Music producers do not miss out on any opportunity to complain about “illegal” downloading. It seems to be the oldest marketing mistake in the book: confusing an opportunity with an threat. What they do is count the number of downloads, they multiply this by the number of euros that download would have cost in the store and voila: their losses.
If I wait for the garbageman to come on Monday and tell him about this then even he can tell me that this is not correct. No marketing education, no accounting courses not even a ridiculous salary and still he’d be more intelligent about this.
Fact of the matter is that if it was up to the music industry we wouldn’t even be able to pay for downloading individual tracks. Even today’s technology having more practical ways of playing music (not their invention either) they stick to the highly unpractical CD. When they are finally forced to bring music online they make sure that it is still not practical (DRM) and they insist on keeping labels separated so that people still don’t have one practical way of downloading music. Why did they need Apple to come up with such a huge opportunity as ITunes. Why was it so hard to come up with a music player from which we can easilly download every song we want, every album we want and to give the consumer a little bit of freedom for his money. (quite frankly, it’s still a lot of money) Sure the fear of losing money would probably have played a role, but didn’t they lose more money now?
Surely, reseach from a renowned research organisation TNO from the Netherlands shows downloading as a great opportunity. Many people “would not buy the same quantity of music if they wouldn’t have had the chance to download it” They also seem to buy more merchandise and go to concerts more often. Also, “there are a lot of consumer that through downloading get to know the music and still buy the record afterward”. Personally I used to be one of those, well, before ITunes gave me the opportunity to listen to songs first that is.
Well yes it is very easy to talk about this afterward and to play the blame game. But lets be honest here, even back at the beginning of mp3 this could have been anticipated. I don’t think its strange that there were fears about downloading. What I do think is strange is that these researches don’t come from the music industry, that they didn’t come up with something as easy and accessible as ITunes. Apple should have never stood a chance.
The first objective seems to be to make life harder: making it impossible to buy individual songs or to copy a CD that you payed for. If anything they contributed to people downloading illegally. In the Netherlands you now pay for music rights even when you buy a CD for backing up your harddisk or sharing your family pictures with friends and family. Then you are even forced to download without paying, because you already payed for it anyway.
We can easilly talk about incompetence here, their only response to this is to focus on merchandise making quality even lower, which I think was the only reason people stopped buying in the first place. If Grammys nowadays get handed out to a guy that sings about how a lady in the club “wants to lick him like a lollipop” then you can easily conclude that the quality level has lowered. Yes, I want to have the song, Yes I want to hear it everywhere I go for a week because of that awesome rhythm but I’m sure as hell not going to spend one cent on it.