Would lower CD prices lead to fewer piracy problems?

Stereophile's picture
In answering last week's question
Would lower CD prices lead to fewer piracy problems?
Yes, overnight
57% (133 votes)
Yes, a little
29% (67 votes)
Won't make a difference
14% (32 votes)
Will make it worse
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 232
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Comments
Dick's picture

The people who pirate, whether music, movies, or software, don't understand how profit is necessary to keep businesses healthy. They will steal until the price of the legal copy goes below that of the materials needed to copy it, which is of course impossible. The thieves feel somehow entitled to act as they do, so lowering CD costs would have little impact. Personally, I am frequently amazed how low some prices are already.

W.O.'s picture

I do think CDs are too expensive. I'm a student, so I can't afford to buy a few new CDs each month, but I do get stuff from BMG, since it comes out to about $5 (CND) for a CD. However, they do not have everything. Also, if I really like something but just can't afford it, I copy it and wait untill I can find a used one or one in the club. I would buy more new CDs if they were in the $10-15 range rather then the more common $17-23 range.

Keith K.'s picture

Most ordinary folks view the record industry as a bunch of fat-cat lawyers out to make a buck, especially when they find out that CDs actually cost only a few pennies to make.

Jan van Grieken's picture

CD prices in the Netherlands are 50% higher than in the States. You can copy a CD for 1/10 of the original price.

Mitch Barber's picture

If everyone can afford the music, why pirate it?

Dexter M.  Price's picture

I believe lowering CD prices would reduce the amount of illegal copying. However, the rate of reduction depends on the reduction in CD prices. In discount stores in large cities (and through the Internet and the US Postal Service), audio CD-R discs are available for approximately $3.50 each. Based on my unscientific tests, digital copies of CDs, made using a computer CD-R drive, sound better when I use audio CD-Rs than when I use data-grade CD-Rs. "Original" CDs purchased through "clubs" (for example, BMG and Columbia House) cost about $8.50 each with shipping charges and taxes. I think, for most people, getting an "original" with artwork and labels is worth the additional $5. However, people on tight budgets will continue to make illegal copies using tapes and data-grade CD-Rs. I believe the high cost of CDs in stores ($16.98 & $17.98) inhibits purchases. One is much less likely to experiment with new artists or new music when the cost is almost $20.

David Mills's picture

Try our prices here in the UK

tony sciame's picture

On the streets of Manhattan a bootleg CD cost $5 in almost any store it's over 3x the price, at $15 to $17.00. Just look at the success CDNOW and other discount shops on the net.

rninl8 (runnin late)'s picture

Reduce the price by 25% and I will buy three times as much.

corey warner's picture

I would rather have a true copy for 8 bucks instead of a cd r any day

lord_coz's picture

Piracy is business, and, like any business, when it becomes less profitable and or more dangerous the business tends to wither and die.

Mohamed Youssif's picture

I remember when the Egyptian Government used to set the exchange rate for the US dollar against the Egyptian pound way less than the black market. Everyone was exchanging their US$ in black market until one day they (the Government) matched the black market, and it instantly killed the black market. The merit here is, if a product's price reflects its real value, there will be no black market.

Jeff Roberts's picture

They would have to lower their prices so low that I do not think they would be able to make a profit.

Dave's picture

At 5-7 bucks a pop, it wouldn't be worth my time to buy CD-Rs and then borrow the CD and then the time to record.

Mitchell E.  Taub's picture

CDs are just too expensive, almost prohibitively so. If they were half the price they are now—and I KNOW there are huge profits being made here—I'd buy 3-4 times as many.

HD audio's picture

As long as someone thinks they can profit from copying it will continue.

Frankie O's picture

One major issue with piracy is cost, but another is availability. The same CD in demand in the US and overseas should be available in both areas. If not, piracy will continue. Lower prices and availability would definitely harm the black market. With the patent coming to a close and money owed to Sony and Philips ending as well, should there not be an immediate drop in price anyway? What if lower-end audio products were the CD, with DVD-Audio as the higher end? The only roadblock would be a consumer-friendly (and inexpensive) alternative to burning CDs. Philips' dual deck is too proprietary, and CD-Rs are not quite as convenient to purchase, install, and use to record a few favorite songs from vinyl or multiple CDs onto one CD. What does it take for the consumer to drive the industry and NOT the industry drive product down to the consumer? Who pays for it all in the end? We do.

Keith's picture

CDs have always been a money-grabbing rip-off. They are much less expensive to produce than tapes but are retailed at twice the price of tapes.

EDDIE HART's picture

LOWER PRICE WOULD NOT GIVE THEM SO MUCH PROFIT AND THEY WOULD WONDER IF IT IS WORTH THE TIME AND MONEY TO DO IT.

Nick Fulford's picture

A lower cost will always make the legitimate product more attractive. I don't have illegal copies because I recognize that the greater the piracy problem is, the more difficult it will be to convince the labels to not resort to SDMI. That said: Piracy does act as a brake on how far a record company can increase the price of a given CD before losing profit from excess sales losses.

Dave Carpe's picture

What lowering the prices does is make it less attractive for the commercial pirating of CDs. If the margins are less, it makes the risks less worth taking. It will not stop individuals from piracy, if it should even be called that. Some people will always copy, for several reasons. Some like the thrill of getting something slightly illicit. Others just want to share their music with friends. The emergence of MP3 helps this tremendously and will undoubtedly sell MORE CDs. I have been playing with MP3 lately and I can certainly hear the difference between a CD and an MP3 file generated from it. (I have Eminent Technology LFT-11 speakers on my PC.) The MP3 sounds nearly as good (better than cassette tape ever did) and is portable enough to exchange over the Internet. I have been listening to new artists I would never have heard before, and I am choosing to buy the CDs of those whose MP3 recordings I really fall for.

joao's picture

It's the economy, stupid (quote). The pirates will only give up CD (et al) piracy if their profit margin gets close to zero. Lowering CD prices would only make a real difference if the new prices would match the pirate CD prices. What would this mean in terms of recording company profits?

Chris's picture

I always bought soundtracks for the movies I like. Two things drive me nuts: 1) The movie on VHS is less expensive than the CD soundtrack. 2) The cassette soundtrack is also less expensive than the CD. A blank cassette is about the same price as a blank CD. How come the music often has a $10 difference between tape and CD?

Joven's picture

Whenever there's a profit to be made, it's going to continue to happen. Why don't they make the watermarking code some disease or virus. So the only way to break the code would be if the hackers solved the cure. Viola, a cure for terrible virus or incurable disease!!! Make the hackers do some work!

Chris S.'s picture

The only way to stop piracy is to make CDs so cheap that it would be more expensive to make illegal copies than to just go buy a legal one.

BC's picture

Believe me, if the greedy studios were to price CDs more reasonably, the majority of pirates would be out of business. But they won't. They will milk suckers, I mean consumers, as much as they can until they are forced to stop. Please don't tell me that piracy robs the artists. The artists only get a small fraction of the revenue; the studios pocket the rest. I hope that piracy gets more prevalent; maybe we, the long-suffering consumers, will get the relief we deserve.

Brad Bryant's picture

People copy and pirate to save or make money. Lower prices will reduce, maybe even eliminate, the incentive to pirate.

Arvind Kohli's picture

If you could buy a CD for little more than a pirated copy, why would you not want to pay for the assurance of quality and liner notes? I buy used CDs for $5-8, and much prefer that to burning my own for about $2. But if the recording industry thinks I will pay current retail prices, I would love to get my hands on some of what they are smoking.

Jon Taylor's picture

I'm still waiting for the prices to come down, as they talked about 15 years ago. I work for a company that sells the optical-quality plastic to the CD manufacturers. They are making a killing at $12-$15 a pop.

Steve in E.L.'s picture

That is, of course, unless making mix CDs, MDs, and tapes for the car, your family, and pals is illegal, in which case it will make no difference at all. But watermarking would certainly inhibit such ruthless (note sarcasm)duplication, and in the end make it more difficult for us to share our cool new tunes with our pals. By the way, all of my pals buy nearly as much music as I do, and we often lead each other to these purchases in the way I described. I think it would end in lower sales revenues, especially because many would boycott such oppressive totalitarian behavior.

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