Musicians stage mutiny against Sony, defiantly offer music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store

“Japanese musicians under contract with Sony and other labels that haven’t joined Apple’s iTunes Music Store are starting to defy their recording companies and trying to get their music on the popular download service launched last week in Japan,” The Associated Press reports. “At least one artist has already gone against his label to offer his songs on iTunes. And a major agency that manages Japanese musicians said Wednesday it was interested in a possible deal with Apple Computer Inc., regardless of the recording companies’ positions.”

“In just four days, customers downloaded 1 million songs — the fastest pace for the service’s launch in any of the 20 nations it’s become available… But Sony Corp.’s music division has not signed up to join Apple’s service. The two companies have emerged as major rivals in the portable music player business. Apple’s iPod music player, which stores music on a hard drive, has hurt Sony, which its own Network Walkman, some of which have hard drives,” AP reports.

“Sony Music Entertainment and Apple say they’re in talks but there’s been no agreement. But wayward artists could just start averting the issue and opt to offer their music to iTunes. Rock musician Motoharu Sano, who has a recording contract with Sony, is making some of his songs available on iTunes, according to his official Web page. ‘It is an individual’s freedom where that person chooses to listen to music. I want to deliver my music wherever my listeners are,’ Sano was quoted as saying by Japan’s top business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun Wednesday,” AP reports. “Sony Music spokesman Yasushi Ide said Sano is no longer considered ‘a Sony artist,’ although negotiations will decide whether his recordings under the Sony label will be offered at iTunes or not. The outcome will depend on each contract, and talks are continuing, he said.”

Full article here.
Like we said on Monday here, “Sony will come around soon. They’ll have to suck it up and sign on the dotted line.”

Sony, with their iTunes Music Store stalling and bogus Microsoft Windows Media DRM-laden non-Compact Discs, have clearly lost and are now in the last throes of their lame, failed attempts to cheat their way into the portable digital music player game. Sony’s B.S. won’t work and, Sony, we won’t forget.

[CLARIFICATION: 12:38pm ET: With the phrase “iTunes Music Store stalling” above, we mean that Sony is stalling their signing of a contract with Apple’s iTunes Music Store Japan. We apologize for the confusing wording.]

Related articles:
Apple posts support article: iTunes unable to import copy-protected audio discs – August 09, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store sells one million songs in first four days – August 07, 2005
Apple’s iTunes Music Store offers Japan’s largest library; Napster plans April 2006 launch in Japan – August 04, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store debut more bad news for Sony – August 04, 2005
New copy-protected CDs are Apple iPod incompatible – August 04, 2005
Apple launches iTunes Music Store in Japan – August 03, 2005
Sony grabs Japan flash-based music player lead from Apple ahead of Japanese iTunes Music Store – July 14, 2005
Sony BMG and EMI try to force Apple to ‘open’ iPod with iPod-incompatible CDs – June 20, 2005
New Sony BMG copy-protected CDs lock out Apple iPod owners – June 01, 2005


  1. Sony better listen to those artists otherwise they aint gonna have any artists to put on their crappy store.

    It amazes me how ignorant and determined businesses are – even though it makes perfect business sense to throw in the towel.

    Admit defeat Sony – iTunes IS THE ONLY STORE PEOPLE WANT TO USE.

  2. Back in the 1920’s a group of movie stars decided to start their own movie studio to get away from the strong armed movie moguls that existed.

    United Artists was born.

    Appears to me that musicians should start their own “music studios” to propagate their creative talents.

  3. “Sony Music spokesman Yasushi Ide said Sano is no longer considered ‘a Sony artist,’ although negotiations will decide whether his recordings under the Sony label will be offered at iTunes or not. The outcome will depend on each contract, and talks are continuing, he said.”

    This shows how unenforceable a contract with a major label is. Sano has a lot of balls to just walk away like this, and I have to give him some mad props for doing so.

    It’s about time that the creative side of the music industry realized they don’t need their music pimped out by Sony or BMG or Warner. In this age of near-instantaneous worldwide electronic distribution, the old inefficient models don’t apply anymore. And there’s precedent with this sort of action: Wilco walked away from their major label and became HUGE… so huge that the same major label wound up paying them twice for an album that they said was unlistenable. Sano’s audience will follow him to wherever he winds up, and he’ll become the Jeff Tweedy of Japan.

    Sano, hats off to you; way to call Sony’s bluff. Now, if only I could purchase some of your music off the iTMS, to show my support…

  4. Surely if Apple got to the point where iTms was the standard worldwide they would then be forced by governments to open it up under monopoly laws? At this point the record companies wouldn’t have a problem. If I were them I would run towards iTms, get the format war(s) out of the way and concentrate on making money.

  5. I agree with “One Guy from Finland”, the next big issue for Apple is removing the country restrictions for purchasing music.

    I admit, I’m concern about the next stage of music contracts with music labels. I think, the music labels will do everything in their power to screw that up. But they will have to weigh their desire for music sales against their desire to control the distribution.

    I would love for the next issue to be pushed by Apple, would be to keep the various countries’ music stores, but allow users to purchase across borders. What would be super cool, is if I’m registered with the US, could get US prices regardless of which store I purchase from; and not have to register with any other stores. That would rock. I’d be purchasing from the Europe and Canadian stores all the time, and there is a fair amount of Japanese music I want as well.

    I love roaming through the stores of other countries, but its irritating that the best I can do is listen to the music videos. Especially since some countries still have less than 25 videos available.

    I’d love to see artist revolt across the board, not just in Japan but in other countries. Junk your label.

  6. Prometheus, “This shows how unenforceable a contract with a major label is.”

    Actually, most of the contracts are very, very enforceable — even the abusive ones.

    This is why Prince (aka, weird symbol, “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, TAFKAP, etc.) used that strange symbol and then the TAFKAP type reference. The music label with which he signed had a strong, enforceable contract with him. As his popularity grew he felt the contract was far too restrictive and abusive. It controlled his products and even the use of his name.

    I would be very surprised if any significant fraction of contracts between the major labels and the artists have any major flaws in them which would allow the artists to get out of them purely at will.

  7. MikeR:

    Of course, the irony in your post is that United Artists ultimately became part of corporate America when they were purchased by Transamerica Corporation and, following Cimino’s financially disastrous Heaven’s Gate, they became part of Kerkorian’s MGM empire and eventually owned by a bunch of French bankers.

    And now, in 2005, they’re owned by Sony who desperately wanted control of the 007 franchise – so after seventy years, the result is the same.

  8. I’ve heard that Anheuser-Busch makes each of there beer divisions compete against each other as if they were different companies. So Bud-Light competes against Michelob, etc. Kind of a smart tactic, and maybe that’s why they are so successful at selling beer.

    I think mega-companies like Sony, Time-Warner are going to have to do this with their different divisions to stay alive. Sony is a perfect example. They should make their Electronic division compete to win over their music divisions business, if they can’t come up with a compelling product or solution, to bad they lost out to another company. But at least the music division comes out on top, and the mega-company still makes money, cause more artist would be willing to sign with them.

    Makes sense to me.

  9. heh. They’re jumpin’ ship! lol!

    Hey listen friends .. seems iTunes Japan has a ‘New Music Wednesday’ Newsletter: .. (no, I couldn’t find any Podcast by that name .. yet)

    Anyways .. the New Music Wednesday newsletter won’t seem to let me sign up for it: “[an error occurred while processing this directive]”. Could somebody else try it? Enter your email twice and click the button. Any luck?

    Sup with that? Apple is excluding western email addys, or what? I might have to mutiny .. or sumpin’. ahaha

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