PC World reported today that digital music sales sky-rocketed last year.
The market for digital music downloads via the Internet and mobile phones nearly tripled in 2005, accounting for 6 percent of total record industry sales, a sign anti-piracy efforts are working and digital music is catching on.
I’m not really an expert on this, but as a consumer it seems to me that the increased sales of legal music isn’t really due to anti-piracy efforts. All their law suits and hissy-fits didn’t do a thing to deter me from downloading from newsgroups as fast as my Internet connection would allow. What sold me on legal digital music was that they finally made downloading simple and flexible enough that it was worth my money. I would’ve gladly started paying earlier, but the music industry took so stinkin’ long to catch up to the ease of newsgroups and peer-to-peer networks.
Although I am generally happy with my Rhapsody-to-go subscription, there are still many times I feel like to switch back to illegal mp3s. The music licensing technology still creates all sorts of annoying errors and problems for me. Several months ago I even had to completely format my Creative Zen Micro and re-flash the firmware because, according to forums I googled since Rhapsody’s online support is weak, some music licenses somehow became corrupted and were unrepairable. Fortunately I know enough about formatting and firmware to make my Zen usable again, but I bet the average person would just trash it and give up.
Legal online music may have done better last year, but it has a far way to go until it’s as simple and easy to use as illegal music. I’m looking forward to whenever they stop tempting me to ditch their legal services.
Posted on January 20, 2006