Saturday, June 30, 2007

Out of tune with the market?

Prince's forthcoming album is to be available free with The Mail on Sunday at some point in the future causing shockwaves to run through the big high street retailers. Their response is to attack the decision and threaten to boycott selling his recordings. Is calling the decision "absolutely nuts" or making the statement "It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career." really good PR for the retailers? While not an admission that can often be made it seems that The Mail's MD Stephen Miron is more in touch when he argues retailers like HMV "are living in the old days and haven't developed their businesses sufficiently". As they try to respond to cheaper offshore retailers, file sharing and the download industry, it seems a little unwise for the high street to damage their images in this way. As artists make less money from record sales as concert revenue and through merchandising, and when in essence their music is their own, is it any surprise that small bands promote themselves via MySpace and the bigger names look at less conventional routes for promoting themselves. Change maybe a bad thing for some sectors but when the market speaks both retailers and artists have to move with the times. Critics appear to be simialr to King Canute trying to make the tide obey him. The market has spoken, in a consumerist society brands, political or otherwise, are forced to listen.

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