File sharing and CD sales: Yet another study contradicting the RIAA

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes, Music, Technology
April 1st, 2004 • 1:50 am

The mainstream media keep perpetuating the view that the recent slump in CD sales is primarily due to the impact of Napster and other file-sharing technologies. Yet neither they nor the recording industry have ever been able to successfully demonstrate that there was a link. They just say that there is one, and use that as an excuse to continue their exploitative practices and perpetuate a system where manufactured pseudo-music reigns supreme.

Here’s another news of another extensive study that demonstrates that there is no link between declining CD sales and the success of file-sharing technologies. One wonders what it will take to stop the recording industry from blaming others for the glaring flaws in its own system. An even greater decline in CD sales, presumably.

What irks me is that all this makes it more difficult for me to enjoy real music. The latest Prince album is now available through the artist’s own music store. It makes sense for me, as someone who wants to support the musicians and not the music industry, to purchase the music directly from the artist.

But that store uses Microsoft’s Windows Media technology with built-in DRM that makes the music files pretty much unusable for me on a Mac. Instead, I have to cheat and “pirate” my own legitimate copy of the Windows files by using VirtualPC to burn them on a CD and then rip the CD on the Mac side. It’s not difficult, but it’s just a pain in the neck. And the DRM for these files will not do a thing to deter piracy.

There are encouraging signs, like the fact that the single “Musicology” taken from that album is now also available through the iTunes Music Store. But the iTunes Music Store is still not available in Canada… And I have already expressed my reservations about the iTunes Music Store itself.

All I want is to be able to sample the entire catalog of all the music ever released freely and then buy it in high quality in a convenient format through a system where most of the money goes to the artist himself. How far we are still from that ideal…

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