The Day The Music Died... well, not yet anyway

03 Feb 2006|Added Value

We’ve been hearing it for years now….. record executives complaining that illegal downloading and “stealing” of music is what’s to blame for the decline in music sales and the sob-story that has become the music industry.

Yet, are any of the major labels doing anything (besides sending the RIAA out to sue consumers) to try and understand the issues and develop some type of innovative solution? Those I know in the industry tell me most labels are doing less research now, not more.

Rolling Stone magazine has at least taken a stab to understand what’s going on.

A new poll for the Associated-Press & Rolling Stone was just released.

Among it’s key findings:

* 58% think “music in general is getting worse”

* 74% think CD prices are too expensive

* Most get their music by buying CDs at music stores or large retailers

So basically, the typical consumer is still buying CDs at retail, paying too much for music that is declining in quality.

This finding alone screams out for better understanding of what is really going on.

Why do people think music is getting worse? What types of meaningful experiences are they seeking from music to begin with? How are the choices available today meeting or not meeting peoples’ expectations?

For example, are people looking for authenticity from artists who write and play their own music, rather than lip-synching, manufactured “artists” who can’t actually sing? Maybe both types would appeal to different segments of consumers? Which group is bigger? How do they differ?

What about price elasticity? Why do people think CDs cost too much? Is it based on the stature of the artist (Madonna gets $18 but a new artist only warrants $10)? What about the content (CDs with videos or bonus, unreleased tracks get a premium?)

We could go on and come up with lots of other questions, which if answered, could shed light on the issues and understand people’s motivations and behavior.

Now’s the time for the industry to really understand their customer.

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