If a single song costs £0.99 to download, it ocurred to me that I could buy some great prog albums really cheaply. Close to the Edge only has three tracks on it, for example, so it should cost me £2.70 for the whole album.
VHS ownership was the norm in the US but the wait was quite a while after the theatrical run and rental run. DVD’s were just available to the general public at the same time they were out to rent. There was also a quality jump that rivaled theaters.
CD’s represented a quality jump from cassettes that allowed for a portable media as good as or better than a stationary media like records. They also didn’t degrade over time and didn’t take much special care when related to the other two formats.
The industry tried to block copying, ripping and download technology when they should have been the ones developing it. You had famous cases where the two parts of Sony were actually working against each other, one selling music and trying to block ripping technology and the other advertising and selling the hardware to do it. They should have figured out how to make it work for them before Napster came into existence. I think most people (including myself) would have preferred to buy it in that format but didn’t have the option.
Single costs should be lower because the incremental costs are lower on digital singles than physical ones as there’s no need for a physical thing or packaging. It was also rare that a physical “single” only had one song.
It is weird - even the idea of the dominant music format’s limitation defining the “sensible” length of an album should be dead now. Want to release 2 songs this year? Do it. Want to release a 2 hour album? Do it. Record and release one song every month? Do it. But no, it’s still mainly 30 - 60 minutes per release.
Though that would have been 2 to 4 songs instead of one, no? For the UK charts up until the late 90s or early 2000s, three “b-sides” were normal - there was a change to the rules around then that saw that change. Bands started releasing two different versions of the single (same “A side”, different "B"s).
They were available, but was it that common for someone to have an extensive collection? From my recollection here, VHS films were quite expensive compared to DVDs (which were pricey initially but then rapidly became more affordable). I started having disposable income when DVD was still pretty new, but I only bought a handful of VHS films.
I don’t disagree and said they were far to slow to react correctly but my theory is I’m still not sure how much it would have helped that graph if they had. Napster would always have existed in some form or other, programmers are always more nimble that corporations and as it shows once iTunes had a model for sales it doesn’t make much difference.
While it’s very true digital costs are lower in distribution and production that is a massive drop in price with inflation adjusted. It’s hard to find a comparative one where it’s just a service and not a physical good. It’d be the equivalent of Comixology charging 45 cents for a new comic or 2000ad digitally would be 13.5 pence today.
A vinyl 7" single in 1983 would have 2 tracks (not 3 or 4 that came later mostly with CD singles and a little bit with cassettes) those songs were often the filler after the filler as tracks that couldn’t even make it onto an album. Yes there are exceptions, Oasis had some of their best songs on B-Sides and The Beatles had Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields most of the time they were rarely listened to and not a great incentive to buy.
This was the situation in Europe anyway. VHS were only sold with the intention to rent in video stores so each film cost £60-100. It was sooner for TV shows and music videos but top level feature films only became regularly available to buy at a reasonable price, with quite a delay by the mid 90s, by which time DVD was in it’s infancy. So as I said it did exist but took off with DVD.
The early more expensive copies were meant for rental not home ownership. The home copies came out later. We still had quite a few. US yard sales and thrift stores are swimming in VHS cassettes. One of the things they did to get people to adopt DVD as a format was to offer the home copy for sale at the same time the rental copy was released. So suddenly you could choose to rent it or pay about 3X to own it.
I honestly think this (or something similar) would be the case if they weren’t protecting the physical sales.
If it were though nobody in the industry would be able to make a living. Imagine paying the 10 writers and artists in each 2000ad (5 stories per issue) on the 9.45p per copy they’d make after the retailers cut (30% to Comixology).
Realistically the publishers have looked at 99c as a price that can be managed for new material and that’s usually with a smaller page count - DC and Monkeybrain that have used that price point are usually more like 10 pages. Full comics at $1.99. All that is a lot higher than the 1983 price, not lower, even though it’s a significant discount off the price in stores, reflecting the savings in distribution and printing.
I was going to say something similar. A lot of people don’t realize but before they were fighting Napster they were working on a deal where record labels would retain the rights to studio masters for an indefinite period of time instead of them reverting to artists after a set period.
Yeah the RIAA is and has always been a shady organization… while I’m sure Napster did hurt sales somewhat, I doubt that was the sole contributor… I mean, hell I was there when Napster came out… sure you could download stuff for free… it also took AGES to download at that time. I don’t think people were downloading thousands of things at that point; it was more of a novelty thing.
I was downloading off websites and then FTP sites before Napster existed. I honestly would have preferred a legitimate way to rip the CD’s I purchased or to buy music. Napster really brought everything together in one package.