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Music Sales Lowest Since Advent of CD's

Old 04-07-04, 10:17 AM
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Music Sales Lowest Since Advent of CD's

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...music_sales_dc

Global Music Sales Slide, Some Recovery Signs-IFPI

By Bernhard Warner

LONDON (Reuters) - Global music sales fell 7.6 percent in 2003 to $32 billion, the steepest decline since the advent of the compact disc, the trade body representing the world's largest music companies said on Wednesday.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) blamed the slump in retail music sales -- now in its fourth consecutive year -- on rampant piracy, poor economic conditions and competition from video games and DVDs.

However, a strong second-half recovery in the United States, Britain and Australia, boosted by top-selling acts such as Justin Timberlake (news), Beyonce and rapper 50 Cent, has raised hopes that the worst is behind the beleaguered industry.

"I think the long-term secular decline has just about come to a conclusion. Is it over? I don't know the answer to that yet," said IFPI Chairman Jay Berman. He predicted 2004 music sales in unit terms would decline "by about four percent."

Continental Europe -- specifically Germany, France and the Nordic countries -- plus Japan continued to experience steep sales declines. Berman said there was no recovery in sight in those markets.

Noting that first-half 2003 sales were down nearly 11 percent, analysts regarded the full-year figure as positive news but said evidence of a full-fledged recovery is flimsy.

The industry is making strides by cutting costs and staff but needs to invest more in new technologies such as Internet music stores and mobile phone ring tones to develop new revenue streams, analysts said.

"Anything that will pull the industry out of the mire and turn things around they will have to invest in," said Simon Dyson, an analyst with London-based consultancy Informa Media.

Shares in EMI, the world's largest stand-alone music label, were down 0.4 percent to 262 pence at 1035 GMT.

CD WOES AND PROBLEMS IN GERMANY

Global compact disc sales -- the most often cited figure in discussing the health of the industry -- fell 9.1 percent in value in 2003, the IFPI said. Unit sales fell by 6.5 percent.

Total sales of singles, including cassettes and vinyl, which have dipped significantly since the Internet file-sharing and CD-burning craze began in the late 1990s, fell 18.7 percent in value terms between 2002 and 2003.

In the German market, sales fell for the sixth consecutive year, this time by 19 percent. The trade body recently conducted a study that found the number of CDs burned by German consumers jumped to 325 million in 2003 from 260 million in 2002.

To fight piracy, the industry has begun suing the most prolific online music swappers. The legal clampdown, which started in the United States and recently spread to Europe and Canada, will become a global initiative, the IFPI said last week.

Music labels have also been slashing costs, dumping B-list stars and cutting staff. Last week, EMI announced it would shed 1,500 jobs, or about 19 percent of its staff.

Sony Music and Bertelsmann's BMG plan to merge forces, hoping to save an estimated $300 million annually through creating the second largest music label behind Universal Music .

The IFPI noted it factored in foreign exchange fluctuations in assigning a global retail value.

The global retail figure dropped from $32.2 billion in 2002 to $32 billion in 2003 with the weak dollar cushioning some of the decline in absolute terms.

The IFPI represents hundreds of the world's independent and major music labels including Warner Music, Sony Music, Universal Music, EMI and BMG.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:27 AM
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I will never believe that piracy has ANY significant impact on sales. IMHO, I think that the fact that there is very little good music coming out lately is a bigger factor. One cannot discount the fact that in lean economic times, people cut back on things like CDs to pay, you know, rent, food, clothes.

I'm just tired of labels trumpting around the piracy thing. I don't download, if I want to hear a band, Amazon has some good clips for free to help me decide.

I would venture to guess that if anything, downloading music helps the music industry as much if not more than it hurts it.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by DVD Josh
the fact that there is very little good music coming out lately is a bigger factor.
Ding ding ding! You win!
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Old 04-07-04, 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by DVD Josh
IMHO, I think that the fact that there is very little good music coming out lately is a bigger factor.
Well said, as long as the record companies keep signing bands that sound like Nickelback and Creed, and the music industry keeps giving these horrible bands music awards and accolades and pumping more money into them, things aren't going to change.

The fact is most people are bored with music today, there is very little to be excited about.

As much as people hate nirvana on this board, I believe what we need is someone just like them to turn the music industry upside down and change things.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:52 AM
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Capo, I agree with alot of what you said. I was so frustrated with radio that I switched over to the AM talk stations. They have much more to say than rock bands today.

There is no wonder artists like Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Who, etc. backcatalogs sell very well. The music is better, hands down.

I would have a hard time thinking of band that has come out since 1995 that will have a lasting impression on music.
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Old 04-07-04, 10:56 AM
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There's plenty of good music, but it's music the record industry either doesn't know how to promote or isn't interested in promoting. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot became a success in spite of the efforts of Wilco's record company, for example.
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Old 04-07-04, 11:23 AM
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I think another factor might be that since there are now 30-second clips to preview music, listeners know off the bat whether or not it sucks and do not get screwed by buying an album for 1 hit single. they can get the song for 99 cents.

in reference to hendrix, etc. they were great becasue they were real musicians. you "listened" to the band, and did not care what they "looked" like as much as we are "told" to do now. look at the greatest artists to come out of the 60's & 70's - those were some UGLY mutha f'ers, but, man could they play!
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Old 04-07-04, 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by BRIAN 1972
in reference to hendrix, etc. they were great becasue they were real musicians. you "listened" to the band, and did not care what they "looked" like as much as we are "told" to do now. look at the greatest artists to come out of the 60's & 70's - those were some UGLY mutha f'ers, but, man could they play!
I think you're romanticizing the era, and the popularity of some artists at that time. My favorite example is the number one selling single of 1969 - "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies, a song by a group from a comic strip. In hindsight, the music of that era was great, but you wouldn't have necessarily have known that based on what you heard on the radio - kind of like the way it is today.
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Old 04-07-04, 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
I think you're romanticizing the era, and the popularity of some artists at that time. My favorite example is the number one selling single of 1969 - "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies, a song by a group from a comic strip. In hindsight, the music of that era was great, but you wouldn't have necessarily have known that based on what you heard on the radio - kind of like the way it is today.
do you really think that some of the bands that got record contract on the 70's would have made it in the MTV image world?

EDIT: I just wonder at some of the music we are missing out on simply because the guitarist may be a fat ass, or the singer has zits - but they might be creating some of the most wicked shit w will ever hear.
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Old 04-07-04, 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by BRIAN 1972
do you really think that some of the bands that got record contract on the 70's would have made it in the MTV image world?

EDIT: I just wonder at some of the music we are missing out on simply because the guitarist may be a fat ass, or the singer has zits - but they might be creating some of the most wicked shit w will ever hear.
"I call as my first witness, John Popper, of the musical group Blues Traveler."

All I'm saying is that musical artists becoming popular for reasons other than their music is nothing new. Sometimes, even if their music was great, the groups' physical traits helped push them over the top, like, say, The Beatles. The music industry works in much the same way now as it did 30-40 years ago. Did Bobby Sherman get a record contract based solely on his musical ability? Did The Osmonds get their own TV show because they were such hot shit musically?
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Old 04-07-04, 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
"I call as my first witness, John Popper, of the musical group Blues Traveler."
i was going to list him, but then decided not too becuase he is the ONE token fat guy.

EDIT: and all i'm saying is that image is more important TODAY - of course it's alwasy gone hand in hand - but in the past more uglies were allowed through the door because they did not have to rely on video, soda tie-in, etc to sell a shit song.

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Old 04-07-04, 12:14 PM
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Too many other forms of entertainment
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Old 04-07-04, 12:18 PM
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• wendersfan •

There's plenty of good music, but it's music the record industry either doesn't know how to promote or isn't interested in promoting. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot became a success in spite of the efforts of Wilco's record company, for example.
This is very true. It's not that there's no good music; it's that the industry doesn't know how or simply doesn't want to promote it. And instead of attempting to solve the problem, they choose to spend millions blaming others.

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Old 04-07-04, 12:25 PM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
I think you're romanticizing the era, and the popularity of some artists at that time. My favorite example is the number one selling single of 1969 - "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies, a song by a group from a comic strip. In hindsight, the music of that era was great, but you wouldn't have necessarily have known that based on what you heard on the radio - kind of like the way it is today.
On the radio in 1969 you had Elvis, Beatles, Doors, Stones, CCR, MC5, Tommy James...

And in 1969 Albums Zep II, Let It Bleed, Abbey Road, Tommy, Velv Underground and many others came out...there is always obscure and/or 1 hit wonders but I do not even see anything lately that compares to this...and that's only one year....

But it's all subjective...just my opinion...
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Old 04-07-04, 12:37 PM
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There's plenty of good music, both on the radio and otherwise. Pirating is a factor, as well as buying singles for a buck.
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Old 04-07-04, 12:48 PM
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My CD-buying has dropped off significantly over the past five years.

During that time I've downloaded maybe 10 mp3s - and all perfectly legal at that!

The fact is that I've caught up with most of my favo(u)rite acts' back catalog(ue) and there isn't that much new that screams "buy me".

And the last I read music companies are cutting their spending on new acts!
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Old 04-07-04, 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by benedict
My CD-buying has dropped off significantly over the past five years.

During that time I've downloaded maybe 10 mp3s - and all perfectly legal at that!

The fact is that I've caught up with most of my favo(u)rite acts' back catalog(ue) and there isn't that much new that screams "buy me".

And the last I read music companies are cutting their spending on new acts!
This leads me to think is that change in the music industry can only be made by the consumers. People have to take a stand and realize that the music they're spending their hard earned dollars on is mediocre at best, and they have to make an attempt to go to more underground music stores and support artists that deserve more noteriety.

This is the only way I see the music industry is going to change, since they are now cutting spending on new acts like you said, hence more mediocrity will be thrown at us.
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Old 04-07-04, 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
"I call as my first witness, John Popper, of the musical group Blues Traveler."
Yeah, but that was almost 10 years ago. I highly doubt the Blues Traveler would be anywhere in today's day and age.
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Old 04-07-04, 01:19 PM
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Our CD buying was never big, and mostly used stuff at that. During the heydays of Kazaa and Napster, we downloaded thousands of songs, and our CD buying might have decreased, but it was used so the record companies weren't seeing it anyways.

We've gotten out of downloading a lot of stuff, but our new CD buying hasn't increased for the same reason it wasn't big in the first place: too much money for albums with too few good songs.

And I've aquired more DVDs in four years then I did CDs in 20. Better value of entertainment.
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Old 04-07-04, 01:22 PM
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Not only is the lack of good music a factor, but it's also the prices. I mean a SALE price at Tower these days is $13.99!!! No wonder Tower and the Wherehouse are going out of business!

It only costs about a dollar to make a CD. Maybe cheaper for mass quantities. True, much of the added costs the record companies charge go to advertising, but trying to get almost 10x the cost of the CD (record companies sell their CDs to distributors for about $8-$9) is outrageous!

I'm just glad that most of the music I like or buy is independent. I rarely pay over $11 (with tax) for a brand new CD.

Napster (and downloading) had only made me buy MORE CDs. It helped me cut out the crap and discover a ton of new bands.
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Old 04-07-04, 02:01 PM
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since people are downloading more (legal) and using that as a tool to only buy CD's that they like a bunch od songs on - are we going to see a huge drop in the Used CD business? since people are not buying CD's on a gamble anymore?
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Old 04-07-04, 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by BRIAN 1972
since people are downloading more (legal) and using that as a tool to only buy CD's that they like a bunch od songs on - are we going to see a huge drop in the Used CD business? since people are not buying CD's on a gamble anymore?
Never thought of that, interesting idea. I'm sure there will still be people that download, buy, then decide they don't like the CD anymore and sell it, but it won't be as many you're right.
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Old 04-07-04, 02:27 PM
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Originally posted by milo bloom
I've aquired more DVDs in four years then I did CDs in 20. Better value of entertainment.
Perfect arguement. Well said.
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Old 04-07-04, 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by Flashback
On the radio in 1969 you had Elvis, Beatles, Doors, Stones, CCR, MC5, Tommy James...

And in 1969 Albums Zep II, Let It Bleed, Abbey Road, Tommy, Velv Underground and many others came out...there is always obscure and/or 1 hit wonders but I do not even see anything lately that compares to this...and that's only one year....

But it's all subjective...just my opinion...
Don't even bring the Velvets into this thread... Probably more people buy their third album (the one released in '69) in one week now than bought it during that entire year. VU are the perfect argument against the theory that good music was also popular in the '60s. They were the very definition of obscure back then.
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Old 04-07-04, 03:09 PM
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I have to say that I see some creedence in the report that downloading causes some loss of sales. But I do not think that they are huge margins.

I live in a college dorm, and as soon as Incubus' last album came out one guy downloaded, and made copies for almost everyone in my hall. Now, I realize that these people that have bootleg copies of the album may have never bought it due to a lack of funds, but I have to think at least 1 of them would have.

That said I would say that the reason record sales are down is due to all the factors listed: using money more on necessities, high prices, lack of quality new artists or recordings, and downloading. Probably in that order.

Furthermore, I find that there is a real switch in the music tastes of the public. We are switching more to a singles based galaxy of music, akin to that of the 60s. Interesting.
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