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Technology Downsizes the Music Industry

September 07, 2003

Re "Top Label Cuts CD Prices to Fight Net Downloads," Sept. 4: Some years ago I stopped buying classical CDs because of the high cost for a product that actually costs about $3 to put on the shelf. Also, some $17 to $18 issues were 20-year-old recordings in analog. So, consumers pay high prices for digital CDs that offer only analog sound. Ridiculous! No wonder sales have slipped.

I don't download classical music from the Internet. I just stopped downloading too much cash from my pockets to the greedy record companies.

Bill Wyse

Los Angeles

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In "Tone Deaf to a Moral Dilemma?" (Sept. 2) an important view held by many musicians and file sharers alike was not mentioned: Record companies have been made obsolete by technology. This is to the benefit of the consumer. The only valuable service that record companies ever had to offer was distribution of music. To raise the demand for this service they took on the secondary "service" of promotions.

Clearly the former service is no longer needed, and the only people who ever benefited from the secondary service were the record companies themselves and the few musicians ("performers" is a more apt description for some) who were fortunate enough to be chosen to be advertised.

In the transition between these distribution methods it is unfortunate that record company employees will have to spend some time finding new jobs. Though I'm sure it will turn out all right for them. Most of us have survived such periods. To impede such wonderful technological progress for the sake of paying people to do a job that is no longer of any use would be a shame.

Brentt Newman

Las Flores

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Thank you for one of the first balanced articles I have read in your publication on this complex issue. As a person who depends on the music industry for a living -- as a recording-equipment supplier, studio manager, engineer and artist -- I see the recording industry as its own worst enemy.

Certainly the Recording Industry Assn. of America does not have the artists' best interests in mind. By its own numbers, the record industry has released 20% fewer titles over the last two years than the previous two years, so it knows full well why sales are down a corresponding amount.

Doug Osborne

Culver City

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The people justifying the stealing of music (downloading) by claiming that the record labels and musicians are "rich" and thus can "afford" this thievery fail to take into account the kid in the mailroom who makes $25K or the middle-management executives with three kids and a mortgage who lose their jobs because of this behavior.

True, discs are way overpriced. True, quality control is nonexistent. However, theft is theft. I think milk is also too expensive; does this, then, justify me walking out of the store without paying for it? The fact that parents in your article condone their children's use of these services is terrifying.

Jeff Wolfe

Granada Hills

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I was so heartened to learn that the music industry is developing a taste for ethics. I can't wait to see how this newfound zealousness will reveal itself in what it markets to our kids.

Melanie Rothschild

Topanga

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