Rob Dickens, former head of Warner Music in the UK, proposes a “micro-economy” in which album sale prices are “radically” reduced, and in which the resulting increase in sales volume more than makes up for the drop in prices.
Rob Dickens, former head of Warner Music in the UK, is proposing a revolutionary idea to fight illegal file-sharing – £1 ($1.61 USD) albums.
“What we need is a revolution,” he said as part of a debate held recently with REM manager Bertis Downs at the In The City music conference. “What we’ve got is an erosion. When I was running Warners, a chart CD could be £12.99. A chart CD now can be £6.99, maybe even £5.99.”
He predicted that if record labels “radically” lowered their prices that music fans would buy a lot more, and that the volume of sales would rise more than enough to make up for the drop in prices.
Dickens referred to the proposal as a “micro-economy” in which many music fans would make smaller purchase, and therefore capture sales currently lost to free alternative sources.
Normally, he said, music fans have to make a decision of what can or cannot be purchased, and the remainder perhaps acquired illegally.
“”If we lived in a micro-economy, that wouldn’t be a decision,” he added. “You’d just say ‘I like REM’ and you’d buy it.”
Dickens pointed out how albums had become sort of an afterthought for artists in terms of profits a long time ago, Prince having given away copies of his last album for free with various European newspapers and magazines.
Let us also not forget that artists only earn $23.40 for every $1,000 in album sales.
Concerts and merchandising is still where the lion’s share of artists’ income comes from and any increased promotion, he says, will help them sell concert tickets and merchandise.
The proposal is likely to face a lot of opposition from record labels, but considering that digital albums cost nothing to distribute, reduced album prices would drive a tantalizing alternative for most, if not all, illegal file-sharers and likely eliminate the “problem” overnight.