From major to minor

Posted on January 14, 2008 

From major to minor

http://www.economist.com/images/20080112/D0208WB1.jpg

In 2006 EMI, the world’s fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. “That was the moment we realised the game was completely up,” says a person who was there.

In public, of course, music executives continued to talk a good game: recovery was just around the corner, they argued, and digital downloads would rescue the music business. But the results from 2007 confirm what EMI’s focus group showed: that the record industry’s main product, the CD, which in 2006 accounted for over 80% of total global sales, is rapidly fading away.

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