Tuesday, March 07, 2006

If Online Sales Aren't good, obviously its because of Piracy ... NOT

I was alerted to this article which appeared in the Vancouver Sun recently, at Canada.com by reading Michael Geist's most excelent Blog. This Blog stands with Pamela Jones Groklaw as probably the best Blogs in the blogosphere.

Aparently Canadians are not buying enough music online, therefore we must be stealling it! or so says Graham Henderson of the Canadian Recording Industry Assosciation.

So Canadians, per capita are not paying for music from online retailers. So Says the Canadian Recording Industry Association. I have no doubt that this is true, but I disagree with Grahamm Henderson's interpertaion of these figures. I'd say that Canadians are showing considerable savvy by *NOT* buying music online. The MP3 format by its own definition (the formal MPEG 1 Sound layer MP3) is a lossy form of compression which cannot deliver even the sound quality of an ordinary CD.

Statistics are interesting things. Basically you cannot argue with a statistic. It is what is. What you can comment and even disagree with is;

  1. The Method of data collection
  2. The wording of the questions (open ended questions are bad survey questions, so are ambiguous one.)
  3. Interperttion of what the numbers you have acquired mean.

In this case, what is in doubt is the Canadian Music Industry's interpertaion of the data. The argument is this: Canadians are purchasing less music from online downloading stores than their american and european counterparts. Therefor they must be stealing it by illegal means.

Of course when I lay it out in that wat, without a fancy press report, you can immediately see the flaw in logic. You have no way of knowing what those consumers did with their money instead of spending it on downloadable music.

I didn't pay for mp3 files and never will for one reason; its substandard merchandise. I choose to believe that my fellow Canadians have also seem mp3 for what it is, a format sadly lacking in quality and the terms and conditions of sale of unacceptable.

This if Music Industry FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.) There is no one in the high tech industry who can touch the music buseinss in spewing FUD. They have been doing it for longer than the high tech industry has existed.

In reality Mr. Henderson has no idea, nor has he proof that instead of buying music they are stealing it. How dare he assume that! How dare he tell us what to do with our money. He talks like the industry is entitled to be profitable.

Piracy has been the excuse the Music Industry has fallen back on everytime there is a slump in sales. The truth is that slumps in sales are more likely to be the result of poor leadership, and lack of quality product the customers want to buy. It is no good simply throwing releases onto the market. The music buying public is crafyt that way, they refuse to purchase what they donn't like. Mr. Henderson would be well advise to look in his own backyard and figure out why his customers have deserted him.

In Canada, my guess is that it is lack of variety. You cannot expect Canadian comsumers sit next door to the one of the biggest markets int eh world, see the variety and not want the same for themselves. I would guess that those who wish to purchase music online have done so, and just may have done it through non-Canadian sources. I remember when I wouldn't buy an Angel recording, I imported a copy from the U.K. The reason, crappy quailyt vinyl.

I have news for the Industry. No industry has a right to a particular market nor do they have the right to tell consumers what they want. Profit is the result of selling goods to people who want them. There is no right to be profitable. They must compete in the world as they find it. We should not, and must not create a market especially so that the dinosaurs can surivive. Mr. Henderson, your business model has been judged and found wanting. Nothing can change that!

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