Is Napster Hurting Recording Sales?
news last week that "sales
of compact discs singles fell by 39% [BBC]
last year" according to the Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA).
industry execs, anxious to prove they have been damaged by
the digital music revolution in general and Napster in specific,
seized on the figures to prove that online file-trading has
"harmed their business."
has it? The CD singles category is misleading as a measure
of industry health. In the 50s and 60s singles were strong
sellers, but they have declined in importance in recent decades.
Singles have a very distinct
place in the market [Independent],
and that place is changing.
sales of compact discs - a $12 billion business - held
their own [Newsbytes] in a
year many considered weak musically. Revenues from full-length
cd's, by far the most popular mode of recorded music, grew
three percent last year. Shipments of full-length compact
discs increased by .4 percent from 1999 to 2000.
suggested last year [ZDNet]
that rather than hurting cd sales, music downloading over
the net "prompted listeners to go out and buy recordings."
The survey said "that 66 percent of all consumers said
that listening to a song online has at least once prompted
them to later buy a CD or cassette featuring the song."
first six months of 2000 [ZDNet],
shipments of full-length compact discs in the United States
reached an all-time high, up 6 percent from the previous year
period to 420 million units. "CDs comprise 86 percent
of the total music purchasing market and the dollar value
grew 9.9 percent to nearly $5.7 billion.
only that, the sales figures don't include a rapidly-expanding
do-it-yourself industry [Nando Times]
and a growing indie-label business in which musicians are
recording, releasing and selling their own music over the