Bands Avoiding iTunes For The Wrong Reasons

from the it's-not-going-to-make-people-buy-the-album dept

This is hardly a new phenomenon, but the Wall Street Journal is noting that some bands and some record labels are avoiding putting music on iTunes (or in some cases, pulling music off iTunes) in an effort to force people to buy the full album, rather than just a few tracks. There are plenty of reasons to dislike iTunes, but it seems hard to believe that this does anything positive for the bands in question. The article quotes Kid Rock's manager, who compares apples to oranges, by pointing out that people who are on iTunes sell more single songs than albums, but that's rather meaningless in comparing to an artist (like Kid Rock) who's not on iTunes at all. Not putting your music where people want it is only going to piss them off.

Hell, even record industry execs are getting frustrated by bands not having their singles anywhere that can be downloaded legally. And, yet, the sister record label to the one that employs the annoyed exec above is experimenting with an even more annoying proposition: pulling popular songs from iTunes after they've become popular, to see if it gets more people to buy the CD.

Honestly, is it really that hard to understand the concept of providing the customer what they want in a convenient manner?

Filed Under: albums, itunes, kid rock, music, record labels, singles

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  1. identicon
    Woadan, 28 Aug 2008 @ 4:05pm

    It's right back to the argument about whether the labels, and their artists, are selling plastic shiny discs.

    Since most artists see little to no money from album sales, I'm not sure how much of an argument they can make over the economic part of this one.

    I know that the current conventional wisdom is that there are 2 or 3 good songs on every album, and the rest is crap. Whether I (or any artist for the matter) agree with that wisdom is immaterial. In this case, the customer is right. So if the customer only wants one song, that's what they should be able to buy.

    On the other hand, when I was growing up, if you liked the band, you bought the album. If you didn't like the band, you waited for the song you liked to play on the radio, or you stuck your quarter in the jukebox and played it.

    I know that for many artists, the songs on a particular album have a significance for them. They might be writing songs that reflect the troubles the band has been going through, or they might reflect their optimism because their last album sold millions, and they headlined their tour. but even on albums that could be considered "concept" albums, each song still has to stand on its own. Knowing what came before can lend some context to the current one, but it still has its own story, even if it is a part of a bigger story.

    Times have changed, and the labels and the artists will have to change with them. Perhaps if they discounted the price of the album so we'd be enticed to buy it? You know, subsidize the whole thing with the value that the 2 or 3 songs bring to the whole?

    $9.99 for the whole album, in MP3 format, is not too big a draw for me. I want the song in a lossless format, so I'll buy the CD and rip it myself. I can often get the album for $10 or $11 on Amazon and I get free shipping, so it's worth it to me.

    As always, YMMV. I just don't see the value in pay $0.99 for a lossy format digital file.


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