From the East Bay regional paper Contra Costa Times comes a well written and provocative take on the MP3 scene, by music critic Tony Hicks. It starts out with a short but clear summary of the technology and impacts so far, a good primer for any readers who are still in the CD world. Things heat up when he turns to an interview of several music industry experts, culminating in the following exchange:
Q: Record companies are acknowledging they didn't react to digital music quickly enough. Can they survive?
[Tracks magazine editor Alan] Light: They're in a corner. For too long, their approach was how to stop (online music), rather than how to exploit it. The record industry is going to look very different five years from now. What's tricky about (digital music) is, if the labels work together, they're accused of collusion. But they need to work together. Big labels will continue making big singles for the radio; like in Hollywood, you need the big studios to do the big Tom Cruise movies. But most of the interesting stuff comes from independent labels.
[Rochester Institute of Technology professor Stephen] Jacobs: It's evolve or die. Will the business adapt? No, it's unlikely. The business model has been beyond corrupt for years, perhaps just one moral step ahead of sharecroppers. Young acts sign away their rights, the royalties are bad, (people) get cheated out of their publishing. Digital delivery is doing extremely damaging things to the old business models. It'll be like Kodak losing 80 to 90 percent of their profits on plastic film (since the advent of digital cameras). The record companies had a choice to be proactive a few years ago, or hang on to their death-hold on the business.
There's a lot more, and all on point for those following the thread of digital music postings here by Kevin Laws and myself. RTWT.
Hat tip: Casper Bass.