music. When the new offerering of the Big Machine is absolute crap like the new John Mayer or Sting (both of which cause a reflexive channel change in my car), this is no great loss.

And yet, Apple is selling 500,000 songs online every week on a platform used by maybe 3% of computer users. I’m assuming that most folks who buy music from the iTunes store actually have iPods, so that further reduces it to maybe 1% of all computer users. This is not a huge amount of revenue overall, but it’s coming from a very small number of people. If/when everyone can tap in, I’d expect to see this number rise dramatically. Isn’t it obvious that the way to approach this is not to war with the customers but figure out new ways to take their money? Jeez. Any business that is willing to work so hard to lose me as a customer, I’m willing to stop buying from.

Addenda #1: Moby hates this too

Addenda #2: The folks from Downhill Battle weigh in on why they don’t like the iTunes music store. Not sure I buy their whole argument, but it is worth reading.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

One thought on “Music sales fall again”

  1. that is funny what moby says, maybe he will download some of his own music and see if he gets sued. I wonder if apples sales will go up a lot when the windows itunes is released. I would like to see songs come down to like 49 cents a pop. I will buy an itunes song once I get my machine all set up how i like it.

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