“Some people find it hard to understand my man Jay-Z’s decision not to let iTunes break up his American Gangster album and sell it as single tracks. They say he’s fighting the future and losing out on sales from fans who only want to download singles. But I say it was a stand somebody had to take in the music industry. Jay is speaking for all of us,” Jermaine Dupri, president of Island Urban Records, blogs for The Huffington Post.
MacDailyNews Take: The album is an artificial construct developed by the music cartels to get more of your money for less effort. The album is – plain and simple – a bundling technique. Take some marketable material, add a greater percentage of filler, call it an “album,” pretend it’s “art,” and charge more than you could charge for just the worthwhile bits. While some small percentage of artists throughout the history of the album construct have taken the concept to an art form and more than few music customers have bought so fully into the marketing construct as to defend it passionately today, that does not change the fact that the “album” is a product bundle designed to collect more money for the good stuff by bundling it with a greater percentage of filler.
Originally, human beings did not sit around the fire singing “albums,” they sang songs. When the music industry began, they sold single songs, too. The “album” is a marketing tool that the music labels developed later. Is it “art” that an album is between 30-60 minutes? No, that length is based on nothing more than how much the recording mediums could hold at the time the artificial “album” construct began to be marketed.
In fact, Apple is offering to take into account money spent on singles for iTunes Store customers that later wish to purchase the “album” in which they were bundled, but the basic fact remains: iTunes Store’s ‘Complete My Album’ “service” is advertising masquerading as a feature designed to placate the music cartel’s abject horror that their “album” construct is disintegrating before their eyes. Disintegrating back to music’s natural form: the song; as it has been for hundreds of thousands of years before the marketeers began pushing the “album” construct. The music cartels’ know that you already bought the songs you liked and now, with Apple’s help, they want you buy the whole “album,” whether you really like or want the other songs or not – as usual. (Oh, how the music cartel misses the efficacy with which $15+ CDs containing one or two good songs bought them mansions, cars, and boats while keeping their noses well-powdered.)
Dupri continues, “More artists and producers are gonna take back control of how their art is sold because his strategy has paid off. Maybe Hova coulda sold another 100,000 to 200,000 units by playing it iTunes’ way, but he still had the number one album last week. He STILL sold 425,000 units. Even more, he’s proven you can still sell an album without those guys.
Dupri writes, “Jay made everyone realize that iTunes taking what we give them and doing what they want with it isn’t the way it has to be. He put the light on and made other people realize, ‘Oh these guys are just selling our music, they ain’t making it.’ If anything, WE made iTunes. It’s like how we spent $300,000 to $500,000 each on our videos and MTV and BET went ahead and built an entire video television industry off of our backs. We can’t let that happen again. These businesses exist solely because of our music. So if we as artists, producers and label executives stand up, those guys at Apple can either cooperate, or have nothing for people to buy and download on their iPods.”
Dupri writes, “Apple thinks that’s never gonna happen. They think that we as the record industry will never stick together. But Universal sells one out of every three records. All it’ll take is for Warner Music to say, ‘You know what, I’m with you,’ for us to shut ’em down. No more iPods! They won’t have nothin’ to play on their players! We can take back the power if we’re willing to sacrifice some sales to make our point.”
MacDailyNews Take: Is Mr. Dupri for real? Note: Under 3% of the music on the average iPod is purchased from the iTunes Store. The remaining 97% of the music can from ripped CDs (that people paid for already) and from, drumroll, please… piracy. BitTorrent, Mr. Dupri, BitTorrent. You take the music from iTunes Store now and we will simply take your music. And you’ll be singing for your supper on the sidewalk. That’s a tough fact, maybe, but a fact nonetheless. If Apple turned off the iTunes Store tomorrow, Apple would continue to sell millions upon millions of iPods. How soon theses music industry types forget that Apple sells their music for them and gives them actual royalties. Piracy offers no such luxury, Mr. Dupri. Remember that. Repeat it to yourself over and over. Remember also, that Apple saved what remains of your industry; without Apple, you’d have virtually nothing left by now. People who use iTunes Store PAY for their music, dumb ass.
Dupri continues, “Soulja Boy sold almost 4 million singles and only 300,000 albums! We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves. Back in the day when people were excited about a record coming out we’d put out a single to get the ball going and if we sold a lot of singles that was an indication we’d sell a lot of albums. But we’d cut the single off a few weeks before the album came out to get people to wait and let the excitement build. When I put out Kris Kross we did that. We sold two million singles, then we stopped. Eventually we sold eight million albums!”
MacDailyNews Take: See our first “Take” above.
Dupri asks, “Did consumers complain? Maybe so. But at what point does any business care when a consumer complains about the money? Why do people not care how we – the people who make music – eat? If they just want the single, they gotta get the album. That was how life was. Today we should at least have that option… Apple, why are you helping the consumer destroy our canvas? …Respect the craft!”
MacDailyNews Take: Mr. Dupri’s mouth, meet your foot. This is how they think, folks: We let the consumer have too much of what they want. Puleeze. That’s what you’re fscking supposed to do! A good business actually cares about consumer complaints, not ignores them, but the music cartels and the vermin that infest them lost sight of that little Business 101 nugget decades ago. The days of bundling 9 pounds of shit with every 1 pound of sugar and calling it “art” are over, no matter who whines and moans and cries. Dupri’s bleating is nothing more than the sound of a diseased industry dying. The long-out-of-control music industry will be reborn leaner, healthier, and better, with the truly talented making quality music for which people will gladly pay. Mr. Dupri, if you make a good album, we’ll buy it. If you don’t, we won’t. If you don’t sell singles, we will take them; or don’t you have enough proof of that, yet? This has nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with wrongheaded, “screw the customer” thinking. For far too long, they had us, now we have them. The consumer is rightfully in control now. Now that’s “art.”
Dupri continues whining and moaning in his full article here.