Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Learning to Love the iPod Era

I am now a citizen of the digital music world. I've got my iPod. I've ripped all my CDs onto my hard drive - in fact, I bought a new hard drive dedicated SOLELY to storing all my music!

And, last weekend, I finally started perusing around the iTunes music store. Well, two hours and thirty bucks later, I am as hooked as a crack whore.

A few revelations ocurred to me as I downloaded Dar William's top 10 playlist::

- I doubt that I will ever again buy a CD. What's the point? Even the best CDs have no more that 5 or 6 tracks worth owning. Take Beck, for example. I love Beck. I have religiously purchased every new CD, the week it comes out ($15.99, anyone?) But even on as great an album as Guero, there are two or three or four tracks that I tend to skip right past. Hey, Beck - next album? I'll download half of it for five bucks and call it a day.

- This is absolutely the way to manage music. Why bother ripped from a CD onto my PC? Eliminate the middle man.

- The record company (or any company, for that matter, as I doubt a record company will ever make the intellectual leap) that figures out how to truly harness this method of distribution is going to make a killing - and earn many, many customers for life.

An article in today's WaPo speaks to all of this. Bottom line: in spite of the huge numbers of singles being sold online, the industry is still struggling to grow the dollars.

Money quote: "Record companies would tell me, 'We're not going to put a single out, because it's really the only great song on the album,' " says Billboard's Mayfield.

Well, then maybe that's the problem you need to fix, buddy boy.

Or the fact that CDs are overpriced themselves, eh?

Damn, but I love how the free market works.


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