In re: End of iTunes?

Well probably not, but I thought it was interesting to read a story in the NY Times about a label (Island Def Jam) choosing not to put their new singles of Ne-Yo (yeah, so I haven’t heard of him, but that really doesn’t mean anything does it) on iTunes or other online downloadable formats. The result? Well apparently it was the number one album, as people only had one option (besides illegal downloads of course) to obtain it. They also were selling it at $8 at Target and some other stores which probably helped. So will others follow this idea of at least trying to maximize initial album sales in a physical format and then maybe move to the iTunes / downloadable format later? Maybe, but as the NYT article points out the record companies may just be denying the problem of illegal downloads they had before and ending back up in the mess that existed before.

“If you’re buying a Picasso…you can’t just buy the upper right-hand corner.”
-Tony Brummel, owner of the independent Victory Records

My take on the issue is that iTunes allows many customers to buy a single, who may balk at buying the whole album, they reason, they’ll pay $0.99 for one or two songs and get what they want, but paying $8-12 for the same two songs (they might not want the rest) isn’t worth it and then they are back looking around for a Grokster solution. Of course with the success of this album maybe record companies will get green with envy and want the profits that come with selling an album. Which on a side note, I always wondered why they didn’t try and use a lower price point and move more legal volume of albums, by switching to a $5.99 price I would probably buy many more CDs, instead buying a CD turns into something you have to THINK about, and companies should realize anytime you have to think about a purchase its only a bad thing, well at least when the purchase is of something that isn’t quality and is impulsive in nature (most pop cds). However as the quote above points out some albums are cohesive ‘whole’ products, and unbundling them may be taking away from the artists ‘expression’ of course when these people are only concerned about money, do they really care? I would wonder, some starving artists may sell the corner of their painting if the price were right.

See NY Times Article: Labels Halt Downloads to Increase CD Sales


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