back to article Take that, freetards: First music sales uptick in over a decade

Year-on-year sales of recorded music have risen for the first time since 1999, albeit by a smidgen, according to industry stats. The business of selling and licensing sound recordings is now 40 per cent smaller than it was pre-Y2K, but in 2012 revenues increased by 0.3 per cent - and that hasn't happened before in this …


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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. DanDanDan
    Thumb Up

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    I can't agree more - the gradual collapse of HMV has been the only motivating factor for my high-street music sales. Since they dropped the prices by 25%, everything seems a little more reasonable. I'm still not going to buy the latest no.1 album, but 4 albums of John Coltrane for less than a tenner? Yes please. If only they bothered to distribute the oldies in a digital format, I'd bother to sign up..

  3. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    "The Music industry went for cheap - manufactured boy and girl bands. And people refused to pay for that product."

    The Japanese record companies have it one better, they don't even need real girls, they have Hatsune Miku.

    They compare the sales to a time when people were buying everything again on CD, and whine when the one time money train runs out of track. Try to do it again with DVD Audio but people don't bite.

    And TV is doing the same with all the "reality TV" crap.

  4. pPPPP

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    There is still good music being created today, but it tends to be put out by independent labels, often backed by larger distributors. Most bands nowadays expect people to download their music, but they also know that their actual fans will go out and buy it, just like they always did. These people will also buy tickets to the gigs which is where most bands make their living nowadays. They are also the people who know fine well that an mp3 is crap quality and would rather have the CD or vinyl and make their own mp3s.

    Then on the other side, there are those who listen to what they are told to by their peers or by mass media. They have always been there. They used to tape songs from the radio or buy compilations. Now they lease them individually from itunes.

  5. JonP

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    The argument about the price of music always falls flat for me since the price of a CD (~£10 give or take, YMMV) hasn't actually increased since the early 90's, and as far back as i can recall there has always been too much crap around. It's hard to say if it's actually getting worse or the fact that there's obviously still a market for it that just exacerbates the crapiness of it all...

  6. Amorous Cowherder

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    The internet has democratized music distribution at the bottom of the chain. The huge library of information means that if I want to find out more about Iranian death metal bands ( yes there are Iranian death metal bands! ) I can hone in on a very, very specific sub-sub-genre of my favourite music and deal directly with the band or their promotion company. I don't have to wade through a pile of supplied and pre-approved drivel from the majors hoping to find a few diamonds in the rough.

    Back in the 90's I used to buy about 10-15 albums a week on CD ( out of college, new job, still living at home, cash on the hip, etc ) I would probably re-play only half of what I bought, the rest went on the shelf and never got played more than once. As soon as more bands got online and bandwidth allowed me to get samples of their work I stopped shopping-by-chance and started buying directly from artists and made very selective choices. Now I am a middle-aged parent, basically broke and no much time, I am even more selective about my listening habits.

    It's not piracy that killed music, it's the availability of information that gave real music fans the choices they craved and allowed them to be selective and more choosey.

  7. Mike Flugennock

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    That's why the Musics Mafiaa cartel failed - they refused to operate within market forces.

    Also you need a good product, and since the 80's the industry has largely failed to nurture bands to the point where they were great. Where are the Pink Floydds? The Queens? The Guns n Roses?...

    Yeah, I was just going to say... a smidgen? An uptick? What, did some old freak replace his old copy of Saucerful Of Secrets?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: People will pay for music if it is sanely priced

    "The argument about the price of music always falls flat for me since the price of a CD (~£10 give or take, YMMV) hasn't actually increased since the early 90's"

    The point being that those early CDs were priced very high to make back the investment in 'new technologies', and even when that money had be recouped and the price should've dropped the record labels kept those prices artificially inflated while at the same time have continued to pilfer a few extra percent in royalties from the artists for those same 'new technologies' that are now decades old. That's why they cling to CD audio, because they have a massive margin on the sales. Their cut in downloaded music (through services like iTunes Music Store) is much smaller, simply because when their customers were telling them they WANTED to pay for downloads the major labels were more interested in shutting down Napster and trying to force the market to stick with CDs than changing with the times and they missed chance of a lifetime. They've been trying to hold back the tide ever since and for any independent musician these days they've proved themselves to be irrelevant to the contemporary music-buying market.

  9. Eddie Edwards


    Parties like it's 60% of 1999 might be more accurate.

  10. g e

    Tell us again

    How 'piracy' is damaging your revenue.

    And while you're at it let us point out to you that we were right all along about you having to modernise your outdated old-boys business model into the digital age.

  11. S4qFBxkFFg


    0.3% might be a blip, but it is a surprising one (especially in a recession).

    re. the antepenultimate paragraph, there is still value in ripping - I buy CDs and like to have .flacs on the home computer HD, .oggs on the portable player (waiting for a phone I can put my whole collection of .flacs on) and the last ditch backup of the original CD.

    However, the drop in P2P certainly isn't surprising - unless you're on a proxy (which would probably be an exercise in frustration) or in a "safe" jurisdiction there's a non-negligible risk you're torrenting to a honeypot of some sort.

  12. Captain Hogwash
    Thumb Up

    Re: blip?

    Your penultimate paragraph is right on the money. As it's unlikely music will ever be widely available as FLAC downloads, I'll be sticking with buying CDs and ripping them until the format is discontinued or I am.

  13. M Gale

    Re: blip?

    Of course there's value in ripping. Only the RIAA and MPAA want you to think that a backup copy means buying another copy. Or that removing DRM is inherently wrong.

  14. BongoJoe Silver badge

    Re: blip?

    " As it's unlikely music will ever be widely available as FLAC downloads,"

    I buy most of my classical dowmloads as flac files from Presto. Since I have fully functioning ears I refuse to go for the hissy compressed format much beloved of sonically challenged yoof.

    But, I go get your point. Give me rock CDs that I can download in flac and I then I will buy more that way, though of course the local independent music shop may suffer slightly as a consequence as I buy and then rip to flac before storing the CD in the attic. Whilst I won't be surprised not to find outputs by the local Welsh language label in flac but it is rather surprising in this day and age to not be allowed, for example, to buy the latest Rush opus in flac.

  15. phuzz Silver badge

    Re: blip?

    You can pick FLAC when buying from Bandcamp, which is nice.

  16. Frankee Llonnygog

    The real threat to quality music

    "if you don't look attractive on the Tesco rack, you may not get signed"

    So, look forward to loads more attractively packaged product that turns out to be nothing but bland filler of dubious origin.

    I can't wait for the compilation CD - Now That's What Tesco Call Music:

    Track 1; A horse with no name

    Track 2: Crazy horses

    Track 3: Saddle-ite of love


  17. Shane8

    What did they expect?

    I mean, TPB is blocked so all is more illegal downloading.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What did they expect?

    Yeah TPB is totally blocked for me. I had to google TBD proxies to access it indirectly. Wasted 30 seconds of my time that did. Mind you I did buy Adele 21, I wont pay for stuff I have already bought though.

    I mean, I found 320bps Led Zep BBC sessions on there. Now I have the CD's but could not be bothered to rip them. So I went to TPB. So if they try anything I'll wave the CD's at them...

  19. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Re: What did they expect?

    you have to use a proxy? What version of browser do you have that doesn't use ssl?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What did they expect?



    I think we got away with it this time.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What did they expect?

    It is? Damn. Google's public DNS would appear not to agree ;)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take that, freetards?

    What have they got to lose?

    There are still plenty of them about. If the industry is doing well (or at least better) despite them, it might not be so bothered about trying to fight them.

  23. Euripides Pants Silver badge

    Re: Take that, freetards?

    Andrew needs to switch to decaf.

  24. Shasta McNasty


    "Peer-to-peer file-sharing, meanwhile, has been in steady decline since the mid-Noughties."

    Really? Or is it just that users are becoming harder to identify?

  25. P. Lee Silver badge

    Re: Really?

    Or people already have the old stuff and won't even pirate the new stuff...

  26. Goldmember

    Re: Really?

    "Or people already have the old stuff and won't even pirate the new stuff..."

    MUCH more likely. I can count the number of decent albums from the last decade on my fingers and toes.

  27. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Re: Really?

    "I can count the number of decent albums from the last decade on my fingers and toes."

    Look outside the mainstream, and you'll find plenty.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or alternatively

    How cartelism damaged my wallet.

  29. ContentsMayVary

    0.3% increase? And inflation is what, just now (worldwide)? So music sales are still on the way down...

    > Where are the Pink Floydds? The Queens? The Guns n Roses?

    There's still a lot of big (as in, can play to full stadia) bands going, but whether they are to your taste or not is a different matter. The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Muse, Coldplay (not my cup of tea mind), The Killers, Florence and the Machine, Radiohead (still touring!) and Jack White to name but a few.

  30. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hey, all of those are to my taste! I have an album or so for most of them (or I Spotify the rest). Even have a The Raconteurs album. Except the Prodigy that is, I might only have an instrumental of theirs, they are rather aggressive.

    Thankfully, non of them do dubstep. ;)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Praise the lord the BPI is back in town

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now... will the movie industry take note?

    Give people a reasonably priced product and let them use it wherever they like, and people will pay for it. Most people are not thieves and are quite to happy to pay their way in the world. Yes, there are some that refuse to pay, and they are probably also the people who will happily take the time to bypass DRM any way.

    Now, the film industry needs to take note. I have Skyfall on triple play.

    So, I thought I'd give it a whirl on my Nexus 7, just to see how it works, using the legitimate "Plays Anywhere" version and software. Constant server disconnects and twelve hours later, I have a file on my tablet. Why couldn't they have included this on the DVD? Watching the film I realised just how bad the picture quality was.

    No way to improve that, so I popped the DVD into my laptop, and ripped a version off there. The file was slightly bigger than the downloaded version, but, the picture quality is far superior.

    What are the chances of me ever trying a digital copy again? Zero. Takes far too long and the final product isn't worth the wait.

    Oh, and the first time I tried this useless software, I ended up getting around a dozen different codes from Fox support, none of which would work, so in the end I gave up even trying. Why did I bother trying again?

    The solution? Just put a DRM free version of the film on a DVD in something like MP4 format, which just about anything can play, and stop worrying about the pirates, who are perfectly capable of bypassing whatever obstructions are put in place. Make it easy to really watch a film anywhere, and next time there's a choice between DVD/BluRay and a version including a digital copy, I'll pick the digital version. Oh, and don't bother charging extra for it either.

  33. Samuel Penn

    Re: Now... will the movie industry take note?

    Ditto on Skyfall, but couldn't figure out how to get the digital version on Linux. Ripping the DVD worked fine though.

  34. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Re: Now... will the movie industry take note?

    Had the self-same experience with Ultraviolet. Just way more hassle than its worth. I just want a file on the DVD I can copy to my device. If I have to jump through any more hoops than that, then the torrents get my business.

    Quite willing to pay for content, but won't put up with:-

    • Having to install 3rd party software to view it
    • Not being able to view it on the device of my choosing
    • Having to "sign up" and give personal details to view it

    If I can't just load 'n' play, then I'm not interested.

  35. Mike Flugennock

    Re: Now... will the movie industry take note?

    Quite willing to pay for content, but won't put up with:-

    * Having to install 3rd party software to view it

    * Not being able to view it on the device of my choosing

    * Having to "sign up" and give personal details to view it...

    Oh, yeah, and you forgot:

    * Movies that suck

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    P2P is so lame

    when you can NZB pretty much anything. Certainly anything current.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they party, we party

    artists party

    everybody's happy, yarrrr

  38. Anonymous Coward

    I buy more music now than I ever have

    Not just music, but films and games too.

    Just to clarify, none of this happened because of anything the music industry did to "stop piracy". The most likely reason is that I'm now exposed to more culture than at any time in the past. Not only that but I can choose where, when and what I am exposed to. This is despite the best efforts of the music industry to make the opposite true.

  39. Steve Martins

    What people want...

    IMHO Spotify finally fulfills a consumer need, but its not the whole picture. I don't necessarily want to own every single track I want to listen to (I am a musician and often listen to stuff for inspiration or to learn but not something I would choose to own) , and I also discover many more artists through the service.

    I read an interesting piece on the fact that music lovers want a relationship with the artists they are into, not with the record label they are signed to. This is where the value lies and some people who understand this are using social media to give fans just this. I now see much more fan art,opinions and reactions of other fans than ever before. This leads to higher revenues for the musicians and I for one have attended more gigs as a result of this. I still rarely buy CDs because it has to be something I want to own and add to my collection, and these days the low standard of new music rarely peeks my interest (new artists only get money if they bend over and do what the record companies tell them to do...).

    Of course the masses will continue to buy whatever they've heard played incessantly on the radio like the mindless sheep they are - and this is what the music industry really wants (and has gotten very good at manipulating), creativity and uniqueness doesn't line their pockets. If you want evidence, go to Europe and see the diverse and interesting music they have compared to the over produced rehashed tripe that constantly comes out over here.

  40. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Re: What people want...

    Living in Canada, Spotify will not take my money. Seems it would be going to the wrong middle men and they have all agreed to carve up the world between them.

  41. teebie

    Why "Take that, freetards"

    Surely those who download illegally have been shown to, on average, pay more for music than those who don't.

    My (unscientific) theory on why Adele could do so well without streaming is that people don't want to fire up a PC before they look out through their window at the rain.

  42. Killraven


    Take that?

    Take what? The article title makes absolutely zero sense relative to the article itself.

    More like: Take THAT Music Industry: Give people what they want and you'll actually make money!

  43. Silverburn

    Re: Seriously?

    Take that broke up if I recall.

    And it depresses me that I know something about a crappy manufactured boyband.

  44. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    You've got to be kidding!

    "The industry pointed to a decline in unlicensed downloads - the closure of Megaupload had a significant knock-on effect on music channeled through Mad Max-style cyber-lockers - and the success of blocking pirate websites."

    I can understand their desire to present the biggest slap on their faces in recent months as a big success, but, really, they can just as easily point to the alignment of planets or voices of ancestors and that will be as credible and even a more plausible explanation.

  45. Captain Hogwash

    Re: You've got to be kidding!

    Gold drives a man to dream.

  46. FraK


    "There's more consumption than ever"

    You don't fucking CONSUME music, man, you listen to it.

  47. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Arrrrgggghhhh

    No - they wish it to be thought of that way, that way they can sell you the same "meal" again and again as once it is "consumed" there is nothing left of it.

    At least I'm sure that's their twisted thought process.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Arrrrgggghhhh

    That's one of their big problems - perception. They keep treating us as 'consumers' and forgetting we're actually customers.


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