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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:26am


    I understand your points but I'd add the following:

    1. It's not really about whether they're selling the shiny discs but rather that they're trying to enforce the old business model and market economics onto the digital era. It's not going to work, and that's clear to most of us.

    2. Your tastes obviously differ, but the vast majority of people either can't tell the difference between lossy and lossless formats, don't own equipment that makes the difference noticeable or simply don't care.

    3. Do you really pay $11 for a CD if you only want a single track from the album? Do you feel you got a good deal if you do?

    4. People used to buy the album regardless because they had no choice. Unless a song was made available as a single, you had to buy the album. Those days are long gone. Trying to force the market to behave as if they're not is what's causing the record industry's problems right now.

    The simple fact is that 2 or 3 good songs is all that most albums have ever had. Even great albums often have one track that tends to get skipped. Most non-great albums (the majority of albums) are not coherent works but rather collections of songs. Most people just want the songs they like, and if they can get them without having to pay $10+ for the entire album, even better.

    The whole "avoiding digital downloads to force people to buy the CD" thing is also especially stupid when you consider what people will do with that CD. Most will listen to the CD once, rip the tracks they like, then listen to them in the order they choose. In other words, they do exactly what they would have done with digital downloads, but feel like they got less of a deal. It makes little financial sense (many people will just choose not to buy the album at all), and it's absolute nonsense from an artistic perspective.

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