Recordable CDs Outsell Pre-recorded CDs In 2001 
Home Theater News Music - Technology News
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Thursday, 07 March 2002

According to recent reports from the RIAA and pro audio journals, recordable CDs outsold pre-recorded music. According to the RIAA’s recent report the music industry sold just under 1 billion records in 2001 while 1.1 billion CDRs sold in 2001 – outselling prerecorded music for the first time ever.

The RIAA alludes to downloadable music as the cause for their recent ills but computer storage and media cost are also significant factors in the popularity of CDRs. At 30 cents per disc when purchased in bulk, CDRs are currently the most affordable mass market recordable media. It wasn’t long ago that $10 zip discs were the king of the hill but a CDR has more than 10 times the storage space for a tiny fraction of the price.

CDR drives are found in even the least expensive new computers and CDR players for your audio system can be had for less than $400 at any brick and mortar or on-line retailer nationwide. With so much legal and illegal material content to copy, it is hard to imagine CDR’s popularity waning – that is until recordable DVDs get less expensive and millions more computers get equipped with DVD-R drives.

Possible solutions for the music industry include:

1. Complaining until they alienate even more of their core clients.
2. Trying to copy protect their copywritten material to the point that the discs will not play on all CD, CD-ROM or DVD drives.
3. Add value to the music purchase including: DVD-Audio samplers, supplemental materials, music videos, band interviews and more – just like the highly successful and more expensive (more profitable too) DVD-Video format.
4. Sign better bands and artists. Singing fewer boy bands and or teen divas with aftermarket cans in place of investing in more solid bands and performers with actual musical talent and songwriting skill would go a long way to driving more record sales.

Historically, the music industry has tried or successfully killed off every new format that has come along (DAT, CDR MP3…) but the talent recession we are suffering from in music as a whole is an issue that is too big to ignore. Consumers, especially Gen Y and Gen X, are voting with their nearly maxed out credit cards that CDs aren’t nearly as good a value as DVD-Video discs. Alternatives exist and for the first time in musical history, the record companies are going to have take notice because they are fighting harder than ever for to earn the increasingly rare and almighty discretionary dollar.


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