Rehashed hash

When blogging I try to keep book rehash to a minimum.  But tonight I cannot resist making a point from Good and Plenty:

In the past most people didn’t much like or listen to most of the music they bought, or in any case most of the value came from their very favorites.  A relatively small percentage of our music purchases accounted for most of our listening pleasure.  So if people can sample music in advance, and know in advance what they will like, music sales will plummet.  This will be a sign of market efficiency, not market failure.

Admittedly copyright issues are being superimposed on this scenario at the same time, so the net assessment of current music trends is complex.  But when there is uncertainty about consumer tastes, falling output can be a strong Pareto improvement.  (It’s just like how having lots of dates is not necessarily the sign of a happy love life.)  Less music is being produced, but we’re getting more of the stuff we want.


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