Rob Dickins, formerly UK boss of Warner Music, has suggested that the price of albums should drop to £1, the BBC reports.
“Major albums would sell 200 million copies, he predicted. Last year’s global best-seller, Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream, sold eight million.”
The flaw in the logic is obvious – that there are 192 million people who didn’t buy I Dreamed a Dream merely because it was too expensive.
I’m not picking on Susan Boyle here, just saying that I can’t really recall the last time I didn’t buy an album just because of the price; nor that, if music were ten times cheaper, I would buy ten times as much of it. For a start, I simply wouldn’t have time to listen to it all. Personally, I am more than happy to pay £10 for an hour’s worth of music.
More likely this is just another thrashing of opinion in the recording industry as we all wrestle with the implications of new technology. My feeling is that all those involved in recorded music would do well in the long term to focus their energies on ensuring that the quality of the product – by which I mean the actual music, its performance, and its sonic reproduction – is as high as possible. Although a lot of our culture is getting more visual, recorded music (e.g. when purchased through download rather than buying a physical copy of an album) is, I feel, destined to be judged more and more on the aural.