Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:16 am
This season's slide is evidence that, despite a brief uptick in music sales at the end of last year, the music-industry meltdown that began more than five years ago is far from over. The long decline has been fed by a combination of factors -- including online piracy, CD burning, high prices and competition for consumer dollars from video games and DVDs.
Lately, people in the music industry have said the same basic issues have been intensified by the growing popularity of pricey gadgets such as Apple's iPod and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, as well as the rising prices for games that go with the new platform.
Don VanCleave, president of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, says blame lies with "an absolute, gigantic cesspool of really bad bands."
Yeah, so stop recording so much rap and focus on some real talent. Glad to see Eminem and 50 Cent didn't fare so hot.The music industry hasn't connected broadly with fans since the late-1990s heyday of the teen pop performed by the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync and Britney Spears. "It's almost like we need a new genre of music," says John Sullivan, chief financial officer of Trans World Entertainment Corp., which operates music stores under the FYE and Coconuts names, among others. "There hasn't been anything fresh to get consumers excited in a while."
"There is still a viable, interested music buyer," Werre contends. His company has recently seen strong performances by older titles from the Beach Boys, Dean Martin and Keith Urban, among others.
Mike Dreese, co-owner of New England entertainment chain Newbury Comics Inc. and a board member of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, says that pricing remains a major problem for the music industry, especially compared with DVDs. "The new Harry Potter movie came out and they're offering $7 videos from the previous movies," he says. "You don't see any $7 Beatles albums."
"And the fundamental trend in physical music is downward."
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