Former Pink Floyd manager slams Apple’s iTunes Store for ‘debundling the album’

“One time manager of Pink Floyd, Sincere Management’s Pete Jenner slammed iTunes for its effect on album sales at a UK music industry event this week,” Jonny Evans reports for Distorted-Loop.

“Speaking at a MusicTank conference, he said Apple’s music store has ‘had the disastrous effect on the record industry of debundling the album.’ He complained cherry-picking tracks from albums means consumers now ‘buy the two album tracks that are worth buying,’ Music Week informs,” Evans reports.

Full article here.

Consumers now have the ability to buy only the music that’s “worth buying.”

Imagine that.

As we’ve previously explained multiple times, Pete Jenner confirms that the album is an artificial construct or “bundle” designed to force consumers to pay more for the bits they want. Welcome to the new paradigm, Pete; however many years late you may be. The customer — long ripped-off by the music cartels — is firmly in power now. Choice now reigns supreme.

Ironically, Pink Floyd is one of the examples of bands whose music is often worth buying in the album form and playing in the order laid out by the artist. But, that is neither here nor there. The point is that the choice should be in the hands of the consumers and now, thanks to Apple, it is.

So, buy albums when you deem them worthy, but be thankful that you have the choice to debundle as you like; it’ll only make music better in the long run as “filler” will cease to be created.

81 Comments

  1. I’ve also bought many many songs that I would have passed on if I had to pay for the full album.

    On another note, I’m also passing on music that have DRM on the Apple Store. If I have to look somewhere else, the impulse passes. It’s amazing how much I don’t miss those tracks and how much money I save after I let the “impulse to buy” pass.

  2. Whenever I hear someone chirp the phrases, “It’s too expensive.” or “It’s not worth it.” I *almost always* ask myself one question:

    “Worth it to whom?”

    That always changes the dynamic of the discussion and clarifies what it *really* being said.

    To some people it will be and to some it won’t.

    Although I’d hardly put Pink Floyd in the same catagory as the Mona Lisa, I suppose that there are some (*sigh*) people that would and therein lies the crux or their argument: to them it *is* worth getting the whole (unadulterated) album because of their perception of it as ‘art’.

    I, along with MDN and many other people, simply don’t want to be FORCED to do so. To *me* it might not be worth having the full album regardless of someone else’s personal opinion. The road to compulsion leads to fascism.

    Leave people alone and let them choose.

  3. I always buy and play albums only even in digital or download formats which I now prefer over CDs or any physical media.

    I also disagree that the “consumer deserves some credit” (for picking what they like). Consumers are people and most people are dumb-ass “waste of space’s” IMO who wouldn’t know Art if they got hit over the head by it.

    All that being said, The Pink Floyd guy is totally wrong and pretty dumb his-self.

    @ Gil – I remember buying the 45 RPM single of “Money” myself in the 70’s, which is all the proof you need to show how stupid this whole album vs. single argument is. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Actually, I think I understand his point. While there are many albums that are not worth more than 2 songs, I believe that there is real injustice served to bands like Pink Floyd who make concept albums. King Crimson also comes to mind, along with many classical albums.

    I think that the iTunes model is not really set up to please everyone and we should accept that there are some exceptions to the rule. Pink Floyd is a concept-album band whose music really should be bought in its entirety to really appreciate it.

    One thing that Mr. Jenner could do to even the playing field is do what Prince did with his concept album, Lovesexy. Make the whole thing one long playing track that can only be purchased as a whole. Not consumer friendly, but gets the point across.

    rick

  5. Most albums have 10 to 12 songs and are being sold for 9.99. And a album with more then 5 good songs is very very seldom so in most cases for the consumer is better to buy only these songs he really likes.
    Make the album 4.99 or 5.99 and you will sell a lot of albums and generate more revenue then with one hit song.

  6. OK, if albums are only to be enjoyed in their entirety, then why does almost every radio station on the planet play songs piecemeal from albums? Why has no musician or artist complained before about the travesty of listening to only one song from an album on the radio and refused to let their songs be played that way? Because they would get no air time and no one would buy their music.

    I agree that some albums are very well crafted to sound great as a whole, but this argument is all about money. These people are all about forcing people to buy 10 song to get the one song they want.

  7. Addendum:

    Actually, I thought Mr. Jenner’s point would have been better served in the real criticism that I have about iTunes. Musical fidelity! Bands such as Pink Floyd and others really experimented with quadraphonic sounds and interesting setups. Musical separation is lost in iTunes. The songs are super compressed and lack any fidelity whatsoever. Even at 256, the quality is lacking.

    Obviously I think that there should be some type of .aiff or lossless downloads in order to preserve quality (flac maybe?). For bands such as Pink Floyd, it is the major reason why I would only buy them on CD. Now if Mr. Jenner mentioned that point, I would agree wholeheartedly.

    /rick

  8. @M
    MDN stated that Pink Floyd was an exception, so you’re criticism of the “take” is misplaced. It should go without saying that there are alway exceptions to any rule. That doesn’t make the general rule wrong. In this case, the general rule that albums are simply a collection of discreet musical concoctions, rarely thematic or otherwise related, holds true for the vast majority of albums. In addition, the record companies systematically killed off all past methods of obtaining single songs, forcing consumers into paying higher prices for albums that they would not have been required to do in previous record eras. In the roughly ten years prior to the advent of iTunes people had two choices: pay $12-$18 for a disc to obtain the one song really wanted, or go the illegal root of piracy. The explosion of online “sharing”, making otherwise honest people criminals, is evidence that the record companies’ policies were wrong and counterproductive. Before the advent of the CD the music industry had always provided a method for consumers to buy singles (or A/B side 45’s). Somehow they were able to flourish in the ninety years of doing business this way. They had a decade of an unsustainable business model and got spoiled during that time. The record companies need to go back to being value driven businesses like everyone else instead of the “get rich quick” concerns that they morphed into during the ’90s.

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