The recording industry has often seemed maddeningly unaware of some of the most interesting developments in music today. However, Vivendi's
Universal Music is testing different levels of packaging and pricing for CDs. For example, a basic CD will have a low-cost cardboard case and a lower retail price to compete with cheaper digital versions. "Deluxe" editions will cost more but will include more durable jewel cases with locking mechanisms (it'll be harder to bust the jewel cases, much less the CDs inside) as well as bonus content for hardcore fans.
As news reports noted, music giants like Sony's
Of course, Universal Music's move to get on the right track is hardly a surprise, with variations of the idea already floating around. Although I struggle with my addiction to Apple's
Initiatives like this might not save the CD -- digital music has clearly entrenched itself with consumers -- but it could certainly help bolster the format's lagging sales growth. The major labels' considerable bellyaching over music sales and complaints about piracy's threatening effects -- and their inevitable surprise and shock that consumers might actually pay for digital music -- only exposed them as an old-fashioned industry apparently loath to give consumers the changes they demanded. There's clearly no excuse for the industry to suppose that the old way is the right way any longer.
Deep cuts from the Foolish vaults:
- The music biz sings the blues.
- Does digital music have a dirty little secret?
- Last fall, music sent some mixed messages.
- How to find the greatest growth.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.