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The man who broke the music business


This long read from The New Yorker.

Sensationalist heading and, upon reading, I was going to argue that the music business had been broken even before the guy in the article started leaking music. 

Hard to believe mp3 is over twenty years old now. The author of that article was born in 1979 so I'm hoping he'd at least got to try a BBS once, though in the West those may have been mostly gone by the time he'd hit 16. 

Twenty-plus years ago, swapping mp3s could be a product of many things, among which curiosity into the output of a new technology, and the need for status or to connect - both intrinsic to the computer scene (and demoscene spirit), so not specifically money. But in that turbulent decade, look at the music product's exclusivity, artificial region-based scarcity (japan-exclusive tracks anyone?). It wouldn't work in a connected world, would it? 

And then there's money.

Turns out there's little to argue, since almost the whole story of why what happened to the music business happened, is coded in the very text. Here goes:

"The music industry was enjoying a period of unmatched profitability, charging more than fourteen dollars for a CD that cost less than two dollars to manufacture."

A habit of not looking round the back of what you've created still seems to be common. Just saying.

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