The other Ghetto Supastar…

Updated Tuesday, April 16th at 6:00 p.m.

…is my buddy George Scriban, who calls “shenanigans” on the RIAA. He says that it’s price-fixing by the record labels and the disappearance of the single (in the hopes of forcing customers to buy the entire album) — not Internet piracy — that’s hurting music sales. And he’s got proof:

On CD singles:

since 1997, shipments of CD singles have free-fallen from over 66 million units to 17 million — they now represent less than one percent of the total dollar value of all CDs sold. had CD singles represented as much of the overall market as they did in 1997 (the peak of the format, with 66.7 million units shipped), the major labels might well have seen a modest increase in music sales compared to 2000, rather than a drop.

On price fixing:

from 1992-96, a period that saw cut-throat price competiton from discount retailers like Best Buy and Target, sales of CDs grew 371 million units (from 400 million units to nearly 780 million units). once the labels started to enforce “minimum advertised pricing” (MAP) on the retailers, that sales growth started to slow. the RIAA reports that from 1996 to 2001, annual sales went from 780 million to 880 million units, an increase of only 100 million CDs in five years.

I think he’s on to something here, and so do bOINGbOING and Good Morning Silicon Valley. George’s insight and Mack Daddy Right-On-ness are why I love working with the guy.


Slashdot now points to George’s cool chart on price fixing. Now the record industry’s dirty little lie is exposed to the geekiverse, and George got his first slashdotting to boot!

Welcome to the ranks of the Masters of the Online Universe, George. Somebody buy this man a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

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