Associated Press writer, Alex Viega, had recently reported that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is concerned that burning CDs is having a negative financial impact on music stores and the music labels. According the market research firm NPD, 29% of all fans in 2004 got their music from burning CDs; compared with 16% of those got their music through downloading from the Internet. According to Nielsen Soundscan, album sales in North America are down 7% of what it was the year before. One co-owner of a music store in New York, mentioned in the article, noted a decrease in ‘R&B and hip-hop’ albums especially in the last year.
Yet the recording industry has also seen a 21% increase in on-line sales in the last year, too. The article also noted that recordable CDs purchases have soared, just as there was a drop in the number of albums purchased. There is obviously lots of money to be made in this industry. However, it seems that the RIAA feels that they are being cheated out of money. In their eagerness to continue cashing in on selling music, they appear to be willing to put up a big fight.
Their response to the technology that, they believe, distracts us from buying music is to go after the file sharing companies like Grokster and all this? They have been working with technology to create music CDs with copywrite protection with the latest albums allowing the user to copy its content up to three times with specific software. Those listeners with CD burners and the portable music players (like i-Pod) are finding it more difficult to transfer their own music onto those devices than before. There has also been some proprietary formats that have put up some barriers for burning music. The traditional MP3 format is being replaced with Window’s Media files (WMA), and RealAudio files (RM or RAM).
Here is why it is going to be an uphill battle.
1 – People have been copying music since the advent of cassette players and vinyl albums. We have long since been conditioned that making our own mixed music media is a social norm. This practice, although illegal, has been going on for decades. The Recording Industry is just NOW caring about the issue? It’s like raising children, but not limit setting until they are 16 years old. It’s going to be a big, ugly fight.
2-Could it be possible that the drop in sales, especially R&B music, is based on the fact that they only people listening to it are too young to have drivers licenses….so they neither have the means or the money to buy those albums. Maybe the quality of music, overall, has dropped to the point where everything is crap. When everyone, including the one-hit wonder MARTIKA from the 1980s, has a GREATEST HITS ALBUM out; is it any wonder the desire to buy albums has dropped?
3-The encryption that is occurring on newly created commercial CDs is just as likely to punish the legitimate owner of the music as well as the one trying to burn mass copies. Not only preventing the owner from making back-ups or putting music they already own on their own mix CDs, there are also problems with putting that music on their i-Pods because of format conflicts. What better way to motivate the public to find work arounds to the protections put in place WHEN THEY CAN’T EVEN USE STUFF THEY BOUGHT the way they used to.