The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The Réseau Circum report to be entered into Copyright Board hearings in about a month’s time represents the recording industry’s most valuable asset as it attempts to hike the blank tape levy and introduce it across a variety of new devices (see story in this issue). One key number – the number of copies of music made – represents about 74 million albums, 77% of the volume of albums actually sold in the country. The report’s authors are careful to say that in the absence of private copying, it doesn’t necessarily hold true that another 57 million albums or so (very roughly about $911 million dollars worth) would have been sold. There are many explanations as to why people download rather than buy, and the Copyright Board will have to be very careful before determining that the record industry is losing quite as much money as the numbers might first indicate. There’s little doubt that the musical offerings in 2001-2002 were hardly of the quality as those of the mid-’90s. Since the death of grunge, and the loosened hold on the charts by serious bands such as Moist, Nirvana, Metallica or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, consumers have been deluged with some of the worst music to hit the scene since A Flock of Seagulls and Honeymoon Suite held sway in the ’80s. In a sign of the times, Bruce Springsteen last put out an original album in the mid-’90s, The Ghost of Tom Joad, at a time when music was worth listening to. Interestingly, a change may be heralded by his brilliant new The Rising, which seems to indicate a taste for solid rock and roll in North America again, with bands such as Nickelback, the Foo Fighters and Offspring giving the industry needed substance. It’s a rare person who will buy a Shakira album, but most of us will download a hit or two occasionally. That’s not money out of the record companies’ pockets, argue some, because without the Internet, those people wouldn’t buy the album anyway. We don’t advocate piracy and any use of the music should entail compensation to the artists and record labels. But it’s not hard to understand the impetus to download. A return to marketing fundamentals and understanding the desires of consumers should go a long way toward mitigating some of the harm of the Internet.