Guest Columnist ...Selling Music Files? By Bob Lefsetz

People don't collect music anymore.

Hang in there. What I mean is... The days of amassing a giant vinyl or CD collection to impress your buddies are passe. People, the younger generation especially, don't treat music that way. Music is something you possess for a while, and if you lose it, you replace it. Which is why the concept of copy-protected tracks for a buck is so ***ed up.

Talk to kids. They've either got a ton of stuff in their iTunes library they never listen to, or they're deleting tracks constantly! Did you ever throw out a vinyl album? Not ME! I've STILL GOT every single one I've bought. But I've gotten to the point where when somebody sends me a track, I ask myself if I'm ever going to listen to it again, and if I think not, I delete it. I figure if I ever really want it again, they'll SEND IT TO ME AGAIN! And, if a kid really wants a track again, they'll rip the CD again, or go to the P2P service. Nothing's that obscure anymore. EVERYTHING'S available. Music is fluid. Why don't the labels KNOW THIS??

Then there's the dirty little secret. Hard drives don't last forever. Neither do computers. People lose their COMPLETE iTunes libraries CONSTANTLY! Furthermore, do you really think fifteen years from now we'll be listening to music in Apple's 128 AAC format? Give me a break! Are you still using Windows 3.0? Files will be of a higher quality, and if not smaller, storage will get cheaper and cheaper. In other words, the music people are buying today ISN'T FOREVER! And, priced correctly, they'll buy it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

Don't sell the Doors catalog track by track for a buck. Let somebody buy the WHOLE THING FOR FIFTEEN BUCKS! Then they won't give a **it when their hard drive fails, when the format changes, they'll just buy it ALL OVER AGAIN!

Think of Disney. They used to sell their classic animated films for brief periods of time, EVERY SEVEN YEARS! What happened to all those discs? Why could they sell them again? Because it was a DIFFERENT CREW who now had babies, and the price was low enough, it just didn't pay to scrounge for an old copy of the title. FURTHERMORE, the FORMAT had changed. Who wants a tape when you can have a DVD? Who wants a DVD when you can get it on the Net?

I'd say have a fire sale. Load up EVERYBODY with the history of music. It's not like the old days, when nobody had the storage space in their house. God, you can buy a couple hundred gigs of storage for the cost of a couple of CD boxed sets, and then you can store TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TRACKS! Who CARES if people listen to them, just as long as they PAY FOR THEM!

It's not about replacing CD sales with Net sales, it's about getting EVERYBODY to buy a VAST quantity of music at a REDUCED PRICE!

Bob Lefsetz

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