Went to a party last week in Boston’s North End. Most of the folks there were young people who work for airlines. This is a prime demographic for the music industry. Yet they were not playing CDs. A tiny apartment in Boston costs $2000/month. This has dual effects: (1) young people have no money to buy CDs because it all goes to their landlords, and (2) young people have no space to store CDs because every square inch of their apartments is already devoted to something more essential.
Had these folks given up on music? No! They were paying for digital cable TV, which includes 50 channels of commercial-free music at no extra charge. They’d hooked up their cable box to their stereo and were happily flipping among the stations.
One flight attendant, a vivacious blond Floridian, said that she had a lot of music on MP3. She doesn’t like computers, though, and hadn’t downloaded anything from the Internet. Her brother had a big old music collection that he had ripped onto his computer. Periodically the brother would select some material for his sister and transfer it onto her MP3 player.
The CD celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, having been introduced in Japan in 1982. It is tough to milk $billions in profits from a 21-year-old product that has never been improved, especially in a First World economy where things like digital cable TV are developed and marketed. We really should give the record company executives credit for being grandly ambitious….