There is something that is being left out of almost all of these arguments that MP3 supporters have, and that is the number of 'high-speed' lines out there right now.
I love the MP3 format, and in the long run I think it CAN be a good thing for the record labels, if they harness the technology correctly.
We all heard how the cassette tape was going to kill sales. We all heard how recordable CDs were going to kill sales. We heard how VCRs were going to kill movie sales. Guess what? None of those happened! Neither will MP3 kill the music industry.
The problem the record companies face is that users like me who are on a cable modem can download a complete CD in MP3 format in only a few minutes. Users on T1 or faster lines can get them in literally seconds. With music being SO readily available as it is on Napster and other programs, why would people pay to get the same thing?
It isn't worth $18.00 (the retail price on most discs) to get a slightly better sounding version of the CD, along with the artwork. So, if it comes down to kids (who still buy most of the music) spending $18.00 or getting it for free, which do you think is going to win?
Here's the problem as I see it. It was all brought really clear to me recently while I was listening to a bootleg of a John Mellencamp concert that was recorded back in the late 70's. He went off on a tangent on how record prices have gotten way too high, that is was horrible that people have to pay $6.99 for a record. Well, here we are in the year 2000 where CD prices are sitting at around $18.00 per disc. The sad thing is that of that money, an average artist gets $1.00 and a superstar gets about $2.00 per disc. The other $16.00 -- $17.00 goes to the fat cats at the record labels.
For those of you who don't know, to manufacture a CD, artwork and a jewel case costs about a grand total of $1.00 per CD. The artist only makes $1.00 or $2.00, so why are we paying $18.00??
If the record companies would wake up, and LOWER CD prices to a fair rate, say $8 -- $10 each, I know I would much rather buy a CD than have the tracks on MP3. But, at these current rates, it's the record companies that are going to keep the MP3 trading going strong!
Darren O'Neill is a 30 year old Web site designer from Mokena, Illinois. Darren is currently the Web master for Martina McBride, who follows the music industry pretty closely.