Sunday, April 08, 2007

Music and the Limits to Consumption

Time and money are limits on the consumption of media. If I am playing a video game, or watching a video, I will not be listening to music. If I listen to less music, I will want to buy less music. Anyway, my budget is not unlimited, so if I spend money on a movie, TV Show or video games, I will not spend that money on buying music. I got to thinking this after reading a piece in the New York Times where a pair of record store owners complain that it is actions of the recording industry and RIAA that have lead to the recent decline in the sales of music.

There was a time when music was the choice media to purchase, but that was when the main alternative was books or magazines. Now we live in a much richer environment where that are many more media choices to entertain us. Music has lost its monopoly on our attention, however the music industry still behaves like it has that monopoly. Rather than market music to us, the RIAA goes out and sues the most ardent music collectors.

There are plenty of things that the recording industry could do to improve their position. For example, they should be marketing music to us as the more entertaining and lasting of the media alternatives. After all, we listen to the same music over and over again, while we usually watch an movie or TV show only once. I have never once heard a compelling argument for buying music being made by the music industry, whereas I have heard interesting arguments being made on forums like SlashDot.

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