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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Wounded feet starting to heal?

28 February 2013

The recording industry is smiling.

At last, after more than a decade of declining revenues, sales figures have finally started to climb again.

Of course the label execs and industry spokespeople will doubtless attribute this turn-around (small as it might be) to their war against piracy and the shutdown of sites such as MegaUpload. They probably see this good news as vindication of the countless highly punitive prosecutions made against hapless parents and grandparents of kids who've just discovered P2P file-sharing.

Of course *we* know that the reality is something altogether different.

The online community has been petitioning the music and movie industries to make their wares available online at a reasonable price for a very long time -- but the labels and studios were reluctant to embrace the technology that is now saving their bacon.

While we wanted to buy digital downloads, they were still peddling CDs and trying to introduce new "Super-CD" and "Mini-Disc" formats to further lock us in to copy-protected physical media.

The market's response to such "head in the sand" strategies from the creative industries was simple: if they wouldn't sell us digital downloads, we'd just download illegally.

And that's why the music industry saw such a massive decline in sales.

However, now that they're flogging their product online through outlets such as iTunes and streaming service, their fortunes are reversing and now the champagne corks are again popping over at the RIAA.

Who would have thought that "the customer" could be so very right and the vendor could be so very wrong?

Well just about *everyone* except the music-industry, that's who!

Any other industry would have leapt to embrace the benefits that online sales offer...

No need for physical inventory and the costs that involves (pressing disks, transportation, carrying stock, etc), instant purchase fulfillment, world-wide marketing and sales from a point-source, greater margins, etc, etc.

Despite these massive positives, the recording industry stuck to its guns and kept trying to force physical media sold through traditional outlets on its customers for far too long. Now they've woken up to the 21st century, their revenues are on the mend.

Perhaps the self-inflicted bullet wounds to their feet will now start to heal.

At least until their greed causes them to make more silly decisions that is.

Do you think they'll now stop blaming their customers for their past woes?

I doubt it. Dim bulbs seldom realise when they're the cause of their own problems.

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