Yesterday, newspapers around the country covered Lady Gaga’s record breaking album sale of Born This Way. Of the 1,108,000 album copies sold in the first week, 440,000 sold on Amazon.com for only 99 cents. We’ve known since the creation of Napster that the music industry would face enormous changes and it seems we’ve reached a pinnacle. If Lady Gaga can sell her newest album for only 99 cents, how many others will follow suit to try to break her record?

These days, artists profit most through concert tours, promotions, ad campaigns, etc., not from album sales. Access to free music on websites such as YouTube and Pandora has certainly decreased record sales. It seems that artist goals to increase fan numbers are out of sync with record companies trying to stay alive.

The controversy on what music is worth:

Ish Cuebas, vice president for music merchandising of Trans World Entertainment, says in the New York Times, “I can understand what Amazon did, but I think it devalues music even further. In the customer’s mind it’s worth 99 cents.”

Lady Gaga herself tells the Wall Street Journal that she doesn’t think her own album in digital form is worth more than 99 cents.

Do you think access to low-cost or free albums devalues music? Share your thoughts below.

Posted on June 2, 2011
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