The Truth About Music

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Excerpt From Janis Ian’s “Fallout” on Downloading Music

Last night I came across this article. Although it is dated a few years, the message she sends is still very relevant. I’m curious what my readers think about this quote. Please vote in the poll below and leave some comments with your thoughts. You can download the full article by clicking here but this is the excerpt I would like your feedback on:

Do I still believe downloading is not harming the music industry? Yes, absolutely. Do I think consumers, once the industry starts making a product they want to buy, will still buy, even though they can download? Yes. Water is free, but a lot of us drink bottled water because it tastes better. You can get coffee at the office, but you’re likely to go to Starbucks or the local espresso place and bring it back to the office with you, because that coffee tastes better. When record companies start making CD’s that offer consumers a reason to buy them…consumers will buy them. The songs may be free on line, but the CD’s will taste better.

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5 Legacy Comments

  • Comment by Greg posted April 20, 2010 at 23:49

    CD’s are dead, but thats a different issue i feel.

    Her comparison is weak, if she had said free starbucks at work instead of just coffee it would make more sense….and would also disprove herself. when it is literally the same product those who dl will always dl. i am not dling mediocre band A because otherwise i would have to pay for amazing band B; i have access to both and will steal accordingly ;)

    why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.

  • Comment by Greg posted April 20, 2010 at 23:50

    oo and if they make it available to buy it is with out a doubt available to take (in refernce to harris’ point about artwork and what not)

  • Comment by Jennifer posted April 21, 2010 at 00:14

    Great quote. I’ve pondered this idea for awhile–and sure, it’s true in theory and it’s always important to think about the value you’re offering, but I am not sure how sustainable this idea is.

    Ok so, if you create an incentive for fans to buy a CD, if you offer something exclusively in the physical form, fans will purchase the physical CD. I can see this working in various forms (one example: running a contest and offering a “golden ticket” in several physical CDs that could be redeemed for a special prize).

    But that’s essentially a gimmick, a one-off, forcing people to buy the CD to win the prize. I can’t think of any other ways to encourage people to buy CDs (and music in general) in a long-term and sustainable way when the other alternative is always going to be getting music for free.

    Thoughts?

  • Comment by Harris posted April 21, 2010 at 00:22

    I actually think the idea of a “golden ticket” is awesome. I’m curious what would happen if labels gave away 20-30 tickets to a bands local shows in each market. Would people buy a $10 CD if they had a chance of winning a pair of tickets to the bands upcoming show? I think they would…

  • Comment by Edmund posted April 21, 2010 at 09:12

    Harris, two points:

    1. There are more than two options here. What about legal downloads via iTunes or Amazon? That lets me support artists AND save the environment AND save money, all at once.

    2. There is absolutely zero evidence that illegal downloads hurt ARTISTS. Sure, it hurts LABELS, but those are NOT the same thing.