From free to cheap… to free?
: Music can’t catch a break. So music was expensive. Then it was free on Napster. Then Napster was killed and it was cheap on Apple. And now it’s cheaper at Walmart, which just undercut Apple et al with 88-cent songs. Walmart insists that it’s not a loss-leader at that price and that it will make a profit on music (and thus that it’s not dumping music on the market, in essence) — but even if that’s true, it’s probably true only for Walmart. So, once again, the profitability of music is sliced and the price of music slides back toward zero.
: Of course, good often comes out of disruption and the CBC speculates about the kind of music we’ll be listening to in five years, thanks to the age of the download. MIT Technology Review summarizes the questions:
Will lowering the barriers of entry to the music market encourage more grassroots participation? Will the ability to issue one song at a time enable musicians to become even more topical, serving, as Chuck D described it, as the black man