Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Seriously, this is good and fair: If each album costs $12 or so, and there are twelve or so tracks, why not charge $1 per track? I'll pay in a heartbeat. (And it'll eventually make it easier to find guilty pleasures like Rhythm of the Night -- try finding that outside a "Music of Miami Vice" sountrack. And those went off the shelves in, oh, 1990.)

UPDATE: Jimmy has a counterpoint:

ok, here's where i'm going with this. now we have online sales. online sales means that costs have just dropped like a frenchman's gun in battle. a whole fucking dollar PER SONG???? you gotta be kidding me. so let's say you wanted to download the whole matrix CD. 19 different songs on it. so that's $19. so you're paying the same as retail. you aren't getting anything MORE. at that cost you might as well buy the fucking CD so that's it's pre-burned onto a CD for a CD-player. you can always just rip the songs off the CD if you want them for MP3 players. you get the booklet in the CD which probabaly has lyrics or cool pics. and by buying it online, you just saved the company shipping, materials, and slew of other costs. you're paying the same amount of money yet getting nothing MORE in return. the only person making off like a bandit in this is the record company.
As I mentioned to him in a reply email, that:

I can't really speak to the end of that rant, but very briefly:

Why I find it acceptable is this: I almost never want every song on an album. A lot of the songs I like are hard to find -- remember the Transformers soundtrack before Rhino got in on the game? -- and if you can database all of those songs, I'll only have to pay $1 for a song I want and can burn away on at will.

Yes, I know, that's a lot -- except it's not. It's a [bleep]ing dollar. It's a dollar to cover the broadband cost, the server space, the license fee (screwy, but legal, and indeed, legally required), and the record companies' cut (yes, they're evil, but they're just capitalists, and I want them to keep putting out music).

So I won't end up paying the same as on an album. I'll pay for a single song. I'll get "She Bop" (shiver) for the wife without hassle, and the Demolition Man soundtrack version of Demolition Man without buying the whole, [bigoted sexuality remark] album. If I want a whole album, I'll buy that, then rip it.
This is not to negate his rather obvious point: We're still paying too much for the music. True. But we can drive cost structures down, even within this market arrangement (which smells suspiciously like a cartel arrangement to me) with online services and other media. (Query: How many other industries, when faced with a market signal that they're charging too much -- i.e., millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens take product from them on a regular basis -- respond by turning around and yelling that it's the customers' fault?)

Jimmy has a good point. But I find $1 a good cost-benefit meeting point.

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