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Re: Record Industry Decline

There are 3 major elements that are part of the major record labels'
declining cd sales:

1) Yes, downloads. However, many of the figures that say that cd sales
are declining are saying exactly that - cd sales are declining. Not
necessarily music sales. Vinyl sales declined in the 80's. Now cd's
are being replaced by digital files. The last "alarming" figures I saw
did not account for 'legal' album sales such as Itunes.

2) How about this major element of cd sales - They're depending on
bands like Linkin Park to be their flagship artists. The people making
these decisions are not out there listening to music to the degree
that their predecessors did. I would be adventurous enough to suggest
that the big record labels set themselves up for decline when they
started signing artists based on predictably successful genres and how
much bands kind of sound like that other band that was successful a
few years back. Now they're signing stuff a couple generations down -
this band sound like that other band that sounds like that band I once
really liked. Or this is the new band by those guys in Guns and Roses
who were big in 1989. It's almost a form of inbreeding. Major label
music now is a 4th generation cassette copy of music from 15-20 years
ago or more. Pop music had some neat stuff in 2000 or so, but since
then it's been sounding more and more inbred, with no real growth. In
a discussion of this article, several friends and I tried to think of
songs in the last 5 years that people would fondly remember 10 years
from now. We came up with 3. One of them was "My Humps". If Jimi
Hendrix was trying to put out his debut album this now, he'd never get
signed on one of the big labels. They'd think he was too weird.

3) Album-Oriented music is going away (except on indie labels). If you
buy a hit album today, you're much more likely to enjoy only the hit
singles than with older albums. They're built that way. The singles
have the talented songwriters, engineers and producers. That in itself
wouldn't mean declining cd sales - unless we live in a culture where
people can pick and choose which songs they're going to get (a la
downloading) or when compilation albums (like "Now that's what I call
Music") pool all the singles together while they're still on the
radio. If people can get all the songs they like on a comp, they're
going to buy fewer full length albums.

Frankly, I'm buying more music now than I ever have. Sites like
emusic.com encourage me to take a chance on a lot of things that I
probably wouldn't hear otherwise. Folks just need to get used to the
online music business model.

Matt Davignon