THE CON­SUMER

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

Twen­tysome­thing Dubliner Mark is a self­con­fessed “mu­sic ob­ses­sive” who has spent “thou­sands” on CDs in the past. These days, how­ever, he’s more in­clined to get most of his mu­sic via il­le­gal down­loads, un­less it’s a col­lec­tors’ item or in­di­vid­u­ally num­bered lim­ited re­lease from one of his favourite bands.

“I just can’t af­ford to buy most CDs, apart from cer­tain bands that I re­ally like,” he says. “Mu­sic is too ex­pen­sive these days. I can’t af­ford to chance ¤15 or ¤17 on a band that I might never have heard of. If I re­ally love an al­bum [that I’ve down­loaded], then I might buy it. It’s a pop­u­lar opin­ion that il­le­gal down­load­ing is a lost sale, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily the case.”

He agrees that a cer­tain amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fal­ter­ing re­tail sec­tor lies with peo­ple such as him – but he also thinks that stores, la­bels and pro­mot­ers should be do­ing more to in­crease foot­fall. Spe­cial events don’t have to be re­stricted to Record Store Day alone, he says.

“It would be a sad thing to not be able to phys­i­cally browse a back cat­a­logue in a shop, but I don’t see why some of the in­de­pen­dent stores don’t tie into more in-stores or live gigs and stop solely re­ly­ing on sales, or even the nov­elty re­leases you men­tioned,” he says. “Get­ting peo­ple into shops again is cru­cial. I’m not say­ing that run­ning a busi­ness is easy, but in­de­pen­dent stores need to pro­vide some­thing the big stores don’t, and adapt to the on­line mar­ket – not just sit back and sink, like some of them seem to have done.”

And he doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with Jon Bon Jovi’s sen­ti­ments, ei­ther.

“It was in­evitable that peo­ple would find a new way to con­sume mu­sic – it’s evo­lu­tion, plain and sim­ple. The big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing the in­dus­try now is giv­ing mu­sic a cur­rency that’ll steer fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, and peo­ple like me, away from ex­ploit­ing it.”

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