Last month, the Universal Music Group decided to cut the price of albums. Again.

One of the “big four” music labels, Universal is doing anything they can to bring us back into the fold and away from those gosh-darned Apple people and their newfangled iTunes store.

By the way: I used the word album, and actually albums aren’t dropping in price; if you want vinyl you’re still going to pay a premium for the privilege.

I’m old. In fact, I’m so old I didn’t realize that CDs had dropped to about $12 from the $17-$18 they cost when I was buying them. So the question is, if it cost $10 to buy a digital CD but $8 to buy a physical one, will you do it?

I’m betting not. While having the liner notes and other extras is nice, I’ve watched my kids go from being physical CD purchasers—who them immediately turned the CDs into something they could use in their iPods—to just not bothering going through the disk step. If that’s at all representative of how people think the issue for the consumer is that by buying a physical CD you need to

  1. Go to a store
  2. Convert the music to files
  3. Transfer it to your iPod
  4. Find somewhere to store the CD and case, never to be used again

All to save a couple of dollars.

I’m betting there won’t be many takers, and forget the fact that there are still many, many people who will download the music in a way that has them paying nothing.

I’ve written a few times about how deluded the executives at music labels and media companies are, and I’m pretty sure this is just another example of that. I applaud Universal for taking a stab at business change, but there’s not really any change here other than price . . . and the rest of the world has already moved on.

The real business change music labels need to go after is to find a way to get more money per unit, and the very idea of packaging music this way makes that all but impossible. And remember, it was not long ago that EMI screwed things up with Pink Floyd.

Now, where did I leave that CD again?

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