Change in the Landscape of Music Sales

Change in the Landscape of Music Sales

I just described my experience with the new Mark O’Connor work “Americana Symphony” as a piece of music.


Here, I want to note that it is in mp3 seemingly immediately with the release of the CD.

In 2007, Turtle Island Quartet brought out “A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane” on CD (Telarc B00045AEG) US$13.99 at Amazon.

Turtle Island Quartet: A Love Supreme - The Legacy of John Coltrane

In 2008, Ken Field and his Revolutionary Snake Ensemble brought out “Forked Tongue” on CD (Cuneiform B00168Z17K) US$17.98 at Amazon.

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: Forked Tongue

In neither case were the mp3 editions released. But, the world was already changing. There was protest from at least yours truly, a not so subtle hint that, you know, really good stuff like this that is not released in download form could easily wind up in torrent downloads, and thus the whole potential market for such sales would evaporate. In both cases, there was a reversal in less than 48 hours. I bought the Turtle Island album in mp3 (256kbps) for US$8.99. I bought “Forked Tongue” in mp3 (256KBPS) for US$8.99.

My My, how things have changed.

This is the new reality, folks. Like them or not, mp3 downloads are becoming what is the marketable product. And, music lovers will get their fix, at a reasonable price, or free in a torrent download.

Even the above prices are I believe too steep. What after all, is an mp3 file? It is encoded digits on a hard drive acting as a server. Once it there, in really really cheap storage, there is no additional cost. So, maybe the mp3 tracks are really worth between US$0.05 and 0.15 each. That’s it.

The price for Jazz mp3’s is ridiculous. Look at John Coltrane “Blue Train”: seven tracks for US$9.49 That’s nuts. At a certain torrent site it is available at 256kbps, 110megs, with a pretty good swarm. It would probably download in three or four hours. I personally would not know, heaven forfend, but that is what I am told.

So, folks, maybe the Mark O’Connor work in mp3 immediately is a sign of a better future, and on in which we only need to get the prices right.

It was long ago established that at least the big music publishers are a pack of whores, now all that remains is to establish the price.