Holdouts climb aboard Apple iTunes bandwagon, but some stragglers remain

“Bob Seger turned the page, and Metallica finally found justice for online fans. Now, only a few remaining big-name musical acts refuse to make their songs available on Apple Computer’s popular iTunes Music Store,” Brian Charlton reports for The Associated Press.

Charlton reports, “Analysts say the online holdouts – including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and Kid Rock – probably can’t avoid iTunes forever as fans flock to the Internet to buy music.”

“But the artists argue that online distribution leaves them with too small a profit. And they say iTunes wrecks the artistic integrity of an album by allowing songs to be purchased individually for 99 cents. Some bands, such as AC/DC have released albums on other, more flexible sites, but not iTunes,” Charlton reports. “‘We’ve always thought certain artists put out albums that aren’t meant to be compilations with 50 other artists,’ said Ed ‘Punch’ Andrews, manager for both Seger and Kid Rock. ‘We’re hoping at some point albums become important again like they were in the past 30 years.'”

Charlton reports, “Seger, the Michigan rocker who entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, is considering releasing his classic 1976 album Night Moves but wants it downloaded only as an album, Andrews said. ‘It’s amazing how many people go there,’ Andrews said of iTunes. “We’re hoping albums work there.” Andrews said he wasn’t sure if Apple eventually would allow the album to be kept intact.”

Full article here.
If we want your whole album, we will buy it that way. If you want to try to force us to buy your whole album in the name of “art,” then you are highly confused and, frankly, you can keep your album. The album, which for decades have been simply a way to force customers to buy filler in order to get one or a couple of good songs is DEAD, thanks to iTunes. You want us to buy your whole album? Then write an entire album consisting of good songs, for once. What we hope Steve Jobs says to the online holdouts desperately clinging to the outmoded album concept: When you figure out what “art” and “freedom” and “customer choice” really mean and when you decide to treat your fans as people capable of making intelligent choices all by themselves instead of treating them as a revenue stream, then you can put your songs on iTunes for sale individually. Until then, twist in the wind.

Related articles:
Apple’s iTunes Music Store will change the album concept; artists should embrace change – July 29, 2003
New York Times: iTunes Music Store ‘working against the survival of the album’ – July 19, 2003
Motley Fool writer calls Jobs a ‘smug punk’ and worries about demise of music in album form – May 14, 2003

41 Comments

  1. MDN: You rock! I read you all day, every day, and you hit it right on the head once again. BTW, who is Bob Seger and the heck is Metallica…never heard of ’em. Oh, I’m sorry…I WISH I’d never heard of them. “)

  2. As if I care!
    Most music I like is not on iTunes!

    btw: my mobile was stolen this weekend, so I bought a new K750i today with 1 GB memory. I wonder how apple will beat this one.

    Before attacking me for posting this: My wife and I have together 4 iPods and we have some 1000 albums. 2 of them come from iTunes.

  3. I agree with MDN….but the album from mr seger, night moves, is really very good….i have enjoyed every song on it….not to say others would too….but it is one of very few albums that i can listen to all the way through….

  4. I don’t have a problem with bands who say that their work was written as an album and should only be listened to in it’s entirety. BUT those artists must also refuse to allow any of the individual tracks on that album to ever be played in isolation on radio shows, or to appear in subsequent compilation albums.

    Anything less than that is pretentious twaddle.

  5. The days of listfully laying in bed listening to an entire albumn cover to cover are an artifact of a time when there were far fewer entertainment options available and artists who made it were actually artists, no digitally remastered playboy bunnies.

    Sorry, times have changed. There are several artists I will listen to an entire album of, but even my favorite artists get played via a custom playlist on my iPod rather then going to their album.

  6. The day these artists stop releasing singles for radio/mtv airplay is the day I will buy into their argument about the integrity of albums. When promoting the album they are fine with a single being taken out of context on the radio or via a music video but when it comes to sales they suddenly change their tune and expect us to want every track. BS.

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