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Big music in "still not getting it" shock - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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Big music in "still not getting it" shock
I seem to be posting a lot about music issues at the moment, but it seems to be on my mind for some reason.

Last.fm have released a digital downloads service called 7 digital. This is a huge improvement over online music stores. It has non-DRMed tracks in MP3 forrmat at transparent (>=192Kbps) bitrates. Also, once you've bought them, you can download them as many times as you like. They sell single tracks for 79p-99p (coincidentally the price of a track on iTunes), and you can pay via Paypal.

However, it's still not a viable service, even though it's finally enabled me to get legal copies of some Mike Oldfield tracks only available on expensive compilations full of music I already own. I've had a look at several albums on there and the minimum price seems to be £8 an album.

They seem to be missing something fundamental. If I can buy a popular album in HMV for £5, they are not competing. If I can have an unpopular album shipped from the US or Hong Kong for £5, they're not competing. While I'm willing to spend a couple of quid on tracks I like from an album I don't want the rest of, the economics of buying a whole album off this site don't make sense.

(Ideally, I'd prefer to buy lossless FLAC as well, but that's a lesser issue.)

Finally, most of the stuff on there is only available in WMA. Frustratingly, there's no search option to say "I'm not interested in shitty DRMed crap of negative value". To be fair, the poor availability is the fault of the music companies, not 7digital.

Amazon also has its own MP3 download store. Which is only accessible in the US. What in holy gibbering f*** is that about, exactly? Again, amazon is used to operating in an international environment. I suspect that it's the music industry demanding it be locked down for fear of undercutting their own international divisions.

This is utterly moronic. They can't *not* undercut them because I can already often order a physical CD from the US for less than I can in the UK. *sigh*
8 comments or Leave a comment
tea_and_cuddles From: tea_and_cuddles Date: June 3rd, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
£5 seems overly cheap. £15 was more the price of a popular album last time I looked. Has it changed radically?
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: June 3rd, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you bought no music in the last 10 years?

These days, high profile new releases sell for a tenner for a couple of weeks after launch then go up to 12-13. After six months they will go into the sale selection for about 8 quid. After that the price declines expontentially to 3-4 quid 2-3 years after realease. (During this time, they will spend some time not in the sale at your 15 quid price point in the brick and mortar stores. You'll never pay more than a tenner for anything if you're prepared to shop about online.)
tea_and_cuddles From: tea_and_cuddles Date: June 4th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Now you mention it, I haven't bought a CD from a regular store in the last 10 years no. It was about £15 when I did.

Just street sellers, friends, gigs and festivals in the last 10 years.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: June 4th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
That does explain it. :)
ewx From: ewx Date: June 3rd, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if online music distribution will kill the album, at least as we know it...
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: June 3rd, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Possible. Consider how few concept albums there are these days. There's not really a need for many albums to hang together as a coherent service any more. Perhaps we'll start getting Seasons of music akin to TV with a new track released every week.

Some people reckon that it may in the long term stop being sensible to monetarise the music itself at all, and that it will become the loss leader for radio play rights, soundtrack use rights, and live gig receipts. I'm not convinced myself, and think there will always be a revenue stream in music because a lot of people are actually inherently fair and recognise that a product has been provided for which recompense is required.
zandev From: zandev Date: June 3rd, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, Amazon are well used to restricting things to territories.

While you can happily buy CDs and DVDs from amazon.com and have them shipped to the UK, you can't do the same for video games.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: June 4th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
How irritating.

I ordered Mass Effect from Thailand. 10 pounds cheaper than I could get it in the UK.
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