3.3. What Happened Since

For a long time after my essay "The Recording Industry is Trying to Kill the Goose That Lays the Golden Egg" appeared in 2002, I wondered whether things would get so bad for the industry that my ideas would be proven wrong. CD album sales continued to drop. According to RIAA reports,[] the units of CD albums sold went from 882 million in 2001 to 511 million in 2007, a drop of about 40%. (The average prices seemed to be only slightly lower, dropping from $14.64 to $14.58, an insignificant 0.4% change over 6 years, compared to past yearly swings of 3–4%.) Despite legal efforts that include suing individuals and companies, nonauthorized transfer of music continues on the Internet, seemingly unaffected by the shutdown of Napster and others.

[] http://www.riaa.com/keystatistics.php

In my essay "The Software Police vs. the CD Lawyers," I point to the issue of music singles vs. albums. Listeners are often very interested in particular songs and not just in complete albums. The industry did not address this interest well. Given how they were mired in a world of physical distribution and fear of online distribution, there was little cost savings possible to enable selling a single song for significantly less than an album. (With a $14 album having 16 songs, you would expect the cost per song to be something like $1. They charged over $4 for a CD single.) This mirrored the "old industry thinking" of the telegraph veterans who ran the early telephone industry that ...

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