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Universal lowering prices... and?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by mjones4th, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Read it in the newspaper today (wash. post, business section). They want retailers to sell their CDs for $12.98 so they're lowering their retail prices. Originally they said that they were going to put price stickers on the CDs but the retailers complained about profit margins. However Universal expects most of them to sell the CDs for less than $13.

    They blame P2P networks for double digit percentage declines in CD sales over the past few years.

    I, for one, don't buy it. Why should retailers lower their prices? The educated consumer, like myself, buys albums to show support for the artist, or because he/she is aware that it is a quality product. I don't see a dollar or two being a critical difference.

    I also believe that bootlegs have a much larger effect than P2Ps because they're much more accessible, and cost a third of the real thing, offering equal quality.

    And more importantly, I am of the opinion that the reason sales have fallen and continue to do so is because of the quality of the product. Let's face it, the majority of music released by the big five sucks (once again, opinion). They don't care about good music, just profits. The fact that quality artists actually make it through that quagmire we call the music biz never ceases to amaze me. I mean, how many times is the rapper Fabolous gonna spell his name? How many old songs is Ashanti gonna desecrate?

    I think its a step in the right direction to lower prices on CDs, but its also an indication that they're a total ripoff. To me its the same as admitting that their product was overpriced. I know that if I can get 1000 CDs with top quality printed inserts and labels for around $2000, then Universal can get 100,000 for $50,000. And sell them wholesale for $700,000.

    Please Universal, and the rest; If you want to see sales go up, stop trying to sell us music you think we want, and let artists express themselves.
    Make quality music, and I'll be first in line.
  2. switchfoot

    switchfoot Guest

    Amen Brother!
    This being my first post, I'd like to use this opportunity to say, "Well said." I'm personally sick of the "same 'ol stuff" record companies release these days. It's all the same: Hardcore rapper ft. sexy RnB singer.. etc. To quote mitzelplik: "Stop trying to sell us music you think we want, and let artists express themselves.
    Make quality music, and I'll be first in line."
  3. jroberts

    jroberts Guest

    Most people just buy CD's because they want to listen to them.

    Bootlegs are more accessable than P2P downloads? You must be kidding, right? I can access a P2P download of just about anything I want right here while I'm typing this. I can't access a bootleg CD of anything.

    Maybe. Partially. The vast majority of commercially released music has always sucked though.

    So, you figure the only costs a record company has are it's manufacturing costs?

    Define "quality music".
  4. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Define "quality music".

    Now do you expect me to expend my energy answering a question you know the answer to? You dance about quality architecture and I'll write about quality music.

    Bootlegs are more accessable than P2P downloads? You must be kidding, right? I can access a P2P download of just about anything I want right here while I'm typing this. I can't access a bootleg CD of anything.

    I'm sorry, but when did a computer and broadband become a birthright? I know plenty of people without those amenities. In fact I know more without, than I do with. I know many with these amenities, who are not aware of P2P. However, where I live I know of ten locations, accesible to me by public transportation, where bootlegs are available.

    Maybe. Partially. The vast majority of commercially released music has always sucked though.

    I disagree wholeheartedly. IMO it is a recent (+- 20 years) phenomenon

    So, you figure the only costs a record company has are it's manufacturing costs?

    I am aware of the business model.

    I am also aware that a signed artist covers most costs associated with creating his or her album.

    Most people just buy CD's because they want to listen to them.

    You are correct. However, most people are not educated consumers. Your point? Oh I'm sorry, this was an attempt to deflate my persona by making my comment look stupid. Well that worked.

    Now let's be open, jroberts.

    I know you're a reasoning thinking, generally intelligent individual. And you must be aware I am also. So why is it, that because I have a different opinion than you, you attempt to make me look and feel stupid?

    king mitz
  5. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Let me clarify.

    In expressing my desire for "quality music" I assumed that the intended audience to this post could recognize the idea and ideal I was expressing.

    There are times when I speak clearly and comprehensively because I desire to be understood. There are other times when I assume my statement is grounded enough in the human experience that I need not explain it further.

    I have nothing against anyone on this list, and, as a matter of fact, I cherish the ability to openly express my opinions and ideas, and to receive those of others. But I demand respect, because I give respect. So jroberts, if I offended you in any way, I apologize. However, I do not deserve to be patronized. So you owe me an apology as well.

    Now let's be friends!

  6. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    guess I'm talking to myself
  7. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    I agree that the majority of commercially-released music has always sucked as well...sure, most of the stuff that has survived may be higher-quality than most of what's currently available, but there was plenty of garbage released way back when as well.

    Not quite...the money to create album does usually come out of the artist's take, but in order for that to happen the album has to actually sell. Most albums don't sell enough to cover their costs, and when that happens it is the label that covers the costs.

    I didn't get the impression that he was trying to make you look and feel stupid, just that he disagreed with you for the most part. I disagree for the most part as well and am certainly not trying to make you feel stupid. If I have done so, I apologize in advance.

  8. johnnyrock

    johnnyrock Guest

    I don't have the impression that either p2p or bootleging are the true reasons why the industry is suffering.Mostly I think it is a combination of a bad economy and some really self destructive attitudes on the part of the industry.Everybodys business is down,everywhere,but then to shoot themselves in the foot the way the big 5 did by imagining they could sue their own customers into submission while simultaneously trying to sell them $*^t on a brick and calling it music is too much for a lot of people.These must be the least imaginitive people on the planet.

    Somewhere along the line you actualy need to have a real musical, or artistic idea to express.You need to have something to say that real people want to listen to.
  9. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    I think you greatly exagerate the discount that universal would get on the cds. I doubt that the cd manufacturers can discount it that much more.
  10. Albert

    Albert Guest

    If you use a program like "LimeWire", or probably practically any P2P software, you can watch the requests that your computer gets hit with from other users on the system. What you'll notice is that *by far* the bulk of the requests are for two things: mp3 songs and porn.

    You want a song, just type in the name and hit "enter" and see what turns up. That's how easy it is to download music off these P2P systems. That's what is crippling music sales, at least one thing that's hurting sales. I personally haven't been terribly excited by many of the acts or music that's been out lately, but that's a matter of opinion.
  11. Perikoresis

    Perikoresis Guest

    One thing I think hurts sales is the retail atmosphere. Yesterday I took my son with me to A & B Sound ; a large record and electronics store. They even sell some $25,000 audiophile/home theatre components there. Yet the record clerks (I assume) are minimum wage.

    My son had to pee . . . one clerk looked at me for a second then recited 'We don't have a public washroom' . . . I would hope for mock sympathy, at least ~ compassion, perhaps. No big deal; maybe she was worn out from boxing day sales. But they don't seem to enjoy working there. That is a major put off for me . . . not to mention that their computer 'said' they had both major Robert Randolph albums; I only found 'Unclassified' behind a stack of other CDs after 'hunting' for minutes and asking for help.

    If I'm excited enough to go out of my way (I only shop for albums twice a year or so) to buy something, why aren't they excited to have me as a customer? They're the ones making money here ~ I'm the one spending it! :mad:
  12. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    I guess you missed this one:

    Most people just buy CD's because they want to listen to them

    Could he be a little more sarcastic?

    Define "quality music".

    If he isn't aware what quality music is, in some sense, then he is out of place on this forum. If he is aware what it is, then what was the purpose of this question? It seems to me that this was a very belittling comment.

    The Big 5 are churning out garbage. I pretty much buy all the quality music of my favorite genres that they release. If they released more quality music, I would buy more CDs.

    Johnnyrock says it well:
    Somewhere along the line you actualy need to have a real musical, or artistic idea to express.You need to have something to say that real people want to listen to.
  13. moles

    moles Active Member

    Jan 5, 2004
    Winnipeg, MB
    Here's an interesting thought to ponder:
    Does anyone here remember when CD's first were marketted full on to the public? The average price was double what we were paying for LP's, and record label publicists told us that as the new technology started selling more, the price would go down to what we were used to paying for vinyl. (Which made sense - CD's are cheaper to manufacture, why should they cost more?)

    So finally Universal is lowering it's prices - who are we to complain? Maybe a couple of bucks isn't going to make a difference to you, but I still shop around if it's a fairly common disc, plus they're new pricing is about 10 bucks less than what I tend to buy mostly.
  14. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I think he was just making the point that most people don't have particularly grand motives for buying a CD (i.e. supporting an artist or supporting quality production). Usually, the motive is no more than "I like that song and I want to hear it more".

    Again, I think he was making a legitimate point. What is "quality music" to me may be complete garbage to you, and vice versa. It's subjective. Have you ever noticed how many radio stations advertise that, unlike the other stations, they only play "good music".

    Quality music is out there. You just don't generally find it from the Big 5.
  15. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Precisely. I've been saying that for a long time. If you love it enough, dig deeper and you'll find what you're looking for. LOTS of great music out there if you'll take the time to go hear the band play, buy their CD's, and/or do some homework to find the truly GREAT stuff that's been out there for a long time.
  16. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    CDs are not selling because people are not buying them. PERIOD

    The reasons for the general public not purchasing CDs is manifold. Here are some of the reasons....

    They download music off the web using peer-to-peer networking so they get the music they want and don't have to pay for it.

    They copy their friend's CDs in their computers so again they don't have to pay for anything other than a blank CD and they can copy only the songs they want.

    They want a lot of music but don't have the money to purchase the CDs at $18.99 a pop (Border's NEW CD price point) so they download it off the net for free.

    They aren't interested in a lot of what is being produced today and can't stand the quality drop that has gone on in the past 5 years.

    They are into DVDs and home theater so they no longer need or want to listen to new CDs. (why is it that you can purchase a DVD with 6 hours of material on it for $14.99 but a CD with 45 minutes on it still costs $18.99?)

    They don't like all the songs on an album and refuse to pay for the "padding" of songs that most of the major labels are doing now so they copy the songs they want off the internet or off their friend's CD which are also bootlegged.

    They aren't interested in the quality of recordings anymore and so MP3s fill the need for listening to music so they can download the MP3's off the internet.

    They listen to digital radio and make copies of the songs they want on their IPODS.

    They have a fairly good CD collection of well recorded well produced songs and they listen to them instead of buying the current "junque" offered by many record companies.

    They are tired of going to stores and trying to find what they want to hear only to be told that they are "out of stock" or "we only carry the latest albums by that artist" or "we have no public restrooms" The record stores use to have people in them that knew music but they now employ minimum wage teenyboppers who don't know the stock and if the computer is down would not know how to look up an album in the bins if their lives depended on it.

    Or, most likely, they are simply tired of being manipulated by the record companies and their push for ever more hype and have gone into reading books or going to live concerts.

    These are my takes as to why there is such a decline in CD sales in recent years.

    The RIAA would like everyone to believe that it is all caused by the downloaders but it is not. The RIAA is run by lawyers and not by musicians so the only way they know how to stop the downloading is to sue everyone. If they would provide alternative ways of getting the music, such as Apple has done, they would get better results.

    The day of buying expensive, over priced CDs that are badly recorded and badly produced and have one or two good songs on them is OVER. The RIAA should get some fresh blood in their corporate hierarchy and start rethinking the whole process and so should the record companies.

    Maybe someone in the "music buiness" will sit up and take notice but I doubt it and the CD sales will continue to erode.

    FWIW and MTCW
  17. Eriksmusicproduction

    Eriksmusicproduction Active Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    I think the only source to blame for the reduced cd sales recently is the corporate greed of the major labels.

    It used to be that buying albums was an enjoyable experience that you did on your way home from work with spare money in your wallet, now with people living paycheck to paycheck who can justify 20 buck for one cd, and a potentially crappy one at that?

    The record industry continued to raise already high prices untill the public fought back with an alternative and they stand there dumbfounded wondering what happened. Worse yet is nobody is looking at the cause of it all -high prices-. Ask anybody why they download and they'll tell you its cause they can't justify spending that kind of money for something they might only like 3 songs from.

    I myself am not crazy about p2p, however I do think that music is something that everybody should be able to enjoy regardless of wealth. copying music is nothing new.

    If prices were reduced to 1/3 to 1/2 of what they are now people would still buy music even with p2p availability and sales would skyrocket, which would also create a renewed interest in the art and music would again be enjoyable.
  18. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Without getting into all the opinionated stuff...Two dollars is two dollars. I don't care why (well I do sort of), I'm just glad that they are cheaper!

    As was mentioned, the record companies did say that CD's would be as cheap as vinyl, but that has never been the case.


    Face it, it's a natural part of life. Maybe, like me, you grew up in the 90s and so Smashing Pumpkin's Siamese Dream or Nirvana's Nevermind will always be classic. Or going back, perhaps it was Ozzie or Zeppelin. It doesn't matter. The point is that music was great then; what's happening today is great now.

    Just because the average 25-50 year old recording engineer isn't relating to the 50 Cent market doesn't mean the industry is miscalibrating it's releases. You guys remind me of when I was a kid, riding in the car with my parents and they'd constantly assert as they'd switch the radio to easy listening "now THIS is music - see they don't make music like THIS anymore! I don't know what that noise you kids listen to is today ..."

    The best analogy I've heard for the industry's business practice is "take a bunch of $*^t and throw it against the wall - see what sticks".

    That was true then, and it's true now. They're still releasing tonnes of acts with a tonne of variety. With profits falling it's difficult for them to put out EVERYthing, but I think they do the best they can with the funds available. If there was a general desire for whatever it is you naysayers consider "quality" BEYOND the audiophile community, trust me, they would release it, because like you all said, they want the $$$.

    The simple fact is they're not getting that $$$ because people are P2P'ing and bootlegging like crazy. Additionally, they've adapted too slowly to the advent of online commerce. However, things will stabilize eventually. People will start downloading/streaming from legit sources sooner or later - it will just take time.

  20. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    As a mastering engineer I get a chance to listen to all kinds of music from Bach to Rock and everything in between. I enjoy all kinds of music and find that there is a lot of music today that is well written, well recorded, and well mixed. The problem is that in the quest for louder and louder sounding CDs the whole issue of quality has been put on the back burner. I get many more requests from people to make their stuff LOUDER than I do to make it sound good. The quest for more dBs has taken over the main focus of what people are trying to accomplish with their music.

    Listen to the material that was recorded in the 80's and 90's before the push for louder and louder CDs. It sounds GOOD and is very listenable. Now put on that same artist's CD created recently (if they are still around and making CDs) and you get something that is so hyped up that it is almost painful to listen to it for a prolonged time period. Couple that with the record companies need for more and more profits and the inability to put out more than two good songs on a 10 song CD and you have the prerequisites for disaster which is what is happening to record companies today.

    In the "old days" record companies were owned by musicians. They knew music and they knew what people liked. Today most record companies are owned by lawyers or MBAs who have very little, if any, musical abilities and most decisions as to what artist to fund or what to push come from "focus groups" or advisors who are more interested in pushing something that will result in a quick buck than something that will last.

    I have been told by people in the recording industry and have seen in print that if Elvis or the Beetles were trying to get a recording contract today they would be unable to find anyone that wanted them. There are lots of young artist today that are very good and they try and try to get into a record company. Most of them do not succeed so they try and set up an indie label and sell their music on the net or at concerts. When they finally reach more and more people the record companies may or may not contact them and if they are not what the record companies want in terms of "image" they will not be hired. Can you imagine someone like Bob Dylan being picked up today by and record company. The reason he is a household word today is because he earned his reputation and someone back in the dim days of record companies saw he had potential and signed him. Today he would not even get a second look from most record companies.

    There are lots of reasons why record companies are in trouble today. One of the most quoted is that they are trying to do today what they did 20+ years ago and find that it is not working (surprise-surprise). They were very slow to realize the potential of the internet and in fact fought tooth and nail NOT to have their catalogs made available for downloading even from sites such as Apple's where it is "legal" to download. Now Sony has gotten themselves into really big trouble with trying to prevent people from making copies of their CDs in your personal computer. They did this by including a program that gets installed on your computer to prevent the unauthorized copying of CDs. This locked up some peoples computers and also made them targets for malware. They are being sued and many artists have lost millions of dollars due to the ineptitude of the Sony bigwigs. Sony shot themselves in the foot AGAIN! I am sure they did this for all the right reasons like they want more and more money and are tired of the average joe blow ripping them off by making copies of their CDs for friends. What they failed to realize is what the movie folks have known for a long time. Keep your prices low, give the consumer a lot more for their money and they will buy your DVD instead of copying it.

    Until record companies wise up and realize this is 2005 not 1975 they will not be getting any better. They need to understand the market today and they need to understand technology as it is in use by most people today if they ever want to get back to the good graces of the music listening/buying public. But I don't think that will happen since they have shown us again and again by their actions that they are more likely to spend millions suing a grandmother in Iowa for illegal copying her grandson's lullaby CD than they are to change their current way of operating.


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