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The economics of already having it. | Nicole Simon's Useful Sounds

The economics of already having it.

10.04.2005 - 23:24 / filled under default

I like the long tail - in fact, I do see its effects everyday in my logfiles of my german blogs. I am eager to see how over time this blog will grow and I will get equally interesting, funny and scary results from search engines. :o)

Chris Anderson posted in "The economics of variety" some thoughts about whether the Long Tail grows demand or just shifts it. I want to pick one thing out of it, because the conclusion made annoys me each time I hear it.

The army of white-earbud-wearing New Yorkers are surely listening to more music than they were before the iPod, extending the effect created by the Walkman a generation before. But are they buying more music, too? The hard numbers are, unfortunately, inconclusive. As of February, Apple had sold 10m iPods and 250m tracks on iTunes, for an average of 25 tracks sold per iPod, or less than the price of two CDs over the nearly two years  the iTunes music store had been in business.  That is not impressive.

Perhaps they're just buying CDs and ripping them. Or just downloading more, but not paying for it. Studies of the industry at large are sadly inconclusive. The RIAA says its members are shipping fewer CDs, but Soundscan says they're selling more of those they do ship (see Kensei for more on this mess).
And perhaps there is another reason, why they are not buying new CDs?

Because they already have them?

Many people I know of already have transfered their CDs to their harddisk and do fill their mobile players with exactly that: Previously bought music (or listen to podcast, of course).

If I am to buy some CDs this year, they will be the first CDs in several years. I think, in the last 5 or 6 years I have not bought one music cd (I did buy one comedy cd).

And they probably won't be tracked, because it is independent artists (discovered through podcast), or they don't know the reasons - Mercedes does release free tracks every 6-8 weeks in a compilation, the so called Mixed Tapes. One artist has really great stuff, so I am thinking about buying the CD.

For the rest: Why should I buy so much money just to get them into my computer? When going from LP to CD, there was a reason of rebuying the CDs. While I still have LPS, I don't have a player anymore. But most of my buying was CDs directly, as I was in my teenage years, when CD hit the market.

Nowadays, I listen to podcasts and sometimes even some music podcast - Coverville being one of the favorites, but also Accident Hash.

And when I do find something interesting, I already have it. But I could go out to the website of the artist(s) and buy some more or just give some money.

Btw, the CD I bought was a used one. Amazon made some money on that - but that's about that. I might be tempted to buy a new CD though, called Avenue Q. It's a musical and has a great song in it called "the internet is for porn". Heard it because it was played on a podcast.

How about you?

[Did anyone notice I did not say anywhere "I'm buying it because I saw it on TV, in newspapers, magazines or talked about on Radio'? They don't matter to me any more for such things.

And if you like to explore new podcast with much music in it - go to www.musicpodcasting.org! :o) ]

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I am Nicole Simon, 34 years old and located in Lübeck, Germany. This is my English blog with the Useful Sounds podcast which is now newly located at usefulsounds.com)

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