Monday, August 18, 2003

THE CURSE OF DOWNLOADING: What with downloading and piracy, it's a miracle anyone can sell any records at all, you know. The music industry as we know it is doomed and all those... hang about, we've just been handed a piece of paper... ah... somehow, despite all the gloom and misery that the BPI has been quick to push about how the kids with their MP3 tracks and blokes with car boot sales will crush the music industry to death, record levels of CDs were sold in the UK in the last three months - 228 million of the shiny little bastards. Happily, this seems to have made the BPI shut up about how evil computers are for a little while, and they';re focusing on the more positive aspects of the future, flagging the ways they're belatedly trying to create some sort of legal network for click-and-store music sales.

Meanwhile, they're also accepting that the slump in singles sales isn't down to illegal downloading alone; they give some credence to the 'rival entertainment' argument. What they don't seem capable of doing is extrapolating that, with record album sales and - as they put it - CD albums "never having been cheaper in the UK" (an average of GBP9.97 per title sold) - the four quid standard list price of a three-track single is a deal that looks even worse than it ever did. Albums are now starting to fall to a price that doesn't reek of Supernormal Profit (the stench has gone from 'hospital cleaning' strength to 'brie, just past sell-by date'); in comparison, singles look like they've been priced by the Worst Contestant On Bargain Hunt Ever. Plus, they're releasing singles by David Sneddon which just makes the whole rack of new releases feel like a dead man's garden.

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