Have UK record companies given up on physical music too soon?

This is a “survey” by Music Week  but wearing my stats nerd hat it is a bit pointless in proving something I certainly think is true. 

POLL: The subject of the CD’s decline is rife amongst record labels after music retail has experienced it’s toughest year ever.

Yet independent store Rough Trade is on course to post another double-digit growth in revenues this year, whlst encouraging an injection of belief into the potential of physical media.

What do you think? Has the music industry given up on physical format in favour of a digital-only marketplace too soon?

You can then simply answer YES or NO.

The problem is of course that people are more likely to be bothered to register a vote of YES as they feel strongly about physical product. While an accurate figure for folk who feel this way might be useful this is not the way to find that figure. Secondly the statement that Rough Trade are on course to post a double-digit growth in revenue means very little indeed. Anybody can achieve that even on a like for like basis depending on stocking policy and pricing. What would be impressive would be any increase in profit. Of course that might very well be the case too though a quick google could find nothing but statements of increases in turnover etc but never any mention of profit since RTE opened. 

So while I would hope for a big YES vote and that RT are making more profit (let’s face it if they can’t make a profit with their reputation and financial backing we are all fucked) this is not the way to get the answer to the very serious question  “Have UK record companies given up on physical music too soon?” 

2 Responses to “Have UK record companies given up on physical music too soon?”

  • Colin Lamb:

    I feel that the industry has indeed given up too soon on physical formats. It is sad for music fans, such as myself, to see record stores closing as a result of this when a visit to the local record store used to be, and still remains an experience unmatched by downloading an album. Part of the enjoyment of visiting a record store is the unpredictability as to what you might come out buying. I prefer a cd or vinyl format (cassette in my youth) because psychologically it feels more like I own it and there is a stronger connection to the album I have purchased. With downloaded music I would find myself more likely to value it less or forget that it is there. If I like an album enough I always find my way to owning it in a physical format. Buying an album for me is an event and I enjoy leafing through the linear notes and looking at the artwork as I take in the music- it becomes part of the whole experience of enjoying the record.

  • Anne Scott:

    Well Kevin, I speak as part of the problem.
    In the late 80s/early 90s, I bought most of my records from you. It was that time when LPs were being overtaken by cds, but I bought both.
    I never liked cds. The boxes, the tiny writing on the inset etc. I still have most of the cds I ever bought, and they don’t amount to much. Maybe 75 maximum? And that includes cds I bought for my children!
    I still buy music, but it goes straight onto my iPod. I do not want a cd. If it’s a choice of cd or nothing, I choose nothing!
    Also, I get so much music free (legally) from the artists. I could get more than I have time to listen to if I so chose.
    When I buy an album, I try to buy from the artist or their label (if small/independent). Second last resort is Amazon. If I still can’t get it, last resort is iTunes. The amount of money I prefer to give these two big corporations for music is Zero, but sometimes I have to grin and bear it.
    So, shops lose the sale. I assume the rights to sell digital music, or the technology, must be prohibitive? If I could buy an mp3 download from Avalanche, most likely I would choose to do that. I would pay slightly more than to Amazon or iTunes, but only because I dislike them. I can’t say if others would. You couldn’t count on it.
    Sorry that I am not an ideal customer. Records, books, newspapers, magazines, lovely in theory, but really hard to sell for cash!

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