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Cry for the Monolithic Entertainment Industry

January 12, 2006

A recent Reuters article details the woes of the culture industry and their inability to shift product in a reliable manner:

U.S. music album sales last year slid to their lowest level since 1996, squelching any hopes that the recording industry’s long downward spiral may have bottomed out, according to sales data issued on Wednesday.

Tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, which measures point-of-sale purchases across the United States, said total album sales — including current and catalog titles — fell 7.2 percent from 2004 to 618.9 million units, the lowest since 1996, when they were 616.6 million.

After enjoying a rare “up” year in 2004, prompting predictions the worst was over, sales flagged during 2005, hurt by competition from illegal downloads, rival forms of entertainment such as video games, and a lack of breakout musical acts.

Of course, it doesn’t take into account economic factors, such as people having less disposable income to spend on the disposable music icon du jour, nor does it mention the increased feeling alienation that the majors have created with consumers, via their predatory marketing practices and their malicious copyright protection measures.
This editorial from Brainwashed about the above article is more on the money:

Among corporate labels, there is much fretting and wringing of hands. Reuters, however, fail to recognize the non-major label music industry, who don’t seem to be pissing and moaning. Major labels are a dying breed due to their own avarice, and nobody’s gonna cry when they die.

The four major labels (there were six when we started banning major labels on Brainwashed: two down, four to go!) haven’t woken up to the new reality: more and more people don’t want to pay for shitty corporate music and shitty corporate tactics. Why should they? The money isn’t going to the artists and it isn’t going to hard working employees: it’s going to computer companies who develop malicious spyware that destroys your computer, payola, and RIAA lawyers, who continue to sue mothers who have nothing to do with any illegal operations.

Read whole article.

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