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Universal Music has a good idea a few years too late. by jason
March 18, 2010, 10:04 pm
Filed under: NPR | Tags: , ,

I was listening to NPR today because, oddly enough, when I listen to the radio, I rarely listen to music. On Marketplace, they had a story about how CD sales are plummeting, and to try to save the physical format (mainly because, though CD sales are down, “music downloading is still a relatively small segment of the business,” according to the story), Universal has set the MSRP to $10 for their CDs.

Here’s the thing. People bought CDs back in the day. I still do. I love the physical format. It’s the hoarder in me…all those years of comic collecting have conditioned me to want to physically have my music, to put on my shelves and display. It’s also why I play those stupid Facebook collecting “games,” but that’s neither here nor there.

Now, I know, with digital music and file sharing, many people just started taking shit. And others looked at the rising price of CDs and decided that they were being gouged by the industry. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. That’s a different post.

However, digital format, whether stolen or bought, is cheaper, and this new generation is just used to doing business that way. They use the internet. They get their music.

If this had happened five years ago, it might have had a chance. Many people were still on the fence about digital music. Back then, I used file sharing to try before I bought it. And I know that’s technically stealing, and I know it’s the justification the thieves use, but I really did that. If I liked it, I deleted it and I got the CD. I didn’t trust the digital format (or rather, I didn’t trust my hard drive not to crash or explode or something).

Anyway, prices went up, and people like me, the die-hard physical format guy, started buying digital. And you know what…it rocks.

I still buy CDs, but I’m almost as likely to buy digital now. CDs take up physical space. They scratch. They get stolen out of my car. These are all things that I was more than willing to overlook before digital won me over. And it wouldn’t have won me over if not for the price of CDs.

So, Universal, I like this idea. I can get behind it. But 5 years ago, I would have gotten behind it more.


2 Comments so far
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I’m all over this, but I also haven’t really been won over on downloading my tunes, which I understand basically makes me an 80-year-old as far as the kids are concerned. My rule is that I only buy downloads of stuff that’s like a novelty (christmas music, a single with a few fun remixes, dance music mix CDs…). Everything else, I wants my silvery disc, and ideally I want a jewel case and a booklet — eco-pak cardboard sleeves raise my hackles.

Comment by ymatt

I’m with you on this, but things like Amie St. have got their hooks in me. I just bought about $70 worth of music there for $8. I have a very hard time turning that down. Deluxe packaging will get me buying the CD still.

Comment by Jayson

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