I was shopping in Anttila yesterday. On my way out my eyes happened on a display of music cds with an attractive price: 1,00 euro. Most of the cds had classical music, but some was music for children.
Classical music at 1,00 euro / cd is much cheaper than in iTunes Store, so I picked up Tchaikovski's Symphony #5 Op. 64, Dvorak's Serenade for strings in E Op. 22 and a collection of Johan Strauss Jr.'s most popular works.
The cds have no real packaging to speak of. They reside in square cardboard envelope with a portrait of the composer on the cover.
Obviously the publisher of these cds understands that these days the packaging is no longer important to many music consumers. The physical disc is only the medium for transferring the music from the shop to the consumer's computer and mp3 player. After the transfer, the disc can be either discarded or (preferably) archived.
I commend the music industry for coming up with this idea for competing with iTunes: Make the music cheap enough by discarding unnecessary baggage and people might still buy the discs. At least I don't have to make a backup copy of this music. And it doesn't carry any form of obnoxious DRM.
[I know all iTunes music is DRM-free these days. Unfortunately I have 365 songs in my iTunes that have DRM. Well, I can only blame myself. Nobody forced me to buy from iTunes.]
Obviously the 1 EUR price point is possible only because the music on the disc is in public domain, but I suspect the big record companies could scale back their profit margins and make up the difference by increasing sales, just like Hollywood movie studios have done. One hardly needs to pay more than 6-8 EUR for a movie DVD, unless it is from Disney.