Jermaine Dupri: We made iTunes, not Apple; no more singles, buy albums or we’ll take them away!

“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.”

“You see Hova wasnt digital yet, before Steve Jobs made the iPod.” – Jay-Z, “The Prelude” from the artificial construct music bundle entitled “Kingdom Come

Dupri continues whining and moaning in his full article here.

199 Comments

  1. My family buys “albums” ONLY from artists (?) we really and truly LOVE. That means two, maybe three, such purchases a year. The rest of our iPod collection comes from CD purchase in the past ($16 for one song), Limewire, and BitTorrent liberations.

    If this Dupri guy thinks he can outthink or out-obtain the great hords of the WWW, he is sadly, so very sadly mistaken. There will always be someone right behind him with more talent and moxie who IS willing to give the consumer what he wants.

    What a dolt.

  2. I buy albums for songs, and sometimes not even all the songs on the album. There might be 3 out of 10 that I like. So, before iTunes, I got stuck with 7 songs I never listened to. Now, I can get the 3 I like and never have to listen, nor buy, the 7 I don’t like nor would ever listen to.

    Of course, Rap “music” is not in my iTunes collection at all…….cuz it ain’t music bro.

  3. It is totally their choice if they want to sell it as album.

    But, then, don’t force me to buy it. I have some good friends from whom I can rip the song. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> I reciprocate the same favor to them well.

    So, chill out JZ.

  4. “We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves.”

    Oh my. That’s right, don’t ever give the consumer what he wants. I just love the logic in that. May he be blessed with a quick circling followed by a fast trip down the pipe. He certainly will never see any of my money again.

  5. “We let the consumer have too much of what they want”

    This guy should be punched in the mouth for uttering these words.

    Translations: In the future you are going to take what we give you and like it or have nothing.

  6. MDN’s take on albums as a bundling technique is ludicrous and close-minded.
    For any musician who makes music worth listening to, the album really is one piece of work. People who put out albums that are one or two singles surrounded by a filler are the only “artificial constructs” in the music industry.

  7. And to think: I was actually a fan of Jermaine Dupri’s work over the years…until this Bullsh*t article. I’m in the music business, and sadly, the attitude displayed by Dupri is how most of the really successful artist / producers in the business think.

  8. You know what, the consumers make the artist.. the artist is NOTHING without the fans.

    If we don’t buy your music, if we don’t listen to your music, you are NOTHING.

    If you think you are making such good music, we will also sacrifice some of our listening (to your songs?) to prove our point that you are a worthless piece of shit if you don’t get your act together.

    Don’t underestimate consumers!

  9. This argument has been going on for years!! nothing new. to put it simple. Consumers have the advantage in buying only the 1/10 of the album that is good. If anything this should CHALLENGE the music industry to actually put out QUALITY music. There are only a handful of artist that do that regulary. they won’t put out something unless it has a “hook” “catchy chorus”. we’ve had too many years of SH*T shoved in front us to want to buy a full album with more sh*t on it. So screw dupri his music wasn’t that good anyway, he had to have collaborations to make his stuff decent. as far as JayZ goes.like the guy needs to sell singles anymore he’s banked in already. and souljah boy sucks anyway.

  10. A sale is a sale and you make money. No sale, no money. It’s basic capitalism. Or are these guys now graduating to just plain old “greed”?

    His music is not my taste anyway, give me Ohio Players, EWF or George Duke… Now that’s what I call music.

  11. Nothing better than listen to a bunch of whiny, spoiled millionaire bitches whine about a few pennies. This clown has clearly forgot who pays for his bling, his bentley, and his booze.

    Bottom line, Dupri… if you want people to buy your ALBUM than make an ALBUM full of songs that are worth owning.

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