It seems that the Machine, a.k.a. Big Music, has actually decided to do something consumer-friendly for once:
LOS ANGELES -- Universal Music Group, whose roster of artists includes 50
Cent, U2, Elton John and Diana Krall, will cut the price of its wholesale
CDs and push for a $12.98 retail cap on its discs in an attempt to woo
music fans back into record stores.
The world's largest recording company hopes retailers, who have suffered as industrywide music sales dropped 31 percent the last three years, will follow its lead and pass on the savings to consumers.
Universal hopes the actual retail price of most of its CD's will end up about
$10 or less, comparable to the $9.99 retail price that music fans enjoyed
in the early 1990s, at the height of a price war between the recording
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Now, I wouldn't say this was the result of some newfound altruism on the Machine's part; it's probably just a (futile) effort to save itself from its increasing irrelevancy. But hey, I'll take it... :-)
Of course, I have my own suggestions on how to sell more CD's:
1) Get more musicians, and fewer bean-counters, involved at the highest levels of the industry. Once the music is once again viewed as artistic expression more than "product," a higher level of integrity can be demanded of what gets released. The industry will be better off as a whole when there is more room for music which actually has artistic merit rather than its ability to make a fast buck.
2) Release a few more CD's that don't suck. (This could very well be accomplished by following Suggestion #1.) This--not file-sharing--is the main reason that CD sales are down.
And word comes this morning that the RIAA (the nucleus of the Machine) is considering offering an amnesty program to the file-swappers against whom it is filing lawsuits. Read the story here: