The Future of the Music Industry

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.

  • I completely agree. HD-DVD and Blu-ray suck at the minute because the studios are engaged in a personal war and seem completely unaware that consumers are out there. My new laptop has an HD-DVD drive, and I went out the other day to buy a movie to try it with. I came home empty handed.

    Why? Partly it was the price – I’m not paying 2.5 x the price of a normal DVD for the HD version. Secondly, the choise absolutely stinks. Casino Royale is Blu-ray only, and there are no new HD-DVD releases at all. If either format owner had been prompt at getting all their content onto the new disk and sold them for the same price, they’d have cleaned up.

    However, once again it’s going to be “piracy” they blame, rather than ineptness, and the consumer is caught in the middle of two children fighting.

  • “Choise”?! Choice. Sorry.

    3/10. Spelling. See me.

  • Yeah, no doubt David! There are only a few HD-DVD discs I buy, usually big blockbuster action movies that the added resolution does justice to…I picked up Transformers on HD-DVD for $32, and on the same day I bought five other regular DVDs that were about $8 each on average. I wanted to buy Army of Darkness on HD-DVD, but it was $35….so I picked it up on regular DVD for about $10.

    The industry is trying to use HD-DVD and Blu-ray to return to the “golden era” when DVDs were $30+. That’s why so few next-gen discs sell: only the people who REALLY want the movie are willing to pay that much.