Trying To Get To You

Friday, January 12, 2007

Record Business Question Of The Day

Can anyone name a business besides the record business where the product available illegally is better than the one that is available to the consumer legally?

On the vaunted iTunes (which sells 70% of all legal downloads), I can only buy a copy protected 128AAC file, a file inferior in audio quality to 192mp3 (and higher) files. On illegal BitTorrent music sites, unprotected 192mp3 files are usually the lowest sound quality they offer! Do a majority of music fans care about sound quality? I have my doubts, but certainly the most hard core music fans do, the ones that proselytize about music and would be the first fans of a great legal downloading service, one that provides more, rather than less choice for the consumer.

eMusic is to be commended for offering unprotected files at 192kbps. But even there, there's no choice in the matter. Give me every sound quality option possible, at a price point that reflects the quality of the product I'm buying. I'm willing to pay full album price to download a full audio quality track. But $10 bucks for an album that sounds markedly inferior to what I can get in a store...or get for free in better quality somewhere else. Forget it. If the record business is to survive this period, they're going to have to win the consumer back by offering more choice - not restricting it.

1 comment:

greg said...

I wouldn't call iTunes vaunted, they're just the only game in town that plays on the iPod (w/a few exceptions), which has roughly 70% of the market share of portable players.

I think with most people the real issue is convenience and not audio quality. They want to buy a file that plays on whichever player they have, like a CD does.

Put it this way, if Virgin records only let you go in and listen and not buy CD's, there'd be a lot more theft. And with any DRM, that's basically what's happening. You don't own, you rent and have limitations on what you can do with your files.

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