On my way down the aisles at Target, I made the mistake of wandering into the music section. I love music, so the only reason this was a mistake was because compact disc prices are getting smaller by the minute. My wallet, however, is also shrinking. With the recent decline of prices, I now must make the decision to buy a new CD or eat the following week. Cheap CDs are mighty tempting, however, are they tempting enough to keep the CD business alive?
Many factors contribute to the declining prices. The biggest factor to come into play in recent weeks is the record companies’ legal action against people who download music.
Across the entire United States, the Recording Industry Association of America has filed 261 lawsuits. The hope of these actions is to deter and stop illegal music downloading and file sharing. The illegal downloads hurt artists, producers and have also affected CD sales.
In response to the drop in sales, many companies have slashed the prices of their CDs. Universal Music Group dropped the price of their CDs to $12.98 manufacture’s suggested retail price. Also, retailers have started to offer greater sales on release day of CDs. The purpose of these lower prices is to entice the weak-willed music patron to buy more CDs.
Many think that even with the reduced prices, the CD industry will spin into the ground. The argument is that people have been receiving music in their households via file sharing for so long, why would they want to take the trouble to go out to a store for music? The number of people who have downloaded music is insanely high, however, I believe that the main attraction to the downloading was that it was free. Convenience played a role in downloading, but the key attractant was “FREE.” With CD prices ranging from $10-$20, the “free” concept was pretty enticing. Now that record companies are cracking down on illegal music downloaders, the number of people getting music from the Internet will significantly decrease. And those CD prices will seem like pocket change in comparison to thousand dollar fines.
Sure, people will continue to use the Internet for music. Legal music sites, such as Apple’s Music Store, have popped up in which consumers can pay about a dollar a song. While these sites will no doubt gain popularity, many people will go back to the good old-fashioned way of buying CDs. And with prices dropping the way they are, consumers will be more attracted to purchasing CDs.
CDs will not be disappearing anytime soon. There may be more music placed on the Web, but there are always going to be people who would rather go to the store, buy a tangible product and support their favorite band. And now that CDs are at a more reasonable price, people will be more willing to go buy them.
When the choice comes down to Ramen Noodles and Little Juan Burritos versus the newest CD, remember, there is usually free food at some event, so spend that little bit of money for the music.