I Guess CNN Knows Something I Don't

by William Grosso

Related link: http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/03/31/people.usher.ap/index.html



Here's what CNN wrote, when talking about a new album.



The album was released March 23. Its strong showing may be another sign the recording industry, which has been in a long slump because of piracy, the illegal Internet downloading of music and other factors, is on the upswing.


I think that the recording industry has been in a slump. But was piracy a significant factor? The most significant factor? A factor so much more significant than the others that only it needs to be named? I know the recording industry claims that piracy is a factor, but last I heard, it was very much an open question with, for example, Forrester Research taking the opposite position:


Earlier this month, Forrester Research issued a study saying piracy was not to blame for the sharp decline in record sales. Its study discovered no evidence of decreased CD buying among frequent digital music consumers, noting that the general economy and competition from other media were larger factors.


Was that debate ever resolved? To the point where CNN can blithely assert in an offhand comment that piracy is the major cause of the record industry's woes.


For that matter, aren't the increases in sales evidence that the problem wasn't piracy? Piracy hasn't been solved. If the record industry was in a downturn because of piracy, and piracy hasn't been solved, shouldn't they still be in a downturn?


Maybe I'm just being picky, but don't you wish the recording industry's opinions weren't treated as facts?


7 Comments

acroyear
2004-03-31 07:26:25
The Problem of Sounds Bytes and Source Material
CNN, or actually, the Associate Press feed (note the "AP" at the begining of the article after the city), don't really "research" these kinds of things anymore.


Any album announcement or other "big thing" in terms of record information comes directly from the RIAA's own press releases. All the AP guy did was take the content of the press release and paraphrase it into his/her own writing style. The RIAA has had a long-standing habit of mentioning "piracy" in every press story they've released for the last several years, whether it was relevant or not.


It also doesn't mention that mega-sales of a single album does not necessarilly reflect an upswing in the sales of ALL albums. This album may have sold 1.1 million copies, but what did the rest of the industry see during that rush. If the rest of the industry saw 1.1 million fewer sales of everything else over the usual amount, then the industry is in the same flat slump its been in for years.


This is because AP and Reuters don't really do analysis of the stories they post. They read and summarize the analysis already provided for them by the PR people releasing the original story.


And outfits like CNN and most newspapers, constantly looking for online content to keep eyeballs coming in to see the ads, buy their content directly from AP and Reuters, without any eye to editing it aside from deciding whether or not to run it and where the headline goes on the front page.

acroyear
2004-03-31 07:27:37
The Problem of Sounds Bytes and Source Material
or at least, that's my opinion/impression based on what i've seen and read, but at this point i don't have the time to actually cite my sources (or even find them again).
garym
2004-03-31 12:43:13
Just the facts ma'am
What's more, new Harvard/UNC research matching just which files are traded to their for-sale editions, the largest and most careful study to date, finds no significant correlation
garym
2004-03-31 14:00:48
File Trading (still) legal in Canada
This just in, in response to the bid by the Canadian Recording Industry Assoc's attempt to supoena ISPs to disclose the identity of file traders, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein sided with the personal copy rule and concluded there'd been no crime
calcium
2004-03-31 14:51:22
News to the contrary
Got the following from slashdot.
Seems like in Australia and the UK, sales
are at record levels.


http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/29/019227&mode=thread&tid=141&tid=188&tid=98&tid=99


http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/19/0112230&mode=thread&tid=126&tid=141&tid=188&tid=95


http://slashdot.org/articles/04/03/30/1537232.shtml?tid=126&tid=141&tid=187&tid=188&tid=95


jwenting
2004-03-31 22:03:30
enough already
Is it so much to extrapolate from the simple fact that sales of recordable CDRs are up by the same number or more compared to the decrease in sales of music CDs?


Maybe it's a bit different in the US, but at least in Europe there's been a drop of over 30% (probably 40% by now) in music CD sales since (surprisingly) broadband internet connections became commonplace and at the same time sales of CDRs have soared to record levels.
Also at the same time, theft of CD cases and cover booklets from music stores has become a major problem. So much in fact that some have taken to no longer putting the cases and booklets in the racks but only laminated cards with copies of the cover photo and tracklists.

simon_hibbs
2004-04-01 01:40:03
enough already
>Is it so much to extrapolate from the simple fact that sales of recordable CDRs are up by the
>same number or more compared to the decrease in sales of music CDs?


Yes, it is far too much to extrapolate. That's the most brain-dead simplistic comment I've seen on this issue, and I've seen some!.


I burn maybe a couple of dozen CDs a year for personal use, yet I have never once downloaded a single music file on to any of my computers. All the people I do know who download music put it on MP3 players or just play it one their computers anyway, so I fail to see any correlation whatever between CD-R sales and file downloading, let alone CD-R sales and falls in music sales.


Simon Hibbs