Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Has iTunes Killed The CD Business?

I have been reading a lot lately about the slide in sales of CDs and have some observations and comments.  In my opinion, the decline in sales of CDs is directly related to the success and growth of iTunes.  In addition,  the music industry was not able to develop "out of the box" thinking and was content to stay within the status quo position they have embraced for the last 25 years or more.  However,  the music industry could have seen this change coming if they had bothered to ask the CD buying public this question: "If you could buy just those songs on a CD that you really liked instead of buying all the songs, what would you choose?".  I think it is pretty clear that the public's answer would be to buy only the songs that they loved and avoid any songs that were just OK. So it is not a surprise to read that artists today are putting out CDs that don't appear high on the charts while at the same time, a few of the songs on the same CD are hitting the top of the charts.  What does this trend mean for today's recording artists?  My guess is that it is not the end of the world for these talented musicians just a different world.  These artists need to create the best personal web sites available to attract customers who may have heard one of their songs, love it and want to see what other work the artist has done.  So the focus turns away from individual preselected CD to the entire body of work an artist has produced. The customer, in effect, will then create their own CD from the artist's body of work.  I think this is a good thing for the customer and the artist. Over the long run, the artist should be able to develop a strong loyal customer following and also will be rewarded for the development of his or her best work.

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