NYT’s Pogue to record companies: it’d be idiotic to mess with Apple iTunes Music Store prices

The New York Times’ David Pogue writes of recent reports that the record companies – whose contracts with iTunes are coming up for renewal soon – “want Apple to start charging more or less than $1 for songs depending on their popularity.”

Pogue writes, “You could have knocked me over with a feather. Don’t these clowns remember their own attempts to build online music stores only three years ago? They were total, utter, complete failures. Customers wouldn’t touch ’em with a ten-foot USB cable.”

“And why? Because their scheme was exactly what these record companies are suggesting once again: different limitations and prices for every single song. It’s idiotic to suggest that what didn’t work in 2002 would somehow work in 2006, after Apple demonstrated to the industry that a simple, unified, understandable pricing and rights structure was the only way to make music stores work,” Pogue writes.

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs prepares for pivotal fight on digital music prices – August 28, 2005
Record labels to push Apple for higher iTunes Music Store prices in 2006? – August 05, 2005
Record labels look to raise iTunes wholesale prices, music industry fears Apple’s market domination – March 05, 2005
Report: Apple CEO Steve Jobs ‘angered’ as music labels try to raise prices for downloads – February 28, 2005
Report: Music labels delay Euro iTunes Music Store fearing Apple domination – May 05, 2004
Greedy Big Five music labels looking to jack up iTunes songs to $2.49 each? – April 22, 2004

21 Comments

  1. Leave it to the greedy, sleezebags that only know how to shaft someone to try telling a successful venture how they should ‘really’ be doing their business.

    Talk about the height of arrogance!

    MW ‘there’ as in get the hell out of there, you don’t belong in that part of the business!

  2. Regarding the last of the “Related Articles” above, I don’t think we’d see a $2.49/song pricing scheme in the near future. Unless they’re deliberately trying to scare people into buying CDs. The possibility of artists selling exclusively from online services (and cutting out the record companies completely) scares the crap out of them.

    $1.25/song would be acceptable to most people, but any higher than that would be pushing it.

  3. melanie~
    if they think they are going to scare people into buying cd’s they should think again. they will go back to P2P aquisition. but you are right in that the recording industry is afraid of becoming redundant pedlars of plastic disks when the artists just sign up with an on line distributors. It’s not about music with them, just the packaging.

  4. Yeah, I mean if only there were a way of completely cutting out the middle man and just dealing with the artist directly. Screw those middle men.

    (Note : to those whose browsers do not support sarcasm, this is entirely possible already and has been for decades. Not sure what you guys have been buying since the 70s but it’s been quite possible to support art and stick it to the man way before MP3. Looks like most people actually want a retail middle man like iTMS rather than dealing with lots of artists individually).

  5. Songs should still be 99¢ max, but less popular songs should go for less than that.

    But we know that’s not the true intention of the RIAA here, what they want to do is raise the prices of popular songs to break iTMS and drive folks into a rental/subscription method.

    The Labels don’t want any one company controling the entire market, they rather have competition that keeps them in power and control.

    In Japan artists are defecting their contracts with Labels to sell their music on iTMS.

    But a message should go to the Labels, kill iTMS and we will all go to AllofMP3.com and or P2P and they won’t get squat.

    We are hooked on music like never before, I know I am, I bought almost 3000 songs off of iTMS to add to my 4000 song cd collection.

    Cut me off by raising prices and I’ll defect hard.

  6. What’s really laughable (and an outrage) is that the record industry is already making more from selling the latest 50 Cent song at iTunes $0.99 price that they are selling that song on a CD or via a subscription service.
    That’s right, the record industry is ALREADY MAKING A BIGGER PROFIT PER SONG on iTunes that any other distribution method.

    Yet, that doesn’t stop them from whining about how they are getting “ripped off” because iTunes is all about the 99 cents when it was the flat pricing that made buying music online workable in the first place. No doubt these freaking idiots are somehow using evidence of multi-tier pricing on other failed services to point out how desirable multi-tier pricing is. Freakin’ idiots.

  7. The list of Sleezebag “entrepreneurs” in America (in no particular order:

    Record companies
    News organizations
    Cell phone providers
    Cable/Satellite TV companies
    Long distance DSL providers
    Most large corporations

    All of these folks seem to have two characteristic beliefs in common: The belief that there’s no such thing as “enough profit”, and that “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

  8. To add: The day the artists will go direct to us is the day that they start paying for their own studio time, graphic designers, session musicians, radio and TV royalty collection, etc.

    I do own albums that have been entirely home recorded on Mac and even Atari ST based systems, but electronic music is not the be all and end all. String and horn sections cost, rehearsal rooms cost, producers cost . . . and with very few exceptions, almost every musician I’ve ever known has wanted to ‘get a deal’ – get someone else to take the risk on hiring the studio, engineer, etc, etc. (Even though it all comes out of their future earnings).

    The tiny number I know that are DIY in almost every respect (sleeves, websites, CD-R and MP3) tend to be uncommercial / anti – commercial / anti-capitalist in the first place.

  9. “The tiny number I know that are DIY in almost every respect (sleeves, websites, CD-R and MP3) tend to be uncommercial / anti – commercial / anti-capitalist in the first place.”

    Right! My friend who plays Celtic Harp and is DIY sure fits that discription. Cut the blanket generalisations, some people just don’t want to be caught in the trap set by the major labels.

  10. “What’s really laughable (and an outrage) is that the record industry is already making more from selling the latest 50 Cent song at iTunes $0.99 price that they are selling that song on a CD or via a subscription service.
    That’s right, the record industry is ALREADY MAKING A BIGGER PROFIT PER SONG on iTunes that any other distribution method.”

    New Type, where did you get this info? I’m not doubting you, just wondering if you heard this from a legitimate source or if it’s just speculation. Thanks

  11. I’m in an “indy” band, (still have my day job) and we have been doing the DIY thing for the last 2 years and in that time we’ve sold about 1,500 albums at shows and on our web site, and in the last year we sold about 50 songs /month on iTMS.
    Where the major labels really have control over most of the music biz is thru radio. This is probably gonna change or evolve soon but the bottom line is you can’t break big without radio/tv airplay.
    HOWEVER, i think more and more bands/artist are taking the indy thing further and further by selling more and more themselves, and I can sense the industry changing.

    We’ve been approached by several indy labels (some with important financial backing) who really want to bring back the “artist development” concept and want to work
    with bands as real partners instead of the corporate model that squeezes everything out of the artists. I really think that this is the future.

    And of course, all these labels see the iTMS as a key ingredient for success.

    Oh yeah and my band is http://www.simplfy.com

    MDNW: enough as in “Enough artists have gotten wise to start the revolution!”

  12. “That’s right, the record industry is ALREADY MAKING A BIGGER PROFIT PER SONG on iTunes that any other distribution method.”

    That might be true, but with cd’s and whole album sales they were making more money overall because people had to buy the whole cd for just a few popular songs.

    Artists can record for years and finally get a hit song, the Labels want to make as much money as possible for that hit song to cover the hundreds of other crappy songs a artist makes.

    In actuality though, because it’s so damm easy to preview/buy older and all the music a artist made using iTMS, it’s more exposure and sale potential which greatly makes up for the lost potential in popular music.

    I seriously think it would be a dumb move to change the model now, while P2P networks still rule the roost.

    But of course the RIAA is all about screwing themselves anyway.

    Hilary Rosen is a frigging idiot.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.