Ever since I blogged for a music site, I’ve watched how the Internet has transformed the music industry.
Here are some recent highlights – and they are sad songs:
- Radiohead gives the finger to record labels and at the last minute releases their album In Rainbows on their web site.
- Sites like Imeem stream major label songs free on their site and of course there are plenty of illegal download sites.
- Or there is a Chinese search engine that ignors copyrights altogether (check this out).
- Paul McCartney ditches EMI and goes with a record label from a coffee shop label (Starbucks’ Hear Music) and it proves successful. It sold more than 160,000 copies in its first week.
- You know things are bad when a business starts to sue their customers.
- Music label EMI says they are cutting staff by 2,000 and other labels have or cutting staff.
- People are buying songs rather than CDs, which has had a huge impact on sales. CD sales are down 19 percent and keep dropping.
- DRM issues have soured customers – they restrict what devices play downloaded music.
It seems like almost everyone is giving away free music downloads these days. You can get free music with your fast food (would you like some music with your meal?). You can get free music with your cell phone. What’s next? Oh yes, free music downloads with your Pepsi.
The Super Bowl played a major role in helping iTunes gain exposure. Now, iTunes is losing popularity with the music industry because of strict pricing and terms. Even though iTunes dominates the market, they have a new blow. The Super Bowl says they’ll work with Amazon’s music download site instead of iTunes. Amazon’s service just launched this September and it’s far more open. Record companies might be the next to favor Amazon.