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Reports in the media today reveal that streaming is now the primary way that most Americans get their music.
Yep, forget purchasing CDs, digital downloads, cassette tapes, wax cylinders and other methods... if you're listening to music in the USA, it's more likely you'll be doing so via services such as Spotify and other streamers than by any other way.
The music industry is "doing very nicely thank you" from music streams and it seems that piracy is becoming far less attractive or fashionable within the ranks of "the great unwashed". Why risk getting pinged when, for just a few bucks a month, you can listen to all the music you want, totally legally?
But hang on, I seem to recall saying, many years ago, that making the legal options cheap enough would be the best way to fight piracy.
It wasn't just me who claimed this -- just about everyone who had more than half a brain (which immediately excludes the RIAA) agreed.
The vast majority of people are intrinsically honest. They would much rather do stuff legally than break the law -- and that includes paying for their music and movies.
We saw a huge surge in music and movie piracy when the internet came along solely because the products the studios were hawking were grossly overpriced. They were overpriced because people had no option but to pay or not play.
The internet changed all that.
With the arrival of digital media and a global network for its distribution, people soon discovered that they could rip content and share it amongst friends or strangers, at virtually no cost.
Why pay $30 for a CD when you could just download its contents for free and burn it to a 50c DVD-R?
Thus, piracy became rife.
Consumers begged the music companies to make the product available online at a reasonable price but the music publishers resisted. Instead of seeing the potential, they fought it tooth and nail. DRM, publicity campaigns, outrageous law suits and all sorts of other tactics soaked up massive amounts of money and ultimately achieved nothing.
It was probably Apple's iTunes which eventually forced the music industry's hands and resulted in their grudging acceptance of the future of music distribution.
Now they're, once again, making good money. Margin has been replaced by volume so profits are up. Best of all though, there are far fewer law-breakers engaging in illegal copying and music is finally affordable.
Now imagine if they'd simply embraced the future when it was shown to them... how much better off would *everyone* be right now?
Let's hope that other cloth-head oligopolies learn from the mistakes that the music industry made and do not repeat those follies.
I'm pleased to say that even the TV and movie industries seem to be waking up and smelling the coffee, in the wake of the success of Netflix.
But geez... it took long enough!
So what do you reckon will happen to Sky TV when the sports contracts run out (LOL) :-)
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