April 6, 2008

Selling Music Online

Filed under: Digital Distribution — Tags: — Robert John Ed @ 8:32 pm

The earlier news that the iTunes Store has surpassed Walmart as the number one music distributor was a pretty marked sign of things to come.

Although I still buy CDs (a lot actually) the value of a store like this is really big for the end user.  Despite the fact that Apple locks up their content to make it hardware specific, it’s still a very good system.  Most bands suck, unfortunately.  And they still make music.  The music industry is really feeling the sting of selling CDs all throughout the 90’s with one or two good songs and filler.  Now people can pick and choose those songs they need.   They also have the ability to buy an entire album (without having to go to a brick and mortar).

So where is the problem?  Retailers can’t stock a lot of albums if albums don’t sell.  So selection at Walmart will go down.  Piracy is a problem with digital distribution (probably more so than burning CDs).  Small or upcoming artists need the marketing that labels can provide, although there’s always other ways to market yourself.  Bigger artists with established fan bases are looking into some new ways of promoting albums.  And this stuff is old news.

I wonder what other media will do as this continues.  Will reading become more of a digital commodity?  Jeff Bezos has taken a large step with Kindle.  I still buy and read books as well.  I don’t know how quickly or thoroughly this trend will proliferate, but it will.  The technology will grow and adapt far faster than the acceptance of it.  This is just another step as the information supernova becomes more a beacon in our societal sky.


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