Music Publishers Angry That Apple Didn't First Grovel To Them About 60-Second Song Previews

from the it-helps-you-sell-more dept

It's really incredible to watch music industry folks shoot themselves in the foot over and over again with a simple inability to understand that promotions can lead to more sales, and that you don't need to get paid for every promotional effort. We've seen some in the industry gleefully admit that they'd rather have $1 today than $100 tomorrow. But this sort of thinking seems to pervade so much of the music industry at times that it's really quite stunning.

The latest comes from rumors that Apple was going to double song sample lengths in iTunes from 30-seconds to 60-seconds. There's apparently plenty of good reasons for this, as research has shown that 60-second samples lead to more purchases.

And yet, despite the rumors, you'll notice that Steve Jobs did not announce the expected doubling of samples. Why? Apparently Apple had the approval of all four of the major record labels... but he forgot to go groveling and beg for permission from the other side of the coin: the music publishers. Apparently, various music publishers read the rumors of the doubling and were quite upset that Apple hadn't asked for their permission, and even started lawyering up to sue, in case Apple announced such a plan without first getting permission from various music publishers.

And people say we're exaggerating when we show just how ridiculous music licensing is. This isn't about copyright or revenue or anything. This is just childish foot-stomping by a group that demands that everyone ask permission before helping them make more money. Stunning.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    "We've seen some in the industry gleefully admit that they'd rather have $1 today than $100 tomorrow. But this sort of thinking seems to pervade so much of the music industry at times that it's really quite stunning."

    They are not business men they are monopolists. There is a huge difference in mentality. One can cope with change one can not. One can innovate the other can not. Plus they are being led by lawyers ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Auditrix (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 6:21pm

      Re:

      I think you are probably referring to the so-called "limited monopoly" that a copyright grants, but seriously iTunes is closer to having a monopoly than any publisher is.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Michael, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 4:42am

        Re: Re:

        iTunes is a monopoly? Did you forget a sarcmark or something? iTunes is the biggest online music source right now (about 70%, I believe).

        But how about CD sales...their biggest competitor? Oh yeah, those guys still make up the vast majority of music sales.

        I love how music industry apologists just make up market segments to back their arguments.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Hephaestus (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re:

        "I think you are probably referring to the so-called "limited monopoly" that a copyright grants,"

        Actually I am talking about the "industry" (labels, collection, etc) as a whole. For the longest time they were the only game in town. They fell into the monopoly mindset and can't get out. Monopolies promote people who are team players and who tow the party line. It leads to mediocre, unvisioned, yes men moving to the top of the heap.

        We are talking about an "industry" thats about 100 years old. That has developed its own language, culture, acronyms, norms, and rules. All of which have become very static, fixed, inflexible, and incapable of changing course.

        "iTunes is closer to having a monopoly than any publisher is."

        The only reason for that is every other company trying to get into the online music business has been forced, via lawsuit, into deals that have caused them to fail.


        On a totally different path.... Do you have any brothers or sisters? And did you parents following a naming convention and name them things like, Pine, Willow, Oak, Walnut, Redwood ... ;) Do you have a cousin named bamboo?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Auditrix (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 6:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          David, my brothers have normal names, but I admit that I grew up on a commune next door to a Forest, my BFF is Fern and together we once met a gentleman named Bud.

          I think you and Michael are talking about the oligopoly of the music industry, not a monopoly.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Malodorous Intent (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 10:53am

    60 or 90, Which is it?

    This post says it would be 60-second song previews, but the cnet link says it would be 90 seconds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    BuyNoMore, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:00am

    ugghhh

    If this doesn't stop soon, they are going to push more and more people to piracy just to avoid the stupidity of the music industry and publishers. I can't wait or the musicians to completely wise up and realize they just don't need the old gaurd music industry any more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    taoareyou, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:10am

    They are irrelevant to me

    I listen to and support my favorite artists at Jamendo. Better music, too because it's authentic artistic expression, not the crap that has to pass corporate filters.

    This is the future the music industry is creating for itself. The middle men will go away and the artists will flock to popular sites similar to Jamendo and interact directly with those who enjoy their work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:10am

    As a brilliant comment to an earlier post put it:

    AyF+RtP

    Alienate your Fans + Reason to Pirate

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Don't you mean AyF=RtP?

    Good start and I definitely like it, but it needs some work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Freedom Fighter, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    I'm sure what they really prefer is $1 today AND $100 tomorrow. Stunning? Their behavior shouldn't be by now. Some day, when these dinosaurs are long gone, history will remember them as the ultimate example of greed, a cautionary tale that having your cake and eating it too, while certainly achievable, always comes at too high a price.

    /stw

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    and even started lawyering up to sue

    "and even started lawyering up to sue"

    Do you really think they would get very far with a simple letter, email or phone call? Threatening to sue is simply a way to actually get a response from a sleeping giant that does not care. If companies gave these types of inquiries the attention they deserve then there would be no need to 'laywer up'. Apples actions or lack thereof create the 'lawyer up' problem. I'm not siding with the music publishers, just saying that 'lawyering up' gets attention that might otherwise be hard or impossible to get.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    wizened (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    More options all the time

    Jamendo is great. I use them often. The other option (there are more I'm sure) is Magnatune. If you like shiny round media check out CDBaby. All good options to the lawyer infested music megopoly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Joshy, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Unfortunately this is systematic of stock market as a whole which has incentevized short term profits. The share holders and CEO's get rewarded for quarterly profits not job growth pay or long term profits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Auditrix (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    Contrary View + Now is the Time for Publishers to Demand Direct Accountings from Apple

    Publishers do not have an "inability to understand that promotions can lead to more sales."

    Many publishers will gladly grant gratis (free) promotional interactive streaming licenses to Apple for this reason. (Publishers grant gratis licenses all the time.) However, this decision is not Apple's to make. It is the publisher's.

    That said, I wouldn't blame a publisher for not granting a gratis license for interactive streaming by Apple. After all, Apple is in the business of selling devices and the publishers don't share in that profit. Further, the only amounts that publishers receive from an iTunes download in the US is what they manage to squeeze out of record companies, which is not a fair share compared to the record companies' and Apple's shares. So, publishers and songwriters have less to gain from additional sales than any party.

    Most importantly, Apple is shifting to streaming, and away from downloads, so it is crucial that publishers now establish their right to receive direct accountings from iTunes and not let Apple and the labels once again team up to virtually squeeze out publishers and songwriters, which is what happened with downloads, at least in the USA.

    Not to mention that other music distributors under Section 115 of the Copyright Act must choose either to pay statutory rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board for interactive streaming uses, or, more often, opt to negotiate more favorable rates (including $0 rates) with publishers. Why should Apple have an unfair advantage of not having to pay or negotiate for such interactive streams?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Leviathant (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:28pm

    Go after the labels, not the distributor.

    From the sounds of it, if publishers have to pursue record labels for their fair cut of a sale, going around them and taking aim at the point of sale seems to validate and further enable the notoriously poor accounting practices that plague record labels, while forcing the publishers to go after imaginary money.

    Certainly, if Apple does shift to an all-streaming model (I'll keep downloading from Amazon, thx) I can understand publishers getting a cut from those transactions, as money is changing hands.

    As far as Apple's business of selling devices that publishers don't share in the profit of, if publishers were to get a percentage of the sale of iPhones, Macintosh computers, iPods, and so forth, that seems to me to be grossly overreaching, a kind of handout-style subsidization of publishing companies, much like the tax on CDRs in Canada. The primary purpose of the iTunes store is to sell content. Did publishers get a cut of each sale of the Sony Walkman when that was the hot music delivery device?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Danny, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Which is funny...

    We've seen some in the industry gleefully admit that they'd rather have $1 today than $100 tomorrow. But this sort of thinking seems to pervade so much of the music industry at times that it's really quite stunning.
    I find this to be sad considering that at the same time most companies will promise to pay $100 dolloars tomorrow rather than pay $1 today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This