I 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.