There’s a very long, but simply awesome article up on the New York Times Web site that’s an absolute must-read if you’re interested in where the music industry is at today, and what the future holds for it. One of the best quotes from the article is from Fredric Dannen:
“My epiphany, if you want to call it that, was simply this: consumers of recorded music will always embrace the format that provides the greatest convenience. No other factor — certainly not high fidelity — will move consumers substantially to change their listening and buying habits. The single exception to this rule was the introduction of two-channel stereo in the late fifties. Let me state this more clearly, by example. When the long-playing record (LP) format was introduced by Columbia Records back in the late 1940s, the industry as a whole resisted it, and many predicted it would never take off because 78s sounded better. Without question, early LPs did not sound nearly as good as 78s. But given the choice of listening to all of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on two sides of one record versus sixteen sides of eight records, the consumer opted for convenience and simplicity (not to mention less shelf space).”
I couldn’t agree more with that quote – that’s the reason why HD-DVD and Blu-ray are having such a hard time taking off…DVD’s look “good enough” and the newer high-definition formats don’t offer real value over what’s out there now.