Music sales sliding despite RIAA

By Derek Sooman on January 2, 2006, 11:00 AM
Despite the RIAA's crusade against piracy, it appears that music sales are sliding. US CD sales in 2005 fell 3.5 per cent, compared to a rise of 2.3 per cent in 2004. The RIAA is attributing this to piracy; however there may equally as likely be alternate explanations.

This comes after a year that saw 7,000 more lawsuits against consumers by the RIAA. It also saw the takedown of many BitTorrent sites, and the clampdown against Kazaa by the Australian equivalent of the RIAA.

Without question, the lawsuits against children, parents and grandparents don't help the music industry's public relations campaign. Nor do advertisements portraying download-happy consumers as criminals. It is wrong to grab this music without compensating artists. That's clear. What isn't clear is if suing thousands of people a year to prove a point is a punishment that fits the crime or a strategy worth pursuing.

User Comments: 19

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MonkeyMan said:
You know, they could sue until the cows come home, but the bottom line is, you can't stop piracy, you can only help to prevent it. These companies are losing millions of dollars in a feeble attempt to stop piracy. They should be spending money to find ways to make customers buy retail CD's, instead of tieing it up in the legal system. My input: Be creative, and find a way to modify the retail versions of CD's to entice the customers to buy it more often.
Eleventeen said:
Can't really say im surprised. Basically the RIAA is wasting their time trying to pick out individuals and sue them. Lawsuits against grandparents? They probably dont even know what an mp3 is and they are getting sued for it. They are taking down Bit Torrent sites, yeah, but as many as they take down there will always be more coming up. The way I see it, the RIAA can't stop piracy and there is nothing they can do about it. Making CD's more creative would be nice, like Monkey Man said. They could put bonus features on them with pictures and a couple of live performances or whatnot, but I think the RIAA is too focused on piracy to do something as smart as that.
Bartzy said:
RIAA will always blame piracy for everything. The numbers say it all - RIAA didn't do anything. They just sued thousands of people. They babbled about legal music sales, but what happend ? Legal sales are sliding.It's funny that RIAA is saying that the rise in 2004 was due to better anti-piracy measures. So... What's happend in 2005 ?
otmakus said:
The number doesn't prove that RIAA is suing right and left for nothing. If they didn't do anything, I think we will see a bigger decline than 3,5%.RIAA is sacrificing their reputation (or what's left of it) by doing what they've done. They try to inflict terror to ordinary people so that they won't dare downloading MP3 ever again. But they're fighting a losing battle. The majority MP3 downloaders won't budge no matter what RIAA threatens to do. Instead of fighting MP3 downloading head to head, RIAA should embrace it and assimilate it to the way they sell music.
Arcanum said:
RIAA has been trying to turn the thing around since about... oh forever. We have yet to see it's tactics work...They cannot beat piracy, that's a fact, but they should tend to reduce it, which is a cause I truly support, I just dont condone their ways trying to do that.However, their methods are little on the short side.They can continue this kind of act with suing kinds and etc. till kingdom come, and they still wont accomplish anything.Instead as MonkeyMan said, they should really tend to make the CDs more attractive to potential costumers, supporting a lot of additional materials and media connected with the group/artist, not just his tracks.And try to reduce the fees the major recording houses charge for their 'work', as thats where the biggest amount of the cost is at.If nothing more, they should be more supportive of downloading music content, but at a small fee, even smaller than available today - if you love some group's/artist's music, I think you'll be willing to chip in a cent or a penny to support him.I hope they change their methods soon, cause this is going nowhere, except driving people against them and the whole music industry.
phantasm66 said:
iTunes and the like are the real way forward - they are just too expensive. But there are investigations going on into the pricing, so its likely that such legal services will be cheaper in future. You'll never really stop piracy but you can discourage it through such tactics.
Rhianntp said:
Bottom line is like some people have mentioned here: The music and movie industry need to adapt and evolve with the technology. They can not stop progress. If it means less profits or profits from differant sources , so be it.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
Of course CDs containing rootkits boost sales too!
PanicX said:
Not to nitpik (ok maybe just a little), but technically piracy hasn't changed at all, only copyright infringment has. In order for a product to be pirated, it has to be "stolen" then sold for a profit that doesn't benefit the party it was stolen from. Much like if you copy a VHS tape from a friend that has the copyright warning, you haven't pirated the material, only infringed on the copyright. Now if you copy the tape and sell it to someone else, you've just pirated the tape. The piracy industry is big business. All those guys selling CD's and DVD's in China town for $5 add up to hundreds of millions of dollars. And I think its fair that the RIAA considers those lost sales. However there's been numerous survey's conveying that online copyright infringment actually boosts sales if nothing else. It appears to me that if the RIAA was actually concerned about piracy they'd take action against the street vendors that make no attempt to hide their business rather than the internet teenager that likely wouldn't buy the CD in the first place. Other than that, I think the RIAA simply sees an easy way to pull cash out of internet users and extorts them for profit.It's a safe bet that I'm never buying another CD from a label.
2old said:
Piracy is big business and I couldnt agree more re RIAA actions being off target. But it is easier to scare some teenager (or their parents) with a lawsuit than actually take a pirate to court in a foreign country.And I too will never buy a CD again.
mentaljedi said:
... why am i not surprised? For all people who want to stay out of their crazy way, read this:[url][/ur
]I personally think its jsut that no good music has come out. I mean, think about it. The ratio of people entering the mainstream music market versus people who are turning into pirates is big. I think pirates are not the issue, but the music industry itself. The music industry thinks like a monoply, smelss like a monoply, and sues like one too except it itsn't one.
Nic said:
I've never bought a CD for the last 7 years now (I used to buy loads), and I don't download illegal music (quality is crap). I listen to the radio. Music albums are way over priced and I simply refuse to pay the amount asked espcially when many albumns have only three to four tracks worth listening to. There's no competition to bring down prices because if you want a particular artist's albumn, then there is only one supply source (the artist's record company) and retailers can only discount so much and still make a profit.
nathanskywalker said:
How to fix this, i don't know. STOP pirating people!!!
Kaleid said:
Bought about 12 cds during 2005, which is record low. Reason? Well, I find less and less music that I enjoy which is worth purchasing. Record companies try so hard to try finding the next best thing so all too much effort is being made to hunt down good looking people who might not just be the best musicians around. The music industry and even the buyers are often too superficial.And then there's the loudnessrace, an unfortune habit these days to master everything so that the music SOUNDS LOUD ALL THE TIME, but lacks dynamics because the soundwave ends up being all too flat and this audiophile nightmare also introduces distorsion in the signal. Stop doing that! It just sounds awful.
Craftos said:
Music industry doesn't see any fault by their side, and never saw. In their beautiful reality everybody should buy everthing they release at whatever price and be happy. What you could do with your CD after paying their price - barely anyting, cause it's licence prohibits quite a lot of things. Nothing suprising is - nobody cares about licence, cause earlier there were (almost) no way to track this and sue everybody. Now, with internet you can track people all around the world, and music industry along with RIAA just tries to enforce their rights, that hasn't change since very long time.But what they release now is in general barely worth anything. Pay for CD which has 1 or 2 songs worth listening, everything else is just boring or 10231243123132th perfect clone of old or typical music (like hip hop, rap or metal). People fell ripped off and they are right. They are simply trying to push value they to more real level. The more industry pushes, the worse things get, cause thay are not solving real problems, just brutally enforce their 'vision'. Until they change their attitude nothing will settle.
raystorm said:
The music industry has an awful reputation now, cd's are overpriced and mp3 players will be the new walkman in a few years. They are still expensive but I think in a few years just about everyone will own one and simply use some online music service to just get all the individual songs they like instead of buying a full album that may have only 2 or 3 songs they like. I think the sliding sales will continue.
Kaleid said:
There's one huge reason why I have never purchased digital files online.They are compressed. How about some uncompressed wave files? That'd make me purchase a bit more music, I'd just pick up the tracks that interest me and ignore the rest.
cp06 said:
HaHa,I'm part of a group boycotting the RIAA,We pirate albums burn as many as we can to DVD and hand them outhope some of you come in contact w/ us:)not that i wouldn't spend money but i don't think the RIAA deserves it at this point.i know up and coming artists that need the money
cp06 said:
[b]Originally posted by Rhianntp:[/b][quote]Bottom line is like some people have mentioned here: The music and movie industry need to adapt and evolve with the technology. They can not stop progress. If it means less profits or profits from differant sources , so be it.[/quote]Totally agree
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