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.”