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Online music stores signal the return of the single

updated 11:00 am EDT, Wed April 28, 2004

The return of the single

iTunes, MusicMatch, and Rhapsody customers , The Lost Angeles Times reports today in an article that analyzes what the implications of online music stores could be for the industry. Offline, consumers buy about 50 times more albums than singles. "There's no money to be made from singles," entertainment attorney Gary Stiffelman, whose clients include hit rapper Eminem, told the Times "Unless you can sell an album you can't really afford to launch the artists. The whole economics are driven by some sort of critical mass of product."

Selling singles online can still be profitable, stores contend. "Essentially, they send us spreadsheets, we send them money," said Sean Ryan, head of music services at RealNetworks, illustrating how inexpensive online transactions are for the record labels. Customers of Real's Rhapsody service spend an average of $150 a year on music, far above the American average.


Some analysts and record executives believe the shift towards singles again is inescapable. "Consumers have moved on," said analyst Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research. "The idea that they have to consume music by the album is something that many music consumers have left behind." And regardless how the situation is analyzed, music purchases of any sort always trump the free downloads that continue to run rampant on peer-to-peer services.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. CambAngst

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    The industry is screwed

    I think that's essentially what Eminem's lawyer is saying.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Duh!

    iTunes, MusicMatch, and Rhapsody customers buy about 10 times as many singles as they do albums, The Lost Angeles Times reports today in an article that analyzes what the implications of online music stores could be for the industry. Offline, consumers buy about 50 times more albums than singles.

    Of course offline people buy more albums. Singles in the stores aren't 99 cents each, they're like $3 or something (if you can find them at all). Why spend $3 when for $8 more you can get the whole album (if you're lucky). Its just not fiscally sensible. (Plus, some songs which aren't being pushed as the 'next big hit' aren't available on singles, just on albums, whereas you can get whatever songs you want from on-line, not just what the record companies want you to get).

    Oh, and based off the above, I think its even more likely they're going to raise prices for singles (esp new singles) and doing the whole "group songs for a price" thing.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Found out

    There's no money to be made from singles," entertainment attorney Gary Stiffelman, whose clients include hit rapper Eminem, told the Times "Unless you can sell an album you can't really afford to launch the artists. The whole economics are driven by some sort of critical mass of product."

    Translation: Most albums we put out have only one or two good songs on it, but we want people to buy the whole thing to get those songs, so we can line our pockets with extra cash. Now, if we want to sell albums, we'll actually have to find less 'one-hit wonder' bands and look for artists with real talent.

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    "launch and artist..mass

    What a line. The way the music industry works is produce an artist as in create from scratch, polish and fit them into a certain demographic then promote the sh@t out of that artist with tie ins to other huge corporations products (soft drinks, cheap merchandise) then like a hen that no longer lays eggs, drop them off in some drug re-hab clinic and tell everyone they are suffering from exhaustion.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Singles are good.

    When an album mostly sucks, buying only singles prevents "buyer remorse", how you feel when you pay $15 for an album with two good songs on it.

    I have been screwed by album purchases based on hearing one song too many times. I like picking and choosing.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Pricing

    Shows you that if they lowered album prices, people would be willing to buy the whole thing. But at $15, I'll buy the singles I like, thank you very much. And this means I'll be less likely to find I really like the artist (rather then just a couple of songs) and, as such, less likely to buy their other albums. Short-sightedness on the record industries part in big fashion. (and that sounds so unlike them, too)

  1. KidRed

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Found Out

    Thanks, you saved me the time. This just means the industry will have to make sure albums don't suck. They can no longer afford to get away with 1-2 maybe 3 tracks being good and letting the rest suck and be filler songs. They also need to lower prices. But wait, some companies are going to actually raise albums another $1-$2!!

    The future is here but most of the industry is in the past.

  1. mdeatherage

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Uh...

    ...the "Lost Angeles Times?"

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