Tuesday, September 03, 2002

MORE ON WEBTHEFT: Of course, facts, "facts" and stats keep swapping round the MP3 debate faster than an Eminem album onto a Broadband-connected iPod, but if you're in the mood for some more: consider this - according to BPI figures, Internet sales now account for one in every twenty CDs sold in the UK. Now, surely if the interweb was strangling the life out the industry, and the sort of people who have access to a world of free music will never buy a record again, that figure should be falling rather than rising?
Another explanation for the current malaise in the music industry might be found in one of the other pieces of data, which suggests that supermaket sales account now for 16% of all CD album sales in the UK, while specialists and music chains are seeing their share of the market fall. Now, generally the music industry see supermarket sales as a Good Thing, because you can pick up Pink while you p-p-pick up a Penguin. And to a point that's true, but our experience of the range available in Supermarkets suggests the convenience may come at a price. Go into a record shop to buy a copy of the Oakenfold single, and you're going to be in a room full of other singles and albums, many presented attractively and priced competitively. It's virtually impossible to come out without buying more than you went in for. In a supermarket, not only is the range smaller, but you've got steaks, charcoal briquettes and own-brand brogues also competing for your attention - the result is that even if something else does spark your interest, and that's quite a big if - you've got all sort of other pulls on your cash making a snap purchase far less likely. If our theory is right, you'd expect to see that the supermarkets share of the pie rise, while the pie itself gets smaller - and that's exactly what's happening.

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