AOL exec claims ‘artists aren’t happy, publishers aren’t happy’ with Apple’s iTunes

“The largest share of last year’s $1.1 billion (euro900 million) in digital music sales — which increased threefold from 2004 as CD sales declined — came from online stores in general, and iTunes in particular,” Laurence Frost reports for The Associated Press. “Once hailed as the industry’s savior, Apple Computer Inc.’s market-leading download site is seen as part of the problem. ‘I’m hearing that the artists aren’t happy, the publishers aren’t happy. Someone other than Apple needs to be happy for this industry to grow,’ said Amit Shafrir, president of AOL’s premium services arm. AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., is launching a music site allowing Internet users to download all the tracks they want for a monthly fee. But subscription-based services accounted for just 8 percent of digital music sales last year.”

“Apple’s one-size-fits-all pricing — 99 U.S. cents per song in the United States — has set the industry benchmark far too low for the comfort of record companies, which have tried and failed to break the iTunes stranglehold,” Frost reports. “Music majors are pushing for variable pricing on iTunes, allowing them to charge more for sought-after new hits than for older tracks. But Apple boss Steve Jobs has dismissed their pleas, saying in September that the record companies were ‘getting a little greedy.’ Senior music executives credit Apple for halting the growth in global piracy — but often through gritted teeth. ‘For the time being we all must work with Apple and make the most of iTunes,’ said Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI Group PLC, the world’s No. 3 record company. ‘Single pricing is almost unique to the music industry,’ Nicoli added. ‘If you look at any other consumer category — including things like iPods — they sell at different prices.'”

Full article here.
Let’s see, according to another nondescript, failed-subscrption-model, future-Chapter-11-filer, and would-be Apple iTunes Music Store competitor, “Someone other than Apple needs to be happy for this industry to grow” and “the artists aren’t happy, the publishers aren’t happy.” Forgive us, please, if we don’t buy those lines, Dial-up Boy. AOL Keyword: “Bullshit.” Don’t bother sending us another fifty coasters in the mail before you go under, m’kay?

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Related articles:
Dvorak: record companies’ biggest concern about Apple’s iTunes is clear and accountable bookkeeping – September 29, 2005

Shakeout looms for bevy of Apple iTunes Music Store also-rans – January 23, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006
Report: Napster executives do the math, consider selling or shutting down, layoffs imminent – January 16, 2006
Do the math: Napster posts $13.6 million second-quarter loss – November 02, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 12, 2005
Napster: the only thing missing is the sock puppet – August 04, 2005
Napster, other Windows Media-based music services ‘chasing a niche opportunity’ – June 29, 2005
Napster To Go Soon? Reports $24.3 million net loss on $17.4 million net revenue – May 11, 2005
Napster is a joke – April 05, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004


  1. But subscription-based services accounted for just 8 percent of digital music sales last year.”

    And how is it exactly that a subscription service can be counted as sales of music. Isn’t it just renting?

  2. Apple was forced into providing an acceptable sceme for BOTH the record companies and artists which would generally be4 accepted by the puiblic.

    It ain’t Apple, it’s the __________


  3. Let’s count the money.

    Who gets most of the cash for sales on iTune?
    It isn’t Apple.

    This is just another attempt to get more money into the greedy hands of the music companies.

    Don’t shoot the (Apple) messenger.

  4. How Apple has not caught a businees variant STD from the record bidness is beyond me. Scum!

    The funny thing is, let them have their tiered pricing–then they will learn a thing or two about market elasticity.

    No, scratch that–they already (should have) learned about that when they were looted and pillaged the first time around. Scum! Again!!

    MDN Take: keep slappin’ ’em till they wake up. Well said! The universal language of business is The Big Lie these days…

  5. 0.99/song is not enough? Okay, fsck the entire music industry. An entire CD that has about 12 songs on it–a physical product, with much better sound quality, and all kinds of physical delivery issues–costs around $14. Now the industry wants to charge more per track for a single song that’s easier to deliver with a lower sound quality? Fsck them.

  6. I am shocked that no one has taken the initiative to provide a reasonable alternative to iTunes.

    Please, someone, anyone, do something now before another music mogul develops a case of terminal agitation.

  7. I really don’t think the idea of a subscription based model will work long term. I mean crap, who wants to rent their music…

    But I do have to agree with the music labels. There should be variable pricing on iTunes. If they price it too much, then it won’t sell. If they price it right, which I honestly think is where it is priced right now, it will sell. Are books all priced the same? Are CDs priced the same?

    And if they do eventually do variable pricing, can’t we all just boycott any single that’s over 99 cents and any album that’s over 9.99? I know I would. I’ll just buy music when it’s old and no one wants it anymore.

    And perhaps they are being greedy. We’ll know it when they price singles at $4.99 and albums at $18.99…

  8. “Single pricing is almost unique to the music industry,’ Nicoli added. ‘If you look at any other consumer category — including things like iPods — they sell at different prices.”

    What a f-cking LIAR!!!!!!!!!!

    Let’s see: Going to the movies? Same price. Watching T.V. shows? Same price. Subscribing to satellite radio? Same price.

    When there’s NO identical pricing? THEFT!!!! As in . . . DVD’s. CD’s. And on and on and on . . . . . . . . . .


  9. If “no one” is happy with iTunes, then how come the music industry keeps selling and the consumers keep buying?? Oh, maybe it’s the failed competitors who aren’t happy?? In a market economy, thank goodness we can say: tough sh*t!

  10. ” ‘If you look at any other consumer category — including things like iPods — they sell at different prices.'”

    Hey, your analogy doesn’t hold water. The different ipods get you different features, such as memory etc. —– Music songs of 3-5 minutes don’t.

    If you had to pay for iPods accorsing to how popular they are then your analogy would work.

    Try again!

  11. the artists are not happy b/c they take 4 cents per download, while the labels take most of the rest. Wait until these f’ng labels start competing for artists- or the artist bypasses the label altogether & lists at iTunes. . . Like anyone should really care that the labels are happy- squeals of little piggies in a dying industry. I’d be a bit somber too, if I were a label- watching their end of days approaching. . .The real thing that blows me away is the notion that labels think they can make money by subscription, and that widespread use of items like audio hijack wouldn’t explode, especially on college campuses. . .

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