Twilight of the Gods: When Buying Music Seems Laughable

Twilight of the GodsI recently wrote about my new Neil Young CD, the first "purchased" CD to cross my path in almost a decade. Then, I listened to Twilight of the Gods, a five-part radio documentary series that aired on CBC's Inside the Music. You can listen to it here.

In part five of Twilight of the Gods, there's a chat with a group of teens who are obsessed with pop music. They love what they hear on MuchMusic, but when the interviewer asks them if they buy music, they literally laugh out loud. The very notion of paying for music is so outlandish they find it funny. There are now adults who have never bought music, and never will so long as it's available somewhere for free.

Record companies have a major problem on their hands, and fixing it might be akin to closing Pandora's box. That was a lot of money they were making on CD sales, and they haven't been able to replace it, but they have managed to make a series of bad moves in the post-Napster era that have made them villainous. This isn't only opportunity lost, but it removed much of the guilt associated with illegal downloading.

It's a fascinating documentary and I highly recommend it. It almost makes it understandable why concert tickets are so expensive these days. It's one of the only ways an artist can make real money today.


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519 Rob

My oldest son is 14. When I was that age, I LIVED for allowance day. I'd get my parents to take me to A&A records to buy the newest album.
Now my son has NO interest in that at all. He has the radio, MuchMusic (when they play videos), and most of all, the internet.

I'm sort of sad for him, and his generation. I think they are missing out on the sensation that comes along with buying an album, and DISCOVERING music. Not the crap that the labels and video chanels choose for us to hear.

July 17, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@519 Rob

They're still doing it, they're just not buying it.

Discovering the music is easier than ever with songify and grooveshark, not to mention awesome radio apps like tunein, etc. Then, when they find something they like, they download the entire discography in highest bitrate MP3s via the torrent network of their choice.

So now instead of waiting for their allowance and an album to hit HMV / Sam's / etc., they wait for a leak or a good rip and lots of seeders. But they get their music... and spend their allowance on other stuff.

July 17, 2012 @ 12:10 PM

Brian

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?

Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?

Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?

July 17, 2012 @ 1:04 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Brian

I have a theory...

The record companies painted themselves as public enemy #1. They messed with horrible DRM and then sued people, and eventually people didn't want to give them money.

But the Internet is the great leveller. I believe artists will be able to see their products directly to consumers, without a record company in the middle, and that fans will want to support the artists this way. Sort of like how I recently gave Louis CK $5 for his video.

I should mention that when we buy iPods and other mobile MP3 players, we're also paying a levy for assumed copyright violation.

In 2005, the Federal Court of Appeal overruled a 2003 Copyright Board decision which had applied the blank media levy to MP3 players such as Apple Inc.'s iPod, on the basis that such devices did not qualify as "audio recording medium" as per the Copyright Act definition.[4] Before this, the proposed rates were $2 for players with less than 1 GB of capacity, $15 for players up to 15 GB, and $25 for players 15 GB and over.
July 17, 2012 @ 1:14 PM

Brian

Once source not mentioned for getting music - the library. You can reserve all the CD's you want online and than pick them up at your local library....once you have them at home, rip them to your computer and voila - free music.

July 17, 2012 @ 1:16 PM

Wulv

“Pirating” music is nothing new, it has always existed, it is just now so much easier and visible it gets press. I grew up in the late 70's early 80's, every record, tape and later CD I had was copied for a friend to cassette and vice versa. Everyone I know who purchased an album would copy it for their friends. If you REALLY liked it you went and purchased it yourself. I know multiple people who had entire libraries of music, all copies of others.
Heck, read up on the history of Punk or Metal and copying was the only way you found out about a new band. Radio sure as hell wasn't playing it. It has moved to a different method sure, but Zines used to advertise music swaps on cassette, I still have some ancient mixed tapes from some random people in the USA.
There are so many factors in the stats for "pirating" that the music industry shrugs off. How about Canada is the second largest purchaser of music on iTunes per capita and should be #1 very soon? How about the studies that state people who download music (for free) actually purchase more music that most people who do not? The fact that "The Album" is pretty much dead, and the new business model for Pop is "The Single" should also be taken into consideration. How about the fact that Musicians aren’t the ones making the money of music sales still? They are making LESS per sale of an album in most cases than they were during the CD era. How is that possible with digital distribution? O yeah and the Levy? The money hasn’t made it to the artists yet, I believe there is an ongoing lawsuit against the CRIA to actually get the money to where it belongs.

If a musician posts music on their own site to buy or download it, I am there. (the Louis CK stuff as well). It generally goes directly to the artist actually doing the work of making the music. If bands have their own store to purchase physical media as well.
Sorry , any talk about the Canadian music industry tends to boil my blood. I have in the past worked with too many musicians who have complained to no end about it. Ending my rant :p

July 17, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

Cheryl

I still buy music, but buy it on I-tunes. I no longer buy physical CDs. It's cheaper and easier to do it this way.

July 17, 2012 @ 4:51 PM

Jason from Sudbury

I mostly just download torents.

July 17, 2012 @ 5:36 PM

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