Friday, 29 October 2010
Money Money Money
It just goes to show how we have unconsciously absorbed the reduction in price for the music we buy yet still feel we are hard done by and will turn our collective noses up at product that in real terms has at least halved in price over the last 40 years. In fact, these days file sharing for free seems to be touted as a ‘right’ amongst some parts of the consumer market.
So I note with some amusement that ex-Warner Music UK boss, Rob Dickins, has decreed that albums should be sold at £1 each in an effort to combat piracy and encourage waning sales. Whoo-Hoo! Predictably, this has caused howls of outrage amongst the music industry who are still trying to keep a firm hold on their diminishing profits, but to me it seems eminently sensible. His argument is that file-sharers would be happy to pay a legal £1 per download rather than an illegal nothing and that the remainder of us would buy substantially more albums, thus recouping revenue for the industry and generating demand in other areas such as live concerts and merchandise. He may be right, but I suspect not. The sense that media should be ‘free’ is pretty ingrained in some parts of society.
Nevertheless, I see no defence to those companies still charging full price for albums produced in the 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s whose production costs have long been recovered. I’ve never understood why it is virtually impossible to buy Beatles albums, for example, for less than £10, a staggering 45 years after they were first released. It smacks of greed. I for one would undoubtedly buy more if prices were reduced considerably. It takes away the risk that you are about to spend good money on something that turns out to be the worse album ever produced – something that I’ve had enough of in the past.
Record producers say that they must charge to cover their risks, but what about the consumer? They shoulder risk every time they buy today’s ‘product’ as most of it is sub-standard. Reducing the price would alleviate buyers' risk and I’m all in favour of that.