How Low Can They Go?

It seems that not a week goes by without some company announcing plans for a music download service. In the last week, Walmart, Virgin and Coca Cola have all announced plans to jump on the music downloading bandwagon but why? Is there any money to be made? Are the price points realistic? Do people really want to give up on CDs and go digital? What’s in it for us? That’s what the CNET article How much is digital music worth? debates. Right now, the record companies are worried that the 99 cents per song price point is too low for them to make money. I still haven’t used any of these services. Personally, I take advantage of the free MP3 downloads a lot of indie labels use as the equivalent of a taste test. Download a song or two, see if I like them and if I do I go out and buy the CD (as much as possible at a local record store). The only thing that I use my computer for is to make MP3s of CDs I already own for the digital equivalent of my old mix tapes. I still prefer to go out and buy something physical like a CD that incorporates legitimate fair use rules so that I can play it in my car, on my portable MP3 player and on my computer with no fuss or muss and I like relaxing on the couch or by the pool with some new compilation of obscure rock and roll on the stereo blaring away while I read pages of liner notes and cool pictures. It’s all part of the rock and roll experience. After recently losing my hard drive to a massive crash that wiped out all my MP3s in one foul swoop, I was happy that I could just pad down to the basement and load up a couple of CDs on my 5 CD disc changer for uninterrupted rock and roll fun. Fair use and value for your money are what music fans should really be concerned with from the major labels today. I shudder to think what will happen when they start changing digital formats rendering your digital music collection obsolete. Of course, there is still warm, analog vinyl. How about a counter-revolution?