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Could A New Downloadable Format Revive The Concept of The Single? Print E-mail
Friday, 30 August 2002
With over 52,000,000 users reportedly using Napster in its prime in 2000 and reportedly over 80,000,000 total downloads of Kazaa and Morphieus, the genie is definitely out the bottle with downloadable music for the music industry. The RIAA is claiming it is killing the business but is doing little more than suing companies and complaining about piracy in response to the second year of poor sales. It is obvious they need to stop the bleeding and stop it fast. The most effective way to stop the bleeding is to come up with the next downloadable music format and make it the new standard to replace the lousy sounding and easily copied MP3. Record industry execs frequently say “it is hard to compete with free” when discussing MP3s. They are wrong. MP3s can be replaced in a way that can be both popular and legal. Supporters of DVD-Audio brag about the format’s added values (music videos, interviews, rare photos and more) and how the consumer gets so much more for their $16.99. And they are right. Imagine if through a more advanced compression system (perhaps something like Meridian’s Lossless Packing?) you could squeeze not just a song on to a downloadable file but you tack on band images, tiny video clips, spoken word interviews or other rare content. If the content is compelling hardcore fans will actually start to embrace the record industry’s failing downloadable sites. If they big five media conglomerates learned that working together would be better than apart relative to downloadable music, you’d have even more people actually paying for downloadable music. It would make for a new billion dollar industry segment immediately.

Like the days of the single 45 RPM record, with a new downloadable file you might be able to actually sell a hit record on this new format without selling the entire album. GenX and GenY demand that they can put their music on their iPods why not cater to them so the consumers, artists and labels all get what they want. People are spending money on prerecorded entertainment since 9-11 it just isn’t as much on music. With a little creativity, that could change.

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