Letter: Far from popping off

WE, the public, have not stopped buying records ("Pop will eat itself", Real Life, 20 September). Sales of albums last week were 9 per cent up on the equivalent week in 1997. Catatonia's second album did sell 32,000 copies in the week it went to No.1 in May, but it was in its 14th week after release, not its debut week; by then it had already sold 130,000 copies. Sales always fall in the summer.

The music industry is not in crisis; it is going through one of its cycles when nothing new is coming along. But it will; it always does. The advent of the Internet is an interesting development. It will provide opportunities for unsigned bands to sell their latest tracks. But as to "videos, live gigs, biographies and pre-sales samples", who will pay for these? Unsigned bands are not going to spend pounds 500,000 on a video to give away free on the Internet.

Bands want to express their creativity but they also want to make money. Some musicians start altruistically, keep their principles and never become commercially successful. The majority only become altruistic when they are so rich they don't know what to do with their money.

JON WEBSTER

The Clancy Webster Partnership, Elstree, Hertfordshire

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