**** ZDNet News reader Dan Petersen believes the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is responsible in part for the increase in pirated music. Read Dan Petersen's opinion below. ****
While I don't agree with piracy, I strongly disagree with some of the RIAA's actions in this matter, mostly in the way that the music industry has ripped off the consumer. While this does NOT justify piracy, I think all the piracy shows how tired the American people are of getting ripped off.
Have you ever bought a CD because of one song on the radio you liked, thinking the rest of the album is just as good, and it wasn't? Examples that leap to my mind are Seal's first album and Smash Mouth's first album (fush ya mang). At minimum, there should be a mechanism where I can listen to the album before I buy. With video games there are readily available free demos you can try before you buy. With movies, you can rent them or see them in the theater. They also need to have a mechanism where you can buy singles. Singles were great if I didn't want to buy the whole album. Downloading the singles for a price in MP3 format would be cool. And/or selecting what songs you want on your CD would also be cool.
When CDs first came out almost 20 years ago, they were $15 to $16 in non-discount stores. What are they today? About the same. While all the other consumer products -- like VCRs, DVD players, TVs, PCs -- keep dropping in price, CDs have remained the same price. Blank CDs, videotapes, floppy disks, all have dropped in price over time. But how much of these savings has been passed on to the consumer? NOT A PENNY!
In the early days of videotapes there were two pricing camps: One sold them for $90 and one for about $20. Only very rich people or video stores would buy the $90 version. And what would many people do? Rent it and copy it because they couldn't afford the price or the price was well above what the consumer was willing to pay.
On the $20 videotape side, the movie studio made their money by volume sales because a lot more people were willing to pay $20 and get a good, clean, legit copy.
Get a clue RIAA! Set up a method of previewing music and sell singles. Charge reasonable prices. Give the people the quality music they want. Don't keep tricking them into buying crap!
Dan Petersen is an Engineer out of Raleigh, NC.
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