How digital changes are challenging the music industry

With illegal digital downloads on the rise and store-bought CDs becoming as obsolete as eight-tracks, the future of the music business is hazy. Chris Utah, the Campus Marketing Director of Ruckus, acknowledges that “college students don’t want to pay for music. CDs are a dying model.”

Artists and the record industry must be creative to sell their products to the fastidious and ever-changing market. On Thursday, Nov. 15, Carlos Diaz-Silveira, a University of Miami IT Security Engineer, and Jesse Stoll, a Sony BMG College Marketing Representative for Miami, along with Utah from Ruckus, spoke on the “Copyright Infringement Forum” panel presented by the Student Government about how their respective organizations will impact the future of music.

Since August, about 25 percent of the student body has signed up for Ruckus, the university’s new free downloading service. “Ruckus is a free and legal alternative for college students,” Utah said.

But Stoll offers a different outlook on the future of the music industry. He recognizes that there is “still value in owning music.for the physical artwork,” but notes that the industry is shifting its focus to ringtones. Since people are willing to pay up to three dollars for one ringtone, artists can actually profit from the burgeoning business. Stoll introduced to the curious audience the “ringle,” a combination of a CD single and ringtone. As opposed to the degenerating album-based industry, the “ringle” is designed to attract the single-based consumers by offering other goodies like mixes, B-sides, live tracks and computer wallpaper.

As for new devices on which to play these digital tracks, Utah recommends visiting The site matches a variety of MP3 devices and online media sources with “more features and more functionality.”

From the days of boom boxes and alphabetizing your CD collection to sleek MP3 players, online music stores and alphabetizing your iTunes library list, technology is changing and challenging the music industry to keep up.

Hilary Saunders may be contacted at