24 August, 2006

Oh. That's Right. Why The Music Business Is Struggling

That's what it was. And that's why I couldn't remember it. We weren't in Kroger, we were in CD Warehouse. And the topic was "why the CD business is faltering" and what my latest theory is.

I've brought up various components of my theory before, but I think after my experience today at CDW (collision damage waiver! who was a travel agent for far too long? Never mind...) I have hit the nail on the head.

People are buying music online instead of full CDs because music stores are torturous to shop in for any length of time. Yeah, I know that I'm old, but I've finally reached the age where I've got enough disposable income to actually be able to afford music now and again. But I have no desire to hang out in the places where they generally cell the CDs because I'm afraid I will be deafened by the screaming, pounding selection that the heavily-pierced white gangsta kid with extra eyeliner thinks is So Kewl That It Must Be Played At 11.

It's never Warren Zevon. It's never Meat Loaf. It's usually something that sounds like fevered Norse gods demolishing Iceland with jackhammers.

I know that musical taste varies from person to person, and that some of you will mock me for even thinking that anyone under 25 would choose to listen to Meat Loaf without being tased. But anyone who has ever worked retail or food service knows that there is Music For Luring The Customers In and Music For Ushering The Customers Out Quickly. For living examples, hie thee to a mall and listen to what is being piped in to encourage you to hang out there and visit Wicks N Sticks, Suncoast and The Body Shop. Then hop over to a counter service restaurant and soak in the "eat your burrito and then vacate this table" tunes. They both have their place.

But it is only in a record (?) store where the music is designed to cause you physical pain. To knock fillings loose. And to make you look frantically over your shoulder to make sure there are no Rahowa lads coming to torch your car in the parking lot. While I'm glad that otherwise disenfranchised guys named Morris can act out their aggression AND earn $7.12 an hour, I'm still thinking that if you want to get people to buy your product you should sell it in venues that don't alienate them.

Until that day comes, I'm sticking to the Apple store.


At 5:03 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

I've become a hugh Napster fan myself.
I think another reason CD sales are slower is simply there is no reason to buy a CD when teh record companies offer up one or two singles, and fill the resst of the tracks with garbage.
I can only think of a few cds I've bought in the last 12 years where there were a lot of good songs on the cd:
August And Everything After--Counting Crows.
Jagged Little Pill--Alanis M.
American Idiot--Green Day
The Eminem Show--Eminem (don't ask)

There may be a few others, but those are the only ones that come to mind.
As a old person, I remember buying albums that had 9 or 10 great songs on them. Suc is not the case, today.

And like you said, it's so much easier to download.
With that in mind, I'm off to Napster to d/l more great tunes I can buy in my pajamas.

At 5:07 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

a=an old person (case in point)

My typos are getting really bad. Sorry. Do you know of any voice command programs that actually work well?

At 8:20 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger jag said...

Following in the footsteps of Sharon, I have to say that I've only bought one album in the last 5-6 years has good all the way through, Divine Discontent by Sixpence None The Richer.

Since the arrival of iTunes and the dispersing of my fortune to them, I'd say that 80% of my purchases have been at least 10 years old.

And I'm not under 25 anymore (gosh, that's weird to say, even though it's been 4 years since I was), but I don't think you're off base at all with the Meat Loaf comment. Even then I preferred Rod Stewart or The Beatles or Journey or Peter Paul & Mary. Now I'm obsessed with Carly Simon. Other than a few of the really overplayed new stuff, I can't say I'm familiar at all with what they'd be playing in a record store.

Sheesh, that was long. Sorry.

At 8:20 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger jag said...

Oh, and the newest Foo Fighters album was pretty good too.

At 8:23 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

I'm with Sharon, typos and all. If music companies would put out CDs that had lots of good music on it, rather than just one or 2 good songs, I'd buy it.

At 9:21 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Rachel said...

I'm guessing they want to try to lure the teens (who could just as easily be downloading), for whom all income is disposible. Nothing says "this is mom & dad's kind of place" and "driving teenagers away" like Meatloaf blaring over the store speakers.

At 9:21 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Sharon: Kerry Woo is the voice-command guru. That's what he does for a living. You should get with him.

I agree with all of you guys that CDs don't have more than one or 2 good songs, generally. I pine for the days of Astral Weeks and The Wall.

But really, how can I even figure out how many good songs are on a CD if I get a migraine trying to shop in the store?

At 12:34 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

I echo what Sharon said.

While we are offering good albums all the way through.

U2 - Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby
The Innocence Mission - probably any album

Albums that are uneven are so frustrating, because I like to listen to an entire CD all the way through and enjoy the experience. I would almost have a CD that has all decent songs, than have a CD that has some fantastic but some bad songs.

That is the advantage of an iPod though, you can listen to all good songs.

I wonder if there will be a point when albums are obsolete.

At 10:43 PM, August 24, 2006, Anonymous Scooby said...

Never go to CD Wherehouse when Nashville has so many cooler options. One word: Grimey's. Good music, and the sales folks actually know what the hell they are talking about. Cat's Music and DVD in Cool Springs is another pleasant place to browse; not as hip as Grimey's, but quiet and convenient. The sales people there, at least the last time I was in, have some music savvy. Go to http://www.catsmusic.com/Home for good reviews of actual good bands! You gotta love Nashville.


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