Friday, February 3, 2012

Reader's Question: Hard Copies vs. Digital Downloads

With all these "exciting" interwebz war and ACTA entering the ring, my drive from my previous posts concerning PS Company and jrock merchandising keeps me on the path to cover another reader's question: "Are digital releases taking the place of buying real CDs?"

Ever since the birth of Napster, downloading has been a window to obtain songs without a price. Now in the year 2012, downloading, whether legal or illegal, has increased and thus the music industry has continued to suffer for it. Some companies and artists follow the changing times and go along with the trend of downloads, which saves them a little money from making too many hard copies. So, does that mean that CDs are becoming obsolete to digital downloads? Honestly, I think there's still people like myself that still exist and would rather have a hard copy in their hands.

You're probably thinking, after reading handfuls of music posts, that Miko is so old school. Maybe she needs to get with the times and start supporting the rise of digital downloads. Well, four iPods later and I still love my CDs. I like flipping through the pages, showing my friends these musicians I enjoy, and checking out the lyrics and such. Is that so wrong? Computers crash, relatives delete your stuff, and various other things could happen at any moment, but a CD is usually your back-up if such things happen, right? Unless you're super old school and you own a floppy disc.

May I ask you a question? What's the last CD you purchased? And, if you can, why did you purchase it as oppose to downloading it? For me, the last CD I bought was Daichi Miura's D.M.. It's an amazing album and after hearing it once through, I immediately bought it. I wanted to support because he's a great artist and he's a bit underappreciated. As for non-Asian musicians, I believe my last CD purchase was The Birthday Massacre's Pins and Needles. I know it's an old album, but when I first saw them live I didn't have enough money to buy both their album and Aural Vampire' the venue's ATM was broken.

So, what was the point of that? Well, I just wanted to remind you that musicians still make hard copies. If they truly believed that CDs would be extinct, then they wouldn't put the money to produce them; releases would go straight to digital download. I also must point out that they still sell vinyls too! Anyway, forgive me for bringing up Asian music, but Japan and South Korea put a lot of effort into their packages. Therefore reinforces my point that CDs aren't going any where for a while at least. I know South Korea is a little more successful with their digital downloadables, but they have yet to ditch the CD market. Perhaps this is one reason fans don't pay for downloads for Asian music. The packaging and perks are worth having something tangible. Unfortunately, the U.S. is struggling to figure out what do with the marketing: transition to downloads or stick with hard copies or perhaps figure out a way to balance both mediums.

Artists and labels want to get paid and I totally understand that. Teaming up with legitimate businesses like Amazon and iTunes is a good start for those who want to download, but I've noticed that prices on iTunes have increased for certain tracks. Even with these options, American artists and labels are still struggling and I think that's partially why all these silly bills have come to the table.

I think LinzerDinzer summed up the situation best in her latest video rant.

Now the question is, how can we fix the U.S. music market or the entertainment industry as a whole? Stay tune for the follow up post!

If there's something you want me to answer, check out this post on how you can submit questions.

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