Monday, 11 April 2005

Not surprised

Music could be consigned to the rubbish tip of recent memory if a recent report is to be believed.

Research group Nielsen Entertainment have released a study outlining where various entertainment products fit in the purchasing priority list for men and music comes in a paltry third. Leading the charge are video games and DVDs. More worrying for the record industry is that a large chunk of these game players are now over-40s.

Economically, of course, we will always spend more on video games and DVDs, as they are roughly £30 and £15 each respectively, whereas a CD can be had for about £9.

It's almost odds on that the RIAA and the BPI will use this red rag to issue more calls for lawsuits and to cry foul that piracy is killing the music business.

Nobody likes competition, but the least these two ostriches could do is take their heads out of the sand and realise that the entertainment landscape is not where it was in the 90s, when the competition was low-rent video game consoles with lacklustre games and the VCR.

These days, the PS2, X-Box, GameCube, DS, PSP, Gameboy and PC offer amazing value for money and the top name video games like "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and "Halo 2" are making waves across the board, not just to the geeks who sit in their parents sitting room for weeks on end. They're also commanding advertising budgets that many indie record label would salivate over.

The other accomplice in the music downgrade, DVD, has revolutionised the way we view entertainment. Fuelling an explosion in the sales of Dolby Digital and DTS enabled home systems, the discs also feature a myriad of bonus material and extra features that makes a CD's bonus offer - a lyric booklet or pictures of the band, maybe - just that more pathetic.

Some record labels have attempted this by offering value-added bonus DVDs with CDs, but these efforts are as value-bare as a lyric-less CD booklet. A video, two or three live tracks and not much else. The DVD's 4.7GB limit barely gets a seeing to on many of these discs.

Sure the governing bodies of music can cry foul and sue everyone and anyone, but if they actually decided to see the competition for what they were and try to find ways of embracing the forms of entertainment people actually want, they'd be much better off.

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