You betcha ... as a longtime musician, with a recording studio and a small
record label among other business interests, and therefore a vested, if
somewhat small, interest in the economics of the music business, I agree
I've spent far more for single song music purchases _online_ since Apple and
iPod than I ever would have buying albums at a traditional record store at
When you think about it, and except for the bricks and mortar, this model is
almost exactly as it was when I was a kid with .49 cents in my pocket and a
hungering for the latest Sam Phillip's production ... it appeals precisely
to the same desires that built the industry in the first place.
As a kid, all my money went into a juke-box as I didn't have a record
player till I was 17. What I did have, very early on, was a tube-powered
portable radio. It had a massive lantern-sized battery plus a C battery
for the filament. That thing kept me broke as well. On a good day I
could listen to England, Germany or the pirate-ship radio stations like
Caroline and Veronica. Nothing cured my teen-aged angst like a little
harmony from the Everly Brothers.
I'm still a sucker for a good bit of harmonizing, like Hollies, Peter
and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, Mamas & The Papas, CSNY, Beatles (As soon
as I hit 'post' I'll think of a few more.......)
Jeez, now you got me wondering what my parents used to pay for early
78s. I can't even recall what I paid for my original "Rock Around The
Clock", which probably is a sign of age. I bought that thing twice,
because I wore the first one out. Somehow, $.89 seems right, because I
seem to recall 45s being a tad cheaper when they first came out, but
fairly hateful to keep stacked and playing on most dual speed players.
Roughly 1955/56, and at the age of 12/13, I frequented "Robbie's Record
Shop" and paid .49 cents per 45 record. First two I bought were Nervous
Norvus' "Transfusion" and The Penguin's "Earth Angel".
It was indeed a slippery slope ...
I paid for the original publications, saved most of them, and tossed or
took to the wood club the ones I thought excess to my needs. But they
were not free.
My local library has back issues of most of the Taunton magazines. I
can use them at no charge, but I must go to the library, and retrieve
them from the archives. The library is supported with our tax dollars,
but is not free.
And a bonus thought: Taunton evidently believes that there is value
beyond that which they can extract from advertisers on their site. This
experiment will yield its results in due time. I have no predictions.
However, few other 'pay sites' on the Internet have proved economically
viable, with the exception of adult content. Possible exception is the
Wall Street Journal...
Vote with your dollars.
- Consumer Reports Online
- Pay per use online automotive manufacturer's service info sites, like
techinfo.toyota.com and Subaru's version of the same, are huge success
stories! They take the place of multi-hundred dollar manuals.
- Financial research sites, like Morningstar
- Newspaper sites that allow access to articles from yesterday's paper
- Dating services
I can go on, and on....
FWW's online content is typically good enough that it may very well be
*NOT* true. There are a sh*tload of 'viable' commercial subscription services
out there on the 'net. Several _big_ ones:
Dunn & Bradstreet
TRW credit reporting
In addition, there are many _thousands_ of 'niche' operations, particularly in
the realm of stock/commodities/futures/options investement advisory services
that provide fee-based services -- either flat-rate subscription or on a
The folks that "make money" with Internet 'pay sites' are those who have a
product that is valuable in a specialized market. They also tend to be
'nearly invisible' *outside* of the market that they serve.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi) wrote in
I _knew_ that the moment I wrote this, various good and valid examples
would be raised. Thank you. At least these corrections are polite.
I shoulda kept my post shorter. ;-)
The economic model is stil developing for this Internet thing. That's
The problem with old school media (including music) is that they want
the Internet to just go away and they think that if they fight it or
ignore it long enough it will. They are petrified of losing any of
their profits, but if they don't adapt, they may in fact lose more than
that. It just doesn't make sense to force people to buy CD's or
magazines with the tools we have now. They need to accept the medium
and sell their products for what they are worth. If they don't, then
somebody will and that is where people will spend their money. If there
is no physical CD or magazine, why shouldn't the price reflect that? I
just can't grasp why these publishers won't put their product online at
subscription rates. Less would be better, but the $5/issue subscription
rate wouldn't be a burden. Are they afraid too many people would buy
Why shouldn't the cost reflect the value of the information, rather
than simply the cost of distribution?
I work for a publisher (have done for most of my career, various
companies. I've been with this one for 11 years). The cost of printing
and distributing our publications are a minority of the actual costs of
running our business.
f the FWW articles aren't worth the money TO YOU, don't buy them. Plain
and simple. Value for money.
~ Stay Calm... Be Brave... Wait for the Signs ~
Several years ago, I was a member of an organization that spent almost
all of it's annual budget protecting copyrights it held the rights to.
When asked, the executive officer stated bluntly that it was to keep
the texts unchanged- it had nothing to do with making money. That may
or may not have been true, and it may not be the same case with the
music industry, but I have found (and YMMV) that MP3's are almost
always signifiganty lower quality than a commerical CD. If they are
investing in artists (and I am not familiar enough with that industry
to know what they do and do not provide) and doing signifigant editing
and providing high-quality recording media, it may be the case that
they simply wish to provide a finished product whose quality is higher
than that provided by viable electronic formats (by viable, I'm
talking about MP3- I know there are lossless formats available, but
not that many people are willing to make the time and bandwidth
investment needed to download them.)
As far as magazines go, I think you're onto something. I'd be willing
to pay subscription price for a good electronic version of certain
magazines. Music is another story altogether- even with the
popularity of iPods and the like, I still prefer getting a master copy
on an actual physical object.
I know that MP3 is a loss format, but the reduction in sound quality
isn't as great as is generally believed. For the better sampling rates,
the differences are almost insignificant. I have a bunch I have
resampled to about 3 minutes per megabyte for a microscopic MP3 player
and it is still hard to fault the sound quality. Besides, does anybody
really believe that the music industry clowns care about sound quality
considering the quality of music that is produced?
And for years, the real 'audio tweaks' refused to even listen to CDs,
claiming the sound was bastardised.
Given the processing that occurs with most sound, even in 'live' venues,
it's no wonder that most 'audio product' bears as much resemblance to live,
acoustic music as mdf does to a quality hardwood.
marveling once more at the power of 'threading' on the wReck...
But remember that the room affects even heavily processed, amplified
music. As a live sound guy, I still like "barns" for hard rock and
heavy metal, but hate it for other types of music, for instance, swing
or bluegrass. <G> For example, the slap back of a perfectly
rectangular room would ruin a zydeco act's day, but somehow enhances a
kick drum / bass vamp in the middle of a metal act's set.
All in all, it's still difficult to capture the "feel" and nuances of
any live venue in a recording, since even different seats may have
We did a test a few years ago- same recording (classical) on CD and
LP, on the same higher end, but not the ultra high end mega $ stuff,
in the same room (fairly large, open 2 story space). I could hear the
difference between the 2, and yes, the LP was better.
Didn't matter so much with the rock and roll selections.
As, among other things, a not-yet-retired recording engineer/producer, with
well over 100 published albums to my credit, many with names you would
recognize, and a commercial studio owner to boot (www.hsound.com), I agree
wholeheartedly, and without reservation, with your statement.
Despite owning a studio full of high tech gear, almost 100% of my listening
for pleasure is over, or through, an iPod full of mp3's.
A good argument can be made that many engineers and producers today care
more about "sound" quality than they do about "song" quality. IOW, and when
all is said and done, most don't seem to understand that we'd rather listen
to a bad recording of a good song, than a good recording of a bad song.
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