Music downloads, the bane of the music industry, they seem to be dominating the music consumption behavior across the globe, whether through the more apt means of purchasing legal downloads through Amazon, iTunes or similar online and offline applications or via piracy and or illegals means such as filesharing, torrent, or hacking; even to extremes such as leaking.
But is the age of the music download finally reaching saturation point? With the resurgant force of Vinyls making a comeback and their subsequent values increasing, are we really getting the best of the music we have paid for? Clearly no.
Let's look at some figures:
The "IFPI estimates that 3.6 billion downloads were purchased globally in 2011, an increase of 17 per cent (combining singles and album downloads)" (Source: http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/dmr2012.pdf)
So ok that's over a half of the world's population, but what if the same song was downloaded multiple times by the same person? Or 1 million people downloaded 3,600 songs? That's about an eighth of the current population of London. So come on, how can they be absolutely certain more and more people are downloading music? Now lets look at CD's.
"Two-thirds of album sales are still on CD, but their fall of 19 per cent was offset by slightly increased digital sales of albums" (source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9775844/Album-sales-slump-as-downloads-and-singles-dominate.html)
But there again, are they taking into account unsigned artist album sales? What about charity shop album sales? Boot sales? Ebay? Amazon? Who knows, probably not.
The thing is, sure downloads are cheaper, quicker and easier to get hold of, but there are 10 reasons we believe why CD's, Vinyl's and Tapes still bully the music download trend.
1. Additional features and costs.
What do you also get from music downloads? Well apart from the occasional virus, sweet bugger all. However, when talking of CD's, you get a number of things that total up to make the value of the CD itself more appealing than downloads. For argument's sake let's say Dave's debut album costs 99p per track on iTunes and £9.99 pre-order. So you pay £9.99 for the pre-order, brilliant. But you want to reassure yourself you can keep the music for years, cue problem, how do you manage that? Oh you say you will use a re-writable disc and what wait you have to buy them?!?!? Print off the CD inlay and booklet cover, oh wait ink and paper usage, oh and the CD case too, suddenly you're paying £3-£6 more on top of the £9.99. Others will say, use an external hard drive, ok cool another £70+ spent, financially worth it in the long-run as long as A. it does not die or overload (it will eventually) and or B. you're burgled, bye bye Justin Bieber music. And what about the booklet with the CD, also the portability of the CD, play it in your car. I could waffle on and on but there are 9 other reasons why music download just don't cut it.
2. Misplacement of songs
Oh no disaster, you have deleted your entire iTunes library and you bought every song without backing them up or you deleted a song and want it back, another 99p+ gone down the drain, but with a CD you can burn it to your computer endless times. I think that closes this one.
3. Value and customization
If anyone could realize that if your favorite artist was to die that the music downloads would be worthless, but the CD's, Tapes and Vinyls have a value attached to them, just ask The Beatles whose release "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (signed by all four members) was sold at an American auction on Saturday 30th March for "$290,500 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It had been listed at $30,000 before the sale", now do you need any more persuading? Digital signatures do not count. Oh and you can get physical releases personalized per se "To James, much love. Carly Rae Jepsen".
4. Supporting the local scene
You are no fan if you don't own at least one physical release by a band, even more so where you have local bands that rely solely on your buying of merch, what a better way to support them than to purchase their albums. Oh and referring to point 3 you can get that signed too, furthermore some unsigned bands actually number their releases so consider that purchase of album copy 6/100 a rare. Just downloading the music for free really does not support the band, music has a value, it's an art so don't steal that time and money spent by the artist to record the song just for you to illegally download it.
5. Access to information
Lyrics, now what is the point of attempting to sing a song if you don't know the words. Quite hand to have your booklet with you to sing along, mind you doing a songs of praise style deliverance in a mosh pit is entertaining but not practical. Sure you can look it up online, but for ease of access it's better to read the booklet. Oh and you want to contact their management? Easy look at their managements name in the booklet.
6. Radio DJ's often start out by collecting CD's.
Anyone working in the music industry will admit to owning CD's, this is how most of the Radio DJ's started out. They buy the physical media (CD / Tape / Vinyl) and then play it on the radio, of course nowadays it's all digital on the computer. But back in the earliest days of radio, unsigned artists would send in their music on physical media to be played by the DJ, furthermore did you know Chelmsford, Essex was the birthplace of radio? Pirate radio also used these media types, Radio Caroline is well known for this and actually had an interesting start:
"Radio Caroline was begun by Irish musician manager and businessman Ronan O'Rahilly. O'Rahilly failed to obtain airplay on Radio Luxembourg for Georgie Fame's records because its airtime was committed to sponsored programmes promoting the major record labels; EMI, Decca, Pye and Philips". (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Caroline#1991_-_present:_Licensed_Support_Group_era)
CD's are in region 0, meaning they can be played anywhere on any PC, CD player or DJ desk. On the other hand, digital downloads come in a variation of types: mp3, wma, m4a, wav, etc and so restricting the playability level to lower than that of the CD. Enough said.
At least with physical media you know what you are buying, with music downloads all kinds of things can happen: tracks missing, wrong track length, wrong music entirely!. The third example is a classic with the Linkin Park vs Tribal Ink issue, the latter had released their song "Refugee" and was mislabeled as Linkin Park's new single "What I've Done" (http://linkinparks818th.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/tribal-ink-songs.html), at least with a CD, Vinyl or Tape you cannot go wrong.
9. Level of rarity
Say what? Vinyl limited to 10 copies! Physical rare releases are worth more than their download counterparts, need we say more?
10. Fun of collecting.
Jim's band has 12 albums, you are seeking the rare red pressing limited edition of the band's first album, £20 won on eBay, your collection is complete. Has the more personal feeling than downloading the whole discography no?
What is your stance on this? Please leave your thoughts below as a comment.
Moldova, a country situated in Eastern Europe bordering Romania has a long, secretive and unknown history, but as you read through this article there is some hope for it's flickering metal and rock scene. In 1991, Moldova gained independence from the USSR and as a result left it free to roam and trade willingly, furthermore it's glistening capital Chisinau reflects the relics of the post Soviet Union era and the remnants of the intense cold war.
So in regards to the Moldovan music scene, I spoke to one musician, Mr. Alex Glavnenco of the Melodic / Alternative Metal band Alive about how the music scene in Moldova is facing issues regarding selling CD's, it would seem that the digital age is causing this trend to happen and yet most would agree this is happening on a global scale. But for a country that once was under control by the USSR and for just over 20 years independence has much changed in the wake of the digital age onset?
Alex acknowledges that his band only prints a couple of physical copes for each release usually just to have it in it's physical presence, so naturally you would instantly slap 'rare' on each release as it would obviously seem that each copy was numbered. He goes on to say that even though they release a certain number of physical copies, no one in Moldova buys them and so reverting back to the statement of printing a certain number of copies.
Furthermore the claim that the music scene is dogged by pop and folk songs and that metal in particular rarely gets a look in. Given that there are only a handful of bands that play decent music, even still certain bands usually just play covers at weddings and in advertising to generate income. So this is quite interesting in that bands look for other innovative ways to generate income due to the lack of CD sales, yet in the West we're always harping on about people should buy CD's to support the bands but in Moldova it seems to be the complete opposite!
With such a small scene and what seems to be a completely deflated level of support, there seems to be bleak hope for the Moldovan metal scene, what with around five or so metal bands in current existence and who are limited to play at small clubs from which Alex states that they have at maximum between 50-100 capacity (even this turn out he says is very rare), yet our average venue in the UK as around 2 to 4 times that! So there seems to be a massive contrast to what Western Europe experiences to what Eastern Europe dreams of. Regarding the metal bands, they usually end up going to play in nearby nations like Russia, Romania and The Ukraine and it's all down to the band's persistent enthusiasm that gets the Moldovan metal music out there.
The saddening fact is that there is such a weak rock and metal scene out in Moldova, according to Alex "average people listen to schlager and folk music. Nobody pays for CD's and doesn't need them as they will download the music, as I said previously, metal and rock is all enthusiastic. We invest money and don't even think to get anything back. If we play some shows and get a hundreds dollars or so its great, but these shows are really rare", here again it seems that here in the UK we take most things for granted yet over in Moldova it's harder to get anything out of something.
After the USSR dissolved, Alex comments that "the situation got better just because Moldova became more open and free of Soviet propaganda. Everybody plays what they want, there are many bands, but they are all garage. Talented musicians have day-to-day jobs because they just cant earn money by their music. It sucks, so the situation in rock music is FAR from anything you would experience in other parts of Europe or the USA. Nobody says you can become a rock-star in a week in the USA, but there are possibilities at least. There is completely no way here for this to happen yet".
As for the more international bands, they do come to play but on a rare basis and that is mainly rock and metal music, as for pop music and DJ's (especially Russian) they are more common in playing here, however on a better note the old guard of rock bands which were popular amongst civilians back in the day were expensive to get to play in the country but now they are decreasingly becoming more and more cheaper as Alex stated and he feels that this is good for the Moldova music scene.
He goes on to say that in spring 2013 he had the utmost pleasure in working with Boney-M and in the year gone he worked with DJ Tiesto and Nazareth of whom altogether Alex admits was pleasurable working with and in one year he is ecstatic at the outcome.
Referring back to the Moldovan music scene itself, bands like Infected Rain, Alive, Abnormyndeffect, Aeon of Death, The Ward, Advent Fog, Sepsys, Caligo, Lethal Outcome and Neuromist are all worth checking out and there is a plethora of genres there ranging from Death Metal to Alternative Metal and from Black Metal to Nu Metal. It certainly seems a small scene, but Global Metal Apocalypse supports this scene in it's entirety.
Currently one of the leading Moldovan Metal bands is Infected Rain whose aggressive style of Nu Metal features both clean melodic-like and gritty screams by Lena, hard and cutting edge riffs with a Teutonic dose of emphatic drums and samples, creating something you could say wafts in influences from bands like Exilia, Korn and bands under the modern metal tagline. Mixing musical elements from prog metal, industrial metal, nu metal, melodic metal, symphonic metal and alternative metal, Infected Rain are a band hard to pigeon hole in one genre.
For more info on the history of rock 'n' roll in Moldova, visit:
For Moldovan bands check out:
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