Bulletin Board Archive

Topic: Memo to the music industry

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    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060204/ENT/602040329/1025 BY DAVID BAUDER | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Music executives love to blame illegal downloading for their industry's woes. But, based on the results of a nationwide poll, they might want to look in the mirror. Eighty percent of the respondents consider it stealing to download music for free without the copyright holder's permission, and 92 percent say they've never done it, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine. Meanwhile, three-quarters of music fans say compact discs are too expensive, and 58 percent say music in general is getting worse. "Less talented people are able to get a song out there and make a quick million and you never hear from them again," says Kate Simkins, 30, of Cape Cod, Mass. EVER-CHANGING IPOD ERA The music industry has spent several years in turmoil, as downloading and the popularity of iPods upend its traditional business model. A total of 618.9 million CD albums were sold during 2005, sharply down from the 762.8 million sold in 2001, according to Nielsen Soundscan. At the same time, 352.7 million tracks were sold digitally in 2005, a category that wasn't even measured five years ago. Digital sales of music and ring tones offer new revenue opportunities, but often at the expense of more lucrative CD sales. Although buying music digitally hasn't exactly become widespread - only 15 percent of poll respondents say they have done it - there appears to be a growing acceptance of this type of transaction. The poll found that 71 percent of music fans say they believe that a 99-cent download of a song is a fair price or outright bargain. Even though millions of tracks are downloaded for free each week on peer-to-peer networks, a sense of queasiness remains. "Somebody is putting their art out there. They should be compensated for it," said Mickey Johnson, 41, from Charleston, Tenn. The industry would be wise to embrace downloading, said Greg Hoerger, 42, of Minneapolis, who suggested that customers could receive five or six free downloads from an artist when they buy a CD. For fans like Hoerger and Simkins, buying a CD for about $20 is no bargain. They'd rather download songs to their iPods. The digital music revolution also has other benefits, Simkins said with the iPod, she no longer has to have cassettes or CDs cluttering her car. The last CD she bought, a few months ago, was by The Killers. "It was on sale," she said. FALLING ON DEAF EARS Many fans also say they just don't like what they're hearing. It may not be surprising to hear older fans say music just isn't what it used to be when they were growing up. But the poll also found that 49 percent of music fans ages 18-to-34 - the target audience for the music business - say music is getting worse. "Even if our parents didn't like how loud rock 'n' roll was, or that it was revolutionary, at least they could listen to some of it," says Christina Tjoelker, 49, from Snohomish, Wash. "It wasn't gross. It wasn't disgusting. It wasn't about beating up women or shooting the police." The last CD she bought was Neil Diamond's new one, "because Oprah was raving about it," she says. Overall, music fans were split on why music sales have been declining for the past five years: 33 percent said it was because of illegal downloads, 29 percent said it was because of competition from other forms of entertainment, 21 percent blamed it on the quality of music getting worse and 13 percent said it was because CDs are too expensive. FM radio is still the main way most fans find out about new music, according to the poll. Television shows are a distant second. Rock 'n' roll is the most popular style of music, cited by 26 percent of the fans. It runs neck-and-neck with country among fans ages 35 or older. Rap music is the source of the biggest generation gap. Among fans younger than age 35, 18 percent called rap or hip-hop their favorite style of music, the poll found. Only 2 percent of people ages 35 and older said the same thing. AND. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . About the poll Demographics and details about the AP-Rolling Stone poll on attitudes about music and where people get their music: The survey information comes from a poll of 1,000 adults, including 963 music listeners, from all states except Alaska and Hawaii. It was conducted Jan. 23-25 for the AP and Rolling Stone magazine by the international polling firm Ipsos. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Highlights: Four of five music listeners consider downloading music without getting authorization "stealing." Almost as many, 74 percent, say they think CDs are expensive. And a solid majority, 58 percent, said they feel that music is getting worse. People 40 and older were most likely to fall into this category. Where people get their music: More than half of music listeners say they usually get their music from stores that specialize in records or CDs, and about the same number said they get their music from large retailers like Best Buy. Most music listeners, 55 percent, say the main way they learn about new music is through FM radio. Whites were more likely than nonwhites to say FM radio is the main way they learn about music. A majority of young adults, 18-34, were most likely to learn about new music from FM radio. The most popular type of downloading was buying music from Internet sites like iTunes that charge for downloading. Favorite music: Rock 'n' roll was the most popular form of music, the favorite of 26 percent of music listeners. Men were more likely, 32 percent, than women, 21 percent, to prefer rock 'n' roll. That was followed closely by country music, chosen as the favorite by 22 percent. Not surprisingly, people from rural areas were more likely, 32 percent, than people in the cities or suburbs to say country music is their favorite. Younger vs. older: Younger music listeners, 18 to 34, were much more likely, 34 percent, to say music is getting better than those 35 and older were inclined to say that, 20 percent. Younger music listeners were a little more likely to buy songs online than those 35 and older. Those from 18-34 were more likely, 26 percent, than older people, 16 percent, to say 99 cents is too expensive for a song download. Those who download music are more likely, 25 percent, than others, 13 percent, to say it isn't stealing to download music for free without permission of the copyright holder. Both young adults and those older were likely to say downloading music without permission is stealing. Associated Press director of polling Mike Mokrzycki contributed to this story. The Associated Press