Once again, the music industry is demonstrating its character. As reported by the Wall Street Journal and analyzed by The Register, the RIAA and its five member labels (responsible for the great majority of popular music) want to raise the price of legal music downloads:
The RegisterThe Wall Street Journal reports that the major five labels think that 99 cents per song is too cheap, and are discussing a price hike that would increase the tariff to $1.25 up to $2.99 per song.
The current price is too high. Getting copy-protected, restrictive files encoded at low bitrates with no case and liner notes should not cost the same or more than the CD.
The motivation for the change is that most people only want one or two songs from an album, since the other tracks often suck. The record industry could previously get $15 for two good songs, but now they're getting only $1.98. Here, the real motivation shows.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to accept economics. As much as piracy can be proven illegal, it's still a competitive force. The record industry must treat piracy as competition, not just as a lawyer target, and adjust their practices accordingly. When your competition offers free music downloads with no restrictions, but with unreliable availability and quality, what would be the logical product to offer? A huge inventory of high-quality, restriction-free files at a price that people are willing to pay when the alternatives are free. $0.99 has been an acceptable price point for some people, but growth has been slow, hardly making a dent in piracy. To increase growth, why not offer a better product instead of raising its price?