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Artists Protesting Single-Song Downloads 811

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-artists dept.
prostoalex writes "The 99 cent downloads are stirring some discussion in the music community. Linkin Park, Radiohead, Madonna, Jewel and Green Day are protesting music stores' policy of single-song downloads and introduce some stipulations, requiring their work to be sold as albums. "The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past," says attorney Fred Goldring, whose firm represents Will Smith and Alanis Morissette."
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Artists Protesting Single-Song Downloads

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  • fools (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Neophytus (642863) * on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:23AM (#6266544)
    Artist representatives say a singles-oriented model means a significant hit to the bottom line. Instead of divvying the spoils of a $12-$18 CD sale, labels, artists and songwriters are vying for nickels and dimes from 99 cent downloads.
    As the article earlier today [slashdot.org] demonstrated, artists do not get a good share of the 'spoils' from a $12 CD, and they are very naieve if they think their current contracts are giving them a good deal. 12%, albiet in the form of 12 cents, is a step up from the status quo.
    • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bedouin X (254404) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:30AM (#6266571) Homepage
      Definitely, that's probably a hell of a lot more than they made off of the industry despised $.99 cassette singles back in the day. If anything, it would seem like this could potentially make them (larger artists) more money. Since most of popular artists still sell millions regardless of totally free P2P and the economy, it would seem as if this would be nothing but gravy on top of what they normally make. Truthfully all than anyone can do on this right now is speculate until the numbers stablize.

      Concept albums seem to be pretty rare these days so as many others have said, it's hard to think of this as anything other than "We want you to pay for the bullshit too!"
      • How much does Boobney or N*STINK get out of one of those compilation CDs with the songs that the Top 40 stations have played to death for the previous 6 months? My guess is 'damned little'. The record companies participate in those for the same reason they have always sold singles:

        The single is an ad for the album.

        I'd bet that only the top 1% selling artists have the clout to get a provision in their contracts forbidding the sale of one song without the rest of the album to protect the 'integrity of t

      • Re:fools (Score:5, Funny)

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @01:07PM (#6267703) Homepage Journal
        Madonna

        "Art"

        smirk...

    • Well???? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:37AM (#6266607)
      Ok I am going to say that artists actually get half decent deals.

      First getting 12 cents on the dollar is not bad when you consider the going rate for book authors. Authors traditionally get anywhere 5% to 20% from what the publishers get, which is traditionally 40% to 60% of the retail price. And guess what happens to royalities to foreign countries and book clubs... You guessed it, DOWN THE TUBES.

      In other words artists get about 20% to 30% royalities. So if you do not mind, I am going to cry some crodile tears right now!
      • by skribble (98873) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @01:15PM (#6267735) Homepage

        $0.12 per $1 isn't bad (in fact it's quite good). That said I don't think you really know what you are talking about. First I'm quite sure that just like book publishing, Musicians royalties are based off the price the price which the publisher sells the product, not retail. (And these prices are crazy, some sales channels pay more per unit then others... etc.)

        From a book publishing POV (which I have quite a bit of experience), a large percentage of books published *loose money*! Most authors never earn out their advances, and often publishers don't recoup thier editorial and printing expenses. The publisher only makes money off of a very few best sellers. This of course has the effect of the few best selling authors occasionally making a fuss about how they get ripped off by the publishers.

        Now the average author, often complains that they didn't make much money for the work involved (which is unfortunately often the case), 9/10 times here the authors still make more money then the publisher (infact they are usually the only one's who make any money). This is how the business works. There's no telling what will sell and for what reason, there are literally millions of great authors and great books that never ever sell. Why? Well if can figure that one out ahead of time then there's a future for you in publishing! If you are Steven King you can get 40% Royalties and Millions of dollars in advances, because a publihser can be pretty sure to make something off of it, everyone else needs to play the game, otherwise nobody *could* play the game.

        That aside... there is one really hugh difference traditionally between Books and Music. With book publishing the author usually walks away with all of thier royalties (if they earn them out to begin with) minus a small reserve against returns (which ultimately the author gets back, if they remember to ask for it!). Any book marketing and publicity done by the publisher is paid for by the publisher. Most editorial and printing costs are paid for by the publishier too. In music almost everything is charged back against the royalties, and the marketing dollars that music publishers spend with artists money for "promotion" is crazy high, and in most cases eats up royalties and makes it impossible for the artists to get any.

        BTW I don't feel sorry Artists, they should know what they are getting in to before the do it. They get to live doing what they love, and while they might all live like superstars the quality musicians get bye. Most of the big complainers are lucky to be where they are (Cortney Love, please!)

        Of course the issue above isn't about any of that, it's about the musicians wanting to have a say in how thier art is conveyed. I think they should, the money thing aside, at the end of the day they created something, and they should have some say in how it's used. If they feel thier music should only be played as an album... well, whatever, they have that right (of course then turning around and releasing a bunch of singles and videos doesn't do much for there "artistic credibility", but oh well, hypocrisy or ignorance isn't a crime (though maybe it should be))

        • Not much to say, except that I basically agree with you...

          I write as well and finally I found a publisher I like....

          I was annoyed by the musicians whining constantly about this, that or the other thing. They should live the life of a writer sometime and see how it is! Poor mostly!

          • And what, you think musicians live lavish lifestyles with women and booze and drugs? Think again, man. You might want to play the role of poor starving artist, but you need to know that 99% of the musicians you speak of are dirt poor. Only a very, VERY small percentage are able to avoid day jobs. Most of them are so damn poor that they work in photomats and coffee shops to make rent. I have yet to meet a real musician that didn't have to sacrifice nearly everything to pursue that dream.

            And you know, e
    • Re:fools (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:00AM (#6266730)
      They may be receiving more in terms of per track sales; however, I think the real problem here is if every Joe Downloader will find tracks 2,3,6, and 8 "good" on the album and disregard the rest. They'll have spent only $4 then for music and even at a greater per track revenue, they could be losing money on an album. Some could argue, "Then just make a great album so we'll want to buy all the tracks!" but what's "great" is so relative and single track downloads almost creates a pop-only market. If the song isn't a "hit," no one wants it. And the perpetuation of the pop market is a horrible one for quality music. F*#$'n American Idol! It also hurts the artist since the return of sales is how an artist pays for all the money the label hemorrhaged to make the artist "market viable" (e.g. spending $20k for a stupid website).

      Single track downloads should be free for singles (with some compensation for the infrastructure costs -- joining a mail list, filling out a product form, watching a Pepsi Flash commercial, etc.) and you should be able to purchase albums-only as payable downloads in my opinion. The musicians have a right to be afraid of this, I think.
      • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KDan (90353) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:27AM (#6266859) Homepage
        The thing is, most artists who should be afraid of singles downloads are the bad ones, who have only 2-3 decent tracks on an album. I'm surprised to see Radiohead opposed to this, as their albums are always really good both as a whole and track-per-track, and each album has such a definite feel to it that you can't go by just buying one single, you need the album. So they're pretty safe, imho. For the likes of Britney Spears or such, though... be afraid, be very afraid >:-)

        Daniel
        • by Likes Microsoft (662147) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:59AM (#6267387) Homepage
          I'm one of the old school suckers. I'm certainly capable of using online to purchase tracks, and then burning to a CD for listening in my car. I love albums, though. I just bought the new Radiohead album without even sampling one track, because I know I love their albums.

          I'm not sure what my point was...oh yeah: Maybe, just maybe, it's about the integrity of their artwork, and not about the cut they're getting.

        • Re:fools (Score:5, Interesting)

          by brianvan (42539) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @12:09PM (#6267427)
          No, it's not Britney Spears who needs to be afraid, it is indeed Radiohead.

          Britney is (well, more appropriately, WAS) a massive marketing/publicity generating celebrity, who makes money off of being famous. Britney's music has almost nothing to do with artistry as far as music goes... she's a performer and she makes money off of performing. Her songs were not composed by her with a pad and paper and guitar in her bedroom, they were written by a hot songwriter, produced by a hot producer, music performed by experienced studio musicians, and sung by a hot recording artist / celebrity image. It's all MARKETING. Music for the people. There is some traces of artistry there on individual levels, but generally the whole thing is for making money and it's music by committee. Don't forget, the record execs have their meeting where they decide whether the album is good enough to release and if not, they send you back to the studio.

          The point? For Britney, success is money and publicity. 99 cent singles contribute to this and don't detract from any secondary goals. Why would they sell singles for all these years if they hurt the companies and these kind of artists, their biggest money makers?

          Now, Radiohead, on the other hand...

          Radiohead is the type of band that makes an album, writes songs for the sake of writing music and expressing feelings. For a band like Radiohead, the album is a unit of expression. Radio airplay and singles don't really mean much... they're nice for promotion, but they don't mean as much on their own as does the whole album. Also, since Radiohead doesn't compose individual songs for the sake of promotion and celebrity, they won't make too much money going that route.

          It's not entirely black and white like that - yea, Radiohead might write a song that might be radio friendly, and Britney might write a song on her own about some terrible thing she felt that will never make it to radio... but the point is, Radiohead wants to sell their albums as units of works of art. They don't mind singles as long as the albums are for sale. And Britney doesn't care about albums, because if she didn't have to sing 9 "other" songs on a 12 song album, she'd rather not.

          Enter the possibility that the record companies may no longer wish to sell albums because 99 cent singles are making all the money. This is plausible for no other reason other than if 99 cent electronic singles are a huge hit, as we have been trying to get them to do that for SIX YEARS now, then they would obviously pour all their resources into that, albums be damned. Radiohead is then phased out and Britney is completely in. (or the next Britney, anyway)
        • by mekkab (133181) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @01:51PM (#6267916) Homepage Journal
          I'm sorry, I love radiohead as much as the next guy, but I remixed my own Kid A and Amnesiac album. I found KID A to be laden with fluff.

          Once you combine the best of one with the best of the other, you get the album that I would want to buy. If they can't understand that, then I can't be bothered spending money on "Hail to the theif"- due to "artistic difference between me and the band."
      • Re:fools (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Graff (532189)

        I think the real problem here is if every Joe Downloader will find tracks 2,3,6, and 8 "good" on the album and disregard the rest. They'll have spent only $4 then for music and even at a greater per track revenue, they could be losing money on an album.

        True but this doesn't count the fact that even though you may lose sales on the album itself you probably would not have gotten those sales in the first place! Those people who are just buying a track or two were probably not going to buy the entire album

    • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TedCheshireAcad (311748) <ted@fc.AAArit.edu minus threevowels> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:22AM (#6266843) Homepage
      Maybe if artists wrote better music, they would sell more songs.

      hmmm....
    • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cait56 (677299) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:49AM (#6267008) Homepage

      It may be foolish, but it's their music.

      Digital distribution has the potential to eliminate most of the middlemen, allowing artists to efficiently distribute thier work directly to the audience.

      But there is no reason to believe that doing so will make artists more responsive to the market. It will probably enable them to pursue their own artistic visions more.

      Which will predicatably result in more artists:

      • creating works that are not blandly dictated by marketing types, and therefore hopefully more intesting.
      • firmly believing that their entire album is worth listenting to.

      Eventually artists will realize that the album was never a true cohesive work (with a few exceptions where it had been truly worked on). It was always more of an arbitrary size for delivery.

      In this transitional period artists are left with the worst of both worlds. They still have to delay release and/or push out a song that wasn't quite ready in order to have "an album", but suddenly they risk their fans not hearing all the tracks the artist really wanted them to hear.

      Well, it's transitional, and the latter problem was already created by radio.

      In the meantime, remember that an artists control over their own material is one monopoly that most everyone should be wiling to support. Done right the shift to digital distribution should be about increasing their control, not about ending it.

      • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

        by letxa2000 (215841) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:43AM (#6267310)
        It may be foolish, but it's their music.

        Yes, but we're the consumers. Oil companies might want to sell us each a tanker truck of fuel at a time but the consumer is only interested in buying one tank of gas at a time.

        It doesn't really matter what the artist wants. If the consumer is in the market for single tracks, single tracks are what are going to be offered.

        • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cait56 (677299) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @12:22PM (#6267520) Homepage

          If an Oil company tries to sell you a tanker truck at a time, you'll cross the street and buy a few gallons from the other oil company.

          Oil companies trying to sell you a tanker truck at a time would only be a problem if they colluded, and refused to compete.

          There are sufficiently few oil companies that this can be a concern, and historically has been on other issues.

          The thought of musicians colluding successfully to deny their music to consumers is just so far fetched as to be laughable. If they were capable of doing so they wouldn't have needed digital distribution to fire the distributors in the first place.

          If a writer wants to produce novels, nobody demands that he sells it a chapter at a time. If a musician thinks of an album as a complete work, they should be allowed to sell it that way. The real issue is when the marketing channel determines how works can be presented. For example, it makes it hard for writers to sell short stories.

          Marketing forces may indeed make it hard for musicians to sell "opus length" compositions that contain multiple songs. But it's still their decision.

    • Re:fools (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MsGeek (162936) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:28AM (#6267217) Homepage Journal
      I posted something addressing both issues in the same article...here's the link [slashdot.org]. Basically the executive summary is that the album is not being killed by iTunes. The practice of putting one or two good songs on a CD's worth of filler has killed the concept of the album way deader than Steve Jobs could ever manage.
    • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:31AM (#6267241)
      Nobody wants to pay $20 for one good song, and 10 or 11 fillers. That is a big reason a growing number of us Don't buy CDs. [dontbuycds.org] Besides, popular music is not art, it is just a business. Classical music was art. These "artists" need to understand that the fans are their customers. If we only want one or two songs, sell us one or two songs, or we may not by any of your music at all. There is an old saying that the customer is always right. The popular music racket is one of many that seem to have forgotten this.
      • Re:fools (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bwcbwc (601780) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @02:19PM (#6268033)
        Actually, classical music, in its native time period, was business as well. Most composers (Mozart, Haydn, etc.) were writing their works on commission as spec'ed by a wealthy patron. The composers and musicians whose works have survived to the present had the business power of Madonna, Elvis and the Beatles to dictate more of their endeavors. The composers we rarely heard of were often the Britney Spears of their day, writing music that was fashionable for one season and making as much money as they could during their 15 minutes of fame.

        The main thing that's changed from those days is the democratization of the consumer base (you don't have to hire your own chamber orchestra to get good music), and the increased power of the middle-men.

      • Surely, most classical music handed down to us is High Art, but you don't appear to have read much about the lives of classical composers... Mozart and Vivaldi, for example, spent their lives composing for other people, and their livelihoods (as with many others) hinged on their music's popularity. As great as they may have been, they ended up buried in the same poor people's cemetery in Austria, without even a marked grave, because the tides of popular appreciation ahd turned, and noone would subsidize the
      • Re:fools (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        "There is an old saying that the customer is always right. The popular music racket is one of many that seem to have forgotten this."

        It's not just the Labels that have forgotten...its everybody. The reason why is because the 'customer' has become the 'consumer' in many cases, and in their eyes, the 'consumer' isn't always right, they are just someone who is slowing down the process of other 'consumers' throwing their money at the company and are replaceable.

        The companies that will ultimately succeed in th

  • Typical...... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bishopi (662205) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:25AM (#6266546)
    Note that it's the usual "big" artists, who routinely ship out crap CDs with 2 decent songs, 10 fillers, and a greatest hits album every 18 months.

    These people make me want to PUKE.

    Ian

    • Re:Typical...... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thrakkerzog (7580) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:32AM (#6266581)
      I wouldn't call Radiohead a "big crap artist".

      They have some of the most loyal fans out there. If Hail to the Thief had been on the iTunes Music Store, I would have bought it there. It's not, so I ended up going to best buy to pick it up.

      • Re:Typical...... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <{kcocknozzle} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:32AM (#6266904) Homepage
        "The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past," says attorney Fred Goldring, whose firm represents Will Smith and Alanis Morissette.

        Radiohead may not be the problem, but the two "artists" whose rep was quoted in the header--Alanis Morissette and Will Smith--definitely are. Both represent the epitome of "manufactured" music...

        The truth is, for real "artists" in the world (like Radiohead) having their album offerred one track at a time isn't a real problem because their real fans will still spring for the whole pre-packaged disc (or at least buy all 10-15 tracks on the iTunes store.)

        The only people whose sales will diminish now that consumers have the choice of not buying the cruddy "filler" tracks are the manufactured stars we see today like Brittney Spears, Will Smith, and Alanis Morissette. Radiohead is just afraid of change... Their records will never be part of the "filler songs" problem. If anything they prove just the opposite: That the real fans (ie. you) will make your best effort to buy the whole thing in the most convenient form, and failing that, will still buy the CD at a retail location.
      • Re:Typical...... (Score:3, Informative)

        by adamfranco (600246)
        Of the bands listed in the article, Radiohead is the only one who consistantly puts out albums as a "coherent work of art". All of their albums (at least since the Bends in 1995) have had a very definate theme that pervades all of the tracks on each album. Sort of equivallent to a symphony: most people only any one movement to any of Beathoven's symphonies, but whole symphony is really nessisary to apreciate the work.

        Now I'm not saying that I should be prevented from downloading just one Radiohead song, -
    • Re:Typical...... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macrom (537566) <macrom75@hotmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:37AM (#6266606) Homepage
      Bingo. If an artist puts out an album full of quality songs, then they don't have to worry about people only downloading a song or two from their latest release.

      On another note : singles have been available for...well, probably for the duration of the recording industry. They just weren't $.99 unless you found them on sale. Now that you can get them on the cheap, big rich rock stars don't like that.

      Now, for Linkin Park, these guys have no room to bitch. They got noticed by UPLOADING SONGS IN DIGITAL FORMAT and posting on other bands' web forums asking their fans to try out their music. And now their bitching about the same-style format that got them where they are today. What a whiny bunch of prats.

      One last thing for these artists : radio stations. They don't play your whole fucking album once an hour; why should I be forced to buy your whole album just because I hear the one song I like? Guys, keep biting the hand that feeds you because I already reach into my wallet less and less these days to buy music, especially from people who dictate to their customers how they should buy and listen to what they pay for.
      • Re:Typical...... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by manly_15 (447559)

        Now, for Linkin Park, these guys have no room to bitch. They got noticed by UPLOADING SONGS IN DIGITAL FORMAT and posting on other bands' web forums asking their fans to try out their music. And now their bitching about the same-style format that got them where they are today. What a whiny bunch of prats.

        I'll admit it - I actually bought the special edition cd/dvd version of Linkin Park's latest CD, Meteora. If you watch the interviews, or just look at the design of the packaging, you will realize that LP t

      • Re:Typical...... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sql*kitten (1359) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @12:24PM (#6267537)
        Now, for Linkin Park, these guys have no room to bitch. They got noticed by UPLOADING SONGS IN DIGITAL FORMAT and posting on other bands' web forums asking their fans to try out their music. And now their bitching about the same-style format that got them where they are today. What a whiny bunch of prats.

        Nothing new under the sun, my friend. How do you think Metallica built a cult following back in the day? Through the bootleg scene... they positively encouraged fans to tape live shows and trade the tapes. Hell, I was there.

        Now Metallica are coasting along on past glories... from the Black Album onwards, everything they've done has been complete rubbish. James Hetfield tells the old-skool fans to fuck off, and Lars Ulrich, that petulant little runt, whines that bootleggers are stealing the bread from his mouth. That's what he does, he doesn't complain or rant, or even bitch, he just whines.

        On principle, I'm gonna download me some Metallica. I won't listen to it, but I'll just keep it there on my HD, so I can smirk whenever I read them and their whining every time this topic comes up. Figure I'll do my best to get copies to anyone who wants 'em, if anyone does.
  • by danny256 (560954) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:26AM (#6266552)
    they'll just get them off kazaa. Maybe the artists should focus less on forcing people to buy their entire album and more on producing albums that people want to buy.
  • This is complete BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by coolmacdude (640605) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:27AM (#6266556) Homepage Journal
    Apple already reported that over half the songs sold so far on the iTMS were in album format. Aside from that, these people are missing the whole point of this service. That is the ability to preview which songs you like on an album and choose which ones to buy. If there is a CD that has one or two good songs and the rest are crap, do you think I'm going to spend $17 for two songs? No! But with the iTMS, the record labels make 1 or 2 dollars. If they go back to album only, they will make $0 from me.
  • Work of Art (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uber Banker (655221) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:28AM (#6266560)
    Sometimes I could agree with that, in which case surely fans would buy that 'art' complete.

    But how, in any way, are Madonna's songs more than some stucatto 3 minute pop tunes - do they combine in the album to create art greater than their constituant parts?

    Or perhaps some discount could be given for downloadinging the songs seperately if there was a lack of demand. An artist loves the art - so making money from the catchy song and giving away the 'filler' that may complete their albumtastic circle is perfectly acceptable.

    • The only album that jumps straight to my mind as a work of art that is not complete unless it's whole is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Each song flows into the next creating an essentially unbreakable hour-long song. None of these artists do anything remotely close to that and I can't agree that these albums they talk of are a singular work of art. Mostly they are poorly arranged collections of small works of art (such as a private home gallery).
      • There are some others - Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime", ELO's "Time", and Styx's "Mr. Roboto" spring to mind, and there are others as well (perhaps Sting's "Ten Summoner's Tales") that while not directly linked, are thematically linked in some fashion or another, such that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

        Nonetheless, it is certainly true that the average album is a collection of songs, rather than a coherent whole - while there may be planning and thought that goes into designing the al
      • Here's a few others, all very recent albums.

        Mr. Lif's I Phantom [allmusic.com] and Prince Paul's Prince Among Thieves [allmusic.com] : Both concept albums (the latter being an opera), which can be sampled as single songs, but can't be enjoyed as a full album. I Phantom has recurring characters and storylines throughout and the final two songs are about the apocalypse which ultimately destroys everyone that was described earlier in the album.

        Beck's Sea Change [allmusic.com] is Beck's break-up album, and the album moves through different views

    • Re:Work of Art (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GoofyBoy (44399) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:00AM (#6266728) Journal

      Why not just make the songs available in one big non-dividable format?

      On one hand, they are ok with radio/videos broadcasting single songs (over and over and over again). On the other hand they want their music heard combined as a single piece of art.

      On one hand they will sell cd/tape/tiny 6 inch plastic records of singles. On the other hand they have a problem selling the same song in a electronic format.

      On one hand they will mix and match songs from multiple albums when they play in a live concert. On the other hand they act like the album must be heard in one sitting.
    • Re:Work of Art (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kardar (636122) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:15AM (#6266804)
      As a musician, I have always felt that it's not even the whole song that leaves the impression on the listener. Certainly any musician wishes to leave some sort of impression on the listener, maybe impart a certain message to the listener. Really, all it takes is one vibe. You can have many cool vibes in one song, typical song being 5 minutes (pop music).

      Those vibes add up in the forms of choruses, verses, and catchy melodies. You could call it a "hit" if you want, but that's not every musician's goal. It's not as simple as having a nice album to put on your wall. I don't think that's it.

      It shouldn't matter if the listener hears the song on the radio, or from a passing car, or in some other temporary, incomplete setting. One vibe, one chorus, one chord, one sound should be enough to get the message across.

      I find it hard to believe that any artist would find that it takes an entire album for a listener to derive something positive and beneficial, or just cool and funky, or upbeat and exciting, or slow and introspective. It should only take 5 seconds of music from a passing car to share a good vibe through music.

      I am not sure that insisting that people buy the whole album is all it's cracked up to be. It's probably best to make sure that anyone who wants the album can buy it just as easily as they can the single (i.e. have a link next to the single that says "buy album" or something similar).

      The thought that music that you make will be heard by millions of people around the world should be enough to realize that one song is all that you really need to take that first step on the path towards expressing yourself. Certainly, people buying your work hardly qualifies as something that stands in your way!

      I would rather have millions and millions of people listen to part of one song than hundreds of thousands of people listen to a whole album. Better yet, there shouldn't be any reason to not have both, unless you are just in it for the money, or the fame, or the luxuries, etc...

      It's an imperfect world - as an artist, I prefer to concentrate on the good parts - knowing that music you create is going to be heard by lots and lots of people you will probably never meet is REALLY COOL - it's better to step back and just let it happen (in my opinion). The minute you get eccentric and strange you lose a certain connection, and the music becomes less meaningful than it has the potential to be.
      • Re:Work of Art (Score:3, Insightful)

        by faaaz (582035)
        "It should only take 5 seconds of music from a passing car to share a good vibe through music."

        That's like saying a good book should be instantly appreciated after reading only one sentence.

        Don't ge me wrong, some songs work like this and others don't. I tend to enjoy the others. People are different.

        An example is a long trance track, I tend to enjoy those that build to a climax, or breakpoint. Those can't be appreciated in portions. Comparable to thematic classical pieces by Vivaldi.

        And I wouldn't dare
      • by thedbp (443047) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @12:29PM (#6267557)


        I kinda sorta see what you're saying. But I really do have to take issue with some of this prattle.

        all it takes is one vibe. Those vibes add up in the forms of choruses, verses, and catchy melodies.

        Right away, I have to disagree, not just because Radiohead is up there, but because there are countless artists who don't give a lick for verse-chorus-verse structure with danceable melodies. some have even gotten very famous. Now this does apply Madonna, Linkin Park, and about 90% of the other "musicians" that flood our ears and eyes every goddamned day of our lives, but witness Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Igor Stravinsky, Sun Ra, Milk Cult, and many many others that create music that both challenges and excites for reasons other than making one want to shake one's booty.

        It shouldn't matter if the listener hears the song on the radio, or from a passing car, or in some other temporary, incomplete setting. One vibe, one chorus, one chord, one sound should be enough to get the message across.

        I pulled this quote out because I think if it stands on its own it reveals its own ridiculousness. If i can tell everything about a song from one vibe, one chord, etc., that's not the kind of song I want to waste precious time of my life listening to, examining, possibly remembering.

        I find it hard to believe that any artist would find that it takes an entire album for a listener to derive something positive and beneficial, or just cool and funky, or upbeat and exciting, or slow and introspective. It should only take 5 seconds of music from a passing car to share a good vibe through music.

        If that car has a boomin system and you're not already listening to something yourself. Its not about making your audience dance, ok? I mean, sure, maybe you just want people to get up and have a good time, and that's great entertainment, but not all musicians are simply entertainers. a lot of music is meant to recreate moods and feelings, and express in sound emotion and experience in ways unheard of. Example, "Violence ^5" on Mike Patton's "Adult Themes for Voice."

        Many times these structured, honed sound waves are parts of a larger composition. Like sections in a Beethoven symphony, each track is a part of a larger whole that is meant to be taken in as that whole. Frank Zappa's Civilization Phase III is a good example of that. Sure, its a "CD" and there are "tracks." But it is an opera, with a storyline and development. It requires the whole album to be taken in the correct context.

        Would you like to be able to buy just the action sequences from The Matrix Reloaded and not have to pay for any of the garbage filler that ruined an otherwise great piece of eye candy? I sure as hell would. But we can't. So why should we be allowed to pick apart the aural creation of someone who wishes it to be heard as a whole?

        They split albums into tracks to make it easier for us to pick up where we left off, but it should be up to the artist as to how they get distributed. Singles were a different market. That was only one or 2 tracks from an album.

        Unless you were Michael Jackson circa "Thriller", then it was your whole album. But that just illustrates another point. Make an album good enough, and EVERY SONG WILL HAVE SINGLE POTENTIAL! You hear that Madonna? No more "Take A Bow."

        I would rather have millions and millions of people listen to part of one song than hundreds of thousands of people listen to a whole album. Better yet, there shouldn't be any reason to not have both, unless you are just in it for the money, or the fame, or the luxuries, etc...

        Ugh. Would you rather have millions of people only know 5 minutes of any one of Bach's compositions? And being "in it" to have millions of people clutch one song and ignore the entire rest of your catalog, especially if you

    • Re:Work of Art (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:23AM (#6266845)
      An album is not a work of art. It's an implementation detail. Before LP records, all music was released as singles (78 rpm and/or 45 rpm). Once the LP was introduced, songs were bundled together into albums. This was not because of "art", it was because it was cheaper per track to put ten songs on one disk with the new technology.

      Now, technology shifts again, and electronic distribution makes the cost per track of singles similar to albums.

      Anyway, who ever said that all artists always want to create a piece of "art" exactly 70 minutes long? Most music will be distributed as singles because most songs do fine as standalone works. Some artists will occasionally release a "concept" album that would work better bundled. The length of such a work will now be able to vary from a few minutes to many hours. This is no big deal.

    • Re:Work of Art (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      In my mind the art of the album is a smokescreen. I believe some artists work to make an album a wonderful listening experience from one beginning to end. They put in touches that can only be enjoyed at high fidelity. They interlace the songs and vary the emotion to create a moving experience. I will even stipulate that most of the listed artist work to do create such an effect.

      I also believe that a true artist creates works that can and should be enjoyed as a subset. One does not have to listen to t

  • They are lazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crea5e (590098) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:30AM (#6266567)
    This system rewards good music and consumer choice. I mean we all know this scenario quite well: You buy a cd and find that maybe three songs are good and the rest suck. Now why should we pay for stuff we don't want. Artists are lazy because they feel as long as they make one or two good songs the rest can be garbage and we still, those that purchase the cds, have to buy everything. As for the artists, they need to realize that they will make more money this way cause they could produce and sell song by song instead of trying to put up a bunch of songs together to make a cd. They also get to know exactly what songs are working and what are not by the amount each is downloaded.
    • Re:They are lazy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bedouin X (254404) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#6266622) Homepage
      Exactly, ultimately they have to realize that the wheels are falling off of the Gravy Train and the bar has been raised as a result of consumer demand. These guys about face every minute. One second it's all about the fans, the next second it's all about the art. It can't be all about both at the same time so if they were smart they'd just accept the happy medium - which this a la carte download system appears to be nearing - and try to exploit it to their own benefit.
    • Hold on now...... (Score:3, Informative)

      by spj524 (526706)
      Artists don't sit around and contemplate over 2 songs they think are "good" then go out and make "filler" for the rest of the CD. These guys are ego driven. They have a montage of people telling them, "Oh man that was great! Thatâ(TM)s going to be a hit!" on every song! The label decides what song is so catchy that you will immediately run out and buy the CD. Thatâ(TM)s why you only hear 1 song come out.

      And I agree with the artists. You wouldnâ(TM)t cut just they eyes out of the Mona Lisa a

  • by usurper_ii (306966) <<gro.4tseuq> <ta> <yln0seye>> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:30AM (#6266568) Homepage
    I think in the end they are going to find that while a band might sell 500 thousand albums at $15.00-plus, they might sell 2 million of that one good song for .99 cents...and 1 million of that other song on the album that was pretty good. And then the die hard fans are still going to buy the whole thing, so they will make money off of the rest of the "filler," too.

    Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way, turn.

    Usurper_ii
  • by katalyst (618126) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:30AM (#6266570) Homepage
    let the user download the WHOLE album for 99cents. :D
  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom @ g m a i l .com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:32AM (#6266577) Homepage Journal
    Lately albums have been looking as a way to get rid of crap not able to stand on itself as singels. Often when i buy a record i only want 2 or three songs out of the whole album. Frankly, they push some very crappy stuff alongside the hits.

    Ofcourse some artists are afraid because they will have the pressure to release good stuff and not some b-side crap as landfill in the albums.
  • Bitch and moan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by christurkel (520220) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:33AM (#6266589) Homepage Journal
    Let me get this straight:

    You bitch and moan because your work is being pirated via CD burners, napster and P2P networks.

    Fans screams for a legitimate way to purchase and download your music online with any crappy restrictions

    Someone comes with a solution to both problems and you still bitch? C'mon! You want to sell an album, fine, make an album's worth of material and sell for less than $16.

  • by Dormous (638736) <mikemucc&yahoo,com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:34AM (#6266594)
    "The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past."

    Translation:

    The fear among artists is that the songs on their albums that SUCK will no longer be purchased by the consumer, meaning that they will have to write better "music" if they want to sell their music. These people don't put their own albums together, the producer does that. It also opens up the music industry to more competition, seeing as an artist no longer needs a WHOLE ALBUM in order to distribute music.

    Only good can come of this, capitalism at its best!

    --Dormous

  • by wherley (42799) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:37AM (#6266608)
    Put together a "Work of Art" and I'll buy it complete!
    Push out 1 hit + 9 filler songs and you don't deserve to argue this line!

    For example, you would be a fool to buy singles off these "Works of Art":

    Alan Parsons _I Robot_
    Van Morrison _Hard Nose to the Highway_
    Lucinda Williams _World Without Tears_
    Jennifer Warnes - _Famous Blue Raincoat_
  • by visualight (468005) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:38AM (#6266616) Homepage
    If Madonna wants to insist that her music is only available as an album then let her have her way as long as she can't force every artist to do the same thing. If she's truly an artist then million dollar mansions aren't of primary importance to her and the resulting loss of income shouldn't bother her.

    If, however she's in it for the money, then she's a business, and as a business she has customers to satisfy. If she can't or won't supply what her customers want they'll move elsewhere.

    The only way this could matter is if a few top names are able to control the entire industry with regards to single song downloads. That is, Madonna knows she'll lose customers if she doesn't allow single downloads so, out of spite, she somehow is able to end single downloads altogether.
    • good point. musicians are businessmen, not artists.

      Those that are real artists put out quality stuff becuase they want to, so they make more money by default. Plus, consumers like to support these types of artists more.

      the problem is, we started accepting pop-culture garbage which was created for the only purpose of selling. How many popular bands do you hear on the radio that actually started in a garage, playing for proms and birthdays? Not too many.

      Most of the crap out there is reprocessed garbage, and they know it. I think that's why they don't people buying one song at a time.

      The shift from feeding the customers garbage to actually listening to what the customer wants and providing it is a huge step; one that they dont' want to take.
  • No Single, No Sale (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nattt (568106) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#6266619)
    If they don't want to sell singles - fine. I suggest that they also will get no sales of their over-hyped, filler full album.

    If they are true artists they should realise that artists don't make money until they're dead - or in the case of music, not at all.

    If they are truely commercial, then why do they give their stuff away for free (for the end listener anyway - it costs them to advertise) on the radio? Why don't they face the commercial realiaty that music just isn't worth anything anymore?

    Who devalued the music to next to worthlessness? They did -by their own greedy hands. They devalue it by radio play. They devalue it by "copy protections", by letting the RIAA screw them over so they don't actually get any money from sales, by not playing their own musicical instruments, by not singing their own songs and by not composing their own tunes.

    If people don't hear music for free, then they don't buy music. You've got to give it away to charge for it!!!

    Let the reality sink in - they're a dead industry.
  • Utter nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CmdrGravy (645153) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:41AM (#6266630) Homepage

    "...work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past," says attorney Fred Goldring, whose firm represents Will Smith and Alanis Morissette"

    I really would not consider Will Smiths or Alanis Morrisettes albums to be works of art, they are just a collection of songs flung together to fill out the CD. I think they are really worried that people won't bother to buy the albumn because people aren't stupid and wont pay for songs they don't like.

    Radiohead on the other hand are a band who may actually employ some kind of quality control and make a proper albumn. In this case they have nothing to worry about because people who appreciate that will still buy their albumn.

    In a nutshell it seems to me that 'artists' who sell albumns with 1 hit and 11 filler songs are worried the public won't be forced to buy the 11 crap songs. This seems to me like a good deal for the public.

  • by MungoBBQ (524032) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#6266636)
    Am I the only one who read the sentence "The 99 cent downloads are stirring some discussion in the music community." and thought that "99 cent" was some new hip-hop artist I hadn't heard of?

  • by webword (82711) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#6266638) Homepage
    As a very serious exercise, try to name albums where every track is good or great. Off the top of my head, I can only name a few from my own collection. I did a quick review of my 120 CDs and only 6 of the CDs fit this description. That's only 5% of the total.

    By the way, what albums of yours fit this description? What are some "perfect" albums that are good from start to finish? I'm always looking for good stuff, especially hard rock and heavy metal! ;-)
    • by pq (42856)
      Even if there isn't any such thing as the "dark side" of the oon, this Pink Floyd album is one of the all time great albums.

      Also, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band - another set of songs conceived as an album, almost perfect.

    • Pink Floyd:
      Another Brick in the Wall
      Dark Side of the Moon

      The Who:
      Tommy

      The Beatles:
      Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

      These are albums meant to be listented to in their entirety. They are true works or art. Even if you do not particularly like this type of music (I personally never liked Tommy), you have to appreciate the amount of work and attention to detail that obviously went into every song to make it fit with the whole.

      Finkployd
    • by Savatte (111615) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:05AM (#6267087) Homepage Journal
      Pink Floyd - The Wall, Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here

      Led Zeppelin - I, II, IV

      The Doors - The Doors, L.A. Woman

      The White Stripes - White Blood Cells, Elephant

      Beatles - Sgt. Peppers, Revolver, The White Album, Abbey Road

      Pearl Jam - Ten, VS

      Boston - Boston

      Vanilla Ice - Mind Blowin (yes, really!)

      Metallica - the black album
    • I don't buy a CD unless:

      1) The artist is a known quantity (Seal, Radiohead, Enigma, Faith No More, Paul Oakenfold)
      2) Heard two songs from said CD and liked it.

      If I want singles, I go grab the 'best of'. Too bad I don't listen to the radio much anymore, but it's pretty rare for a radio station to play more than two songs off a CD.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:48AM (#6266669) Homepage
    Instead of paying please support your artists that allow the free taping/trading of their music (either via P2P or other methods).

    Bonnaroo BitTorrents are here [digitalpanic.org]

    Check out FurthurNET [furthurnet.com]

    Also check etree [etree.org]

    Amazingly enough The Grateful Dead (The OtherOnes and now The Dead), Phish, and Neil Young/Crazyhorse) allow the free taping/trading of their music and look how popular they are and how long they have been around.

    I want to see the day when we are still listening to Alanis 40 years from now while she's on tour.
    • by rocjoe71 (545053) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:13AM (#6266798) Homepage
      Yeah, but those band have to play 100-150 concerts a year in front of 2-3 million fans (some of whom will follow them around the entire country) just to pull down a measely 80-90 million dollars.

      How dare you ask Madonna to pause in the middle of making her "art" to actually go and play music.

      The problem is when people start trying to earn their money they realize that they never deserved it in the first place!

  • Death to Albums (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agentkhaki (92172) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:51AM (#6266681) Homepage
    I honestly see this as a good thing. It's evolution. It's moving forward. And, ideally, it could benefit everyone involved. Down with the album (unless you're making a real album, and not a simple compilation of singles - read: most 'albums' released today).

    Imagine this scenario. Instead of releasing a new 'album' every year, or every couple of years, or whatnot, artists would instead have the option of releasing each song as they record it. They would no longer be pressured to create filler for the album by the demands of the public - "I want a full CD worth of music, because that's what I paying for." - as well as the demands of the label - "We need to appease the public demand for a full album. Therefore, you will fill the album, crap or no crap, I don't care." Instead, they could take the time to craft real songs (I've giving artists benefit of the doubt here and assuming that they would actually like to create meaningful works of art).

    Furthermore, if the artist has the one, all-encompassing goal of making money, this model would allow them to tailor each song to the buyers desires based upon the feedback from the previous release. The modern album is somewhat of a gamble in this sense simply because (ignoring test audiences) there is no real knowledge of what the public wants and expects from a particular artist (take Metallica's new album, which sounds *very* different from anything they've released previously, and which was a gamble to release simply because of this unknown reception).

    To push the idea a few steps further, and incorporate the whole 'best of' method, the artist would then be able to take 15-18 of these singles that were released over a certain period of time, and release the album with all of those tracks on it. In other words, the public would be able to download lower-than-perfect copies of these singles for $1/ song, and then if they wanted a full quality 'album' (complication disc, really) they'd buy it when the artist released it.

    Just an idea. Feel free to pick it apart (for instance, I'm not sure exactly how this is better or more financially sound than the current model - it's just a different way of doing things).
  • by weave (48069) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:55AM (#6266704) Journal
    It's ironic that Linkin Park is in on this "protest." Their two latest CDs are only half an album anyway. 35 minutes each. Each song is only about 3 minutes. So 99 cents a piece is a good deal for them. In fact, I was able to put both of their latest CDs onto one 80 minute CD-R (uncompressed, normal CD audio format).

    Hey, but at least I got a playable Mac and PC version of Warcraft 3 demo on the CD, so the record labels at least didn't let all of the CD go to waste. But when I saw that, my first thought was, ah, any room left for any actual music? Yeah, a whopping 35 minutes worth.

  • by Vandil X (636030) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @09:56AM (#6266705)
    Today's music market has been flooded with a lot of groups that are purely meant to be pop-music fodder for 2-4 years, then burn off for the next crop.

    The era of masterpiece albums has been over for quite a while, save for the work of a small minority of today's active artists.

    That's not to say that there weren't the ol' 1-2 good songs + 10 tracks of filler crap on albums in earlier years. There's just more of them now.

    Before the mainstream-"Joe Sixpack"-Internet era (1996-present), people used to buy the select "good" tracks via vinyl/8-track/cassette/CD singles, and get a few extra remixes and b-sides thrown in for good measure. (It's my theory that B-sides have moved from these "singles" to the main albums these days!)

    Bands these days should seriously consider what they put on albums. Artists of the past used to record 30 or more songs, then select a solid set of 13 good ones and tie them together as an album (how do you think they can release "newly-discovered" songs even after they are dead?).

    Today's artists also need push their labels to rethink how they do business as digital media files overtake the industry.

    Personally, I look forward to when iTunes will become available for non-Macintosh computers. Only then will the RIAA be stuck with warehouses full of blank silver CDs and plastic jewel cases.
  • by farrellj (563) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:00AM (#6266735) Homepage Journal
    Name the last album you listend to that had a theme, thematic or musical, through the whole album...soundtacks don't count!

    The music industry has worked hard to kill songs that tell stories...song that make you think. With no songs that tell a story, the songwriting paradign that comes to us from the dawn of time, through the Celtic Bards and Troubadors, and into our time, there is no need for albums...for albums are for stories that are longer than one song.

    And with the death of the album, the record companies are maybe hoping to reduce recording costs by just having their "made" artists (N'Sync, Spears, Idol stars, etc.) go in and record a new song whenever their demographics department thinks that a new song by that artist will be successful.

    And if you want a really cynical view of ths music industry, hunt down a book called _Little Heros_ by Norman Spinrad, borderline cyberpunk, and some good Erisian in-jokes.

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • by Ada_Rules (260218) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#6266740) Homepage Journal
    In the US, there are anti-trust laws that say that you can not (under specific rules) force people to buy one less desireable product in order to get a more "desireable" product. It is called bundling and in some cases it is a violation of anti-trust law.

    This is one of the area's that Microsoft was getting in trouble for with bundling the browser with the OS since in order to get the "desireable" product (cough...windows) you HAD to buy (bundled) the Browser.

    So, apparently the artists are in favor of Big Money/Anti-competative/Corporate rip-offs...As long as it is in the name of art.

    You know, I think strip mining is an important artistic commentary on our world today..I think I will try to bring it back in the name of Art.

    At least Madonna and Alanis Morissette will be on my side.
  • by smack.addict (116174) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#6266743)
    Artists have had 40 years to do something creative with albums. Instead, they have used it as a forum for pawning off a handful of good songs with a mass of shitty songs they could not otherwise sell. In the 40 years of the LP format, I think there are only 4 that have used the format itself as an art:
    • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
    • The Beatles, The Beatles (the white album
    • The Final Cut, Pink Floyd
    • Pornography, The Cure
    I am sure others exist, and I am sure people can bring up lists of their own favorites. My point is more that out of the hundreds and hundreds of CDs and LPs I own, I only consider 4 to be artistically harmed by pulling them apart. That's just sad.

    Here is something even sadder.

    I have ripped all of mine and my wife's CDs onto a server in my house. That is 22 GB of music.

    I then went through and rated all of the songs I liked. Of the 22 GB of music, I consider only 7 GB worth listening to in the quirkiest of moods. That is 15 GB I consider complete worthless crap.

    Now, it is true you can dismiss some of the crap as "what the hell was I thinking back then" or "what relative thought I listened to this shit" or "why does my wife like heavy metal". That accounts for 2-3 GB.

    Under a charitable view of things, this suggests that 12 out of every 19 songs released is considered crap by an artist's own fans! And they want to keep forcing me to pay for this shit?

    No more buying albums for me. No thanks. I will preview each new song on the Apple Music Store. If it is any good, I will buy it. If I like the band, I will preview it several times. This will also prevent me from buying crap like REM's Up.

  • Work of art? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aliens (90441) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:11AM (#6266783) Homepage Journal
    They're being very stupid on this one. They say they don't want their "art" to be chopped up and hence ruined. So what about shuffle on my CD player you want that taken away too?

    These people make me sick, glad I didn't goto that mess of a radiohead show here in NY a few weeks ago.

    Can you imagine a painter sitting in a gallery and whenever someone came in and looked at his painting from a different angle than he wanted; he'd come running over crying like a bitch and force you to stand, 85.5degrees from center, clamp open your eyelids so you can't not look at any of it and keep you there for 1:15?

    I'm done buying any music from the RIAA sponsored pukes. Before I was iffy, but now I'm certain I can find better, free as in expression, and cheap as in price bands to listen to.

  • by telstar (236404) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:11AM (#6266786)
    With tracks being sold one-by-one the can no longer do that hidden track gimmick that got old in '83.
    Personally, I'm just curious what the the track-by-track pricing scheme would be for an album like "NIN-Broken" where they've got about 90 tracks of silence. Do those go for 99cents too?
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:29AM (#6266883) Homepage Journal
    Most modern artists don't seem to understand the concept of a coherent album versus a collection of unrelated songs. Sales of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band were not threatened by sales of 45s (for the youngsters: low-priced, 7", 45RPM records which typically had one song per side and were packaged in a cheap paper sleeve). They were actual albums rather than collections containing two hit songs and a bunch of filler material. Even when an album was not a "concept", everyone involved knew that the it was all about value: If the buyer liked a lot of the music on the album, he/she would buy the album. But if there was only one or two songs on the album that were appealing, the buyer would opt for 45s.

    And the record companies don't understand that they need to add value to the albums. What happened to the days when you could buy an album and get a 12" x 12" multi-page color book inside? Where are the free enclosed 24" x 36" posters? Now one is lucky to get the lyrics printed in 5 point fonts in tiny square booklets. Sorry, but when you used CDs as an excuse to double the price while taking away all of the value-added extras, you slit your own throats.

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:44AM (#6266972) Homepage Journal

    Jewel sells singles collected on a CD for $18.00.

    St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is an ALBUM and work of art.

    Modonna sells remixes of Erotica and a few singles collected on a CD for $18.00.

    The Who's Tommy is an ALBUM and work of art.

    I'm sick of buying filler. There are very few Albums in the world.
  • Concept albums (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:51AM (#6267020) Homepage Journal
    The only time the artists could get away with this is with bonafide concept albums. The classic examples are Pink Floyd's The Wall and Dark Side of The Moon, both conceptualized to be listened as a whole unit and not sliced into singles. I personally hate every time I hear "Money" in a fake classics radio station (or worse, "Another Brick in the Wall II").

    This is of course personal taste. Business wise, if I am an artist I would rather get my cut of a 99-cent download than NOT get my cut of a retail CD or a bundled download.
  • by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @10:59AM (#6267062)
    Linkin Park, Radiohead, Madonna, Jewel and Green Day are protesting music listeners policy of single-song listening.

    Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer for Green Day was quoted as saying: "We made all of those songs on our album and arrainged them in an order. You should listen to them from the first track to the last, that's how we intended them to be listened to. Listening to just one track in the middle is classified a derivative work and we will sue you fools! Now pass the bong Tre."

  • Or is it simply.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JackJudge (679488) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:06AM (#6267095) Journal
    ...the case that the labels will start to realise most artists can only put three or four decent tracks on an album and the rest is filler material ? I know I know, there's exceptions to this, but let's face it, 90% of the stuff churned out by today's manufactured bands is crap. I think it's more a case of the artists running scared that instead of signing a mega-bucks 3 album deal, which is gonna be mostly them treading water in the studio, it might set a precendent where they get paid purely by commission on how popular individual songs are. Hey who knows, the Top 40 might have relevance again!
  • Alanis Morissette? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebe@eli[ ]gent.be ['s.u' in gap]> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:25AM (#6267201) Homepage
    You mean the Alanis Morissette that's featured in Apples iTunes Music Store promotional video [apple.com] (round 4:35) and who can't praise it high enough? Seems like the spokesperson of the firm are more concerned about it than the artists...
  • by xWeston (577162) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @11:39AM (#6267285)
    I can see why some music artists would feel this way. personally I dont know if i like an artist/album unless i listen to it all of the way through because I view albums as one piece of work with a bunch of seperate parts.

    People that only listen to the radio for their music might never even hear another song except for the single off of an album and I think that would be hard for me to do. I like listening to albums all the way through from Track 1 to Track End, not on shuffle or repeat.

    There are themes among other things that are woven into the songs, and the arrangement of them is picked for a reason (although for some bands it is probably just marketing).
  • by Winterblink (575267) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @01:40PM (#6267854) Homepage
    As "artists", looking at what songs are downloaded more than others can be invaluable feedback on what kind of music you're creating is popular. How often do these people get the kind of feedback from their loving labels that tells them out of fifteen songs on their last album users thought songs one, four and eight are their most popular? And that say songs fourteen and fifteen were the least popular? I mean technically they could look at that and say "Whoa, if we did an album that sounded like those two songs it's going to not sell as well, or get such crummy reviews we'd be out of the biz."

    Given the fact that the average pop music act has an average life expectancy in the limelight of a year or two at best, I think they should be looking at this kind of information seriously. And currently, I think the best source of that information is going to be single-file download services where the user can preview the entire album before picking the wheat from the chaff.

  • It's already dead. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kwil (53679) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @02:57PM (#6268209)
    The latest Blur CD, Think Tank is, like many techno CD's, seamless. All the songs are meant to flow into each other with no breaks.

    That is.. until you put the thing into your computer. Whereupon the Digital Restrictions Management loads it's little mickey mouse player (mickey mouse both for its power and the DRM associations) to play the CD for you.. ..except.. the damn player inserts 1 second pauses between tracks. Since the album is supposed to be seamless, these pauses are jarring to say the least.

    So what I want to know is, how come we don't hear about Madonna, Linkin Park, etc., bitching about how DRM players are "killing the art" of the album?
  • by uncadonna (85026) <mtobisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2003 @03:00PM (#6268222) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, digital distribution improves the artist's ability to create longer works, and absolutely does not limit it in any way.

    Popular songs are usually between 2 and 6 minutes, partly because of techological limitations of the 78 and the 45 RPM disk, but also because that duration fits nicely with human attention span and has become part of the culture. Albums are typically a bit under an hour long, because of the limitations of the 33 RPM LP record, and the design of the audio CD which specifically was intended to replicate the LP. There is no fundamental artistic reason for that length at all, and the cultural influences for that duration are not strong. For myself, I usually find an hour listening to any artist a bit too long, even if the work is consistently interesting.

    Nothing prevents anyone from creating tracks and albums of any other length using digital technology. This offers more, not less, room for artistic exprssion and integrity.

    The fact that economies of scale allow very efficient distribution of 6 minute tunes (3 cheers for iTunes!!!) doesn't prevent you from using similar mechanisms to sell your 6 hour magnum opus. Of course, it doesn't force me to seek, pay for or listen to such a thing, but it certainly gives the artist the freedom to offer it. If artists think there is demand for these things, and the standard download sites don't support them, it will cost next to nothing to set up alternative distribution mechanisms.

    I wonder if there isn't a more mercenary interest than artistic integrity behind these "artists" gripes. Obviously a lot of albums are mostly tedious filler. "Artists" who line up behind this complaint are apparently declaring themselves to be profiting from such filler. I would avoid any album by anyone supporting this argument on that basis alone.

    iTunes does sell whole albums, by the way. I haven't bought any, though. I find the ability to buy individual songs vastly more appealing, and my music purchasing has rebounded from nearly zero as a result of the easy sample/easy download/easy pay features of iTunes.

  • by bob dobalina (40544) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @05:37PM (#6269100)
    These "artists" are suddenly running up against the reality that their egos are much larger than their fan base. Most major label artists, the groups/singers/performers/whatevers that are known worldwide and heard endlessly on Top 40 stations, are not artists in the sense we might consider perhaps classical composers or even modern trailblazers like Elvis, Bob Dylan or Grandmaster Flash. They are simply hit machines. The music they make is not particularly unique or revolutionary. Rather, it's just noise for people to dance to at clubs, blast out of their 8000 watt car stereos or hear in the background at the gym or office. Their music will not be remembered on anything other than "Now that's what I call one-hit-wonders vol. LXVII"-type compilations.

    As such, people don't want their albums. They buy them when there's no other way to get the hits they hear on the radio. Nobody will identify that sixth track on Shakira's latest album, but they will remember the one in the Pepsi commercials (if she's so lucky). The only substantitive difference between the two is the fact that the song is widely identifiable; the quality is not particularly great in either case. People don't want the albums, they want the hits. This is the reason for the massive appeal of the apple music store and P2P mp3 sharing beyond a few geeks looking to find some obscure Front 242 or Cure B-side.

    And this runs straight up against the millionaire "artists" who conceive themselves as visionaries and look to their worldwide appeal as proof that they are, indeed, somehow different than their peers. As if the rise of Linkin Park from the engorged field of "rap-rock" crossovers had something to do intrinsically with their band's music, attitude or aptitude rather than the pure dumb luck of having caught the eye of a major label with the presence of mind to hype the hell out of them.

    The artists in question are having to deal with the unpleasant fact that their visions of themselves as pioneers, saviors or rebels do not quite gel with the views of their customers, who see them merely as soundtracks -- soundtracks that get old and need to be changed, like everything else.
  • by ValentineMSmith (670074) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @05:42PM (#6269136)
    If the reason behind not wishing to sell singles is that these works were designed as an album, and were not meant to be sold seperately, then would someone pray tell me the reason behind the existance of:

    International Superhits [amazon.com] by Greenday

    The Immaculate Collection [amazon.com] by Madonna

    The Best of Motorhead[Metal-Is] [amazon.com] by Motorhead

    (unfortunately, I was unable to find "Best Of" albums by Linkin Park (most likely either haven't been around long enough or don't have enough decent material to make a "Best Of" album)or Jewel (Personal opinion, but I NEVER, EVER want to hear what one would consider to be the "Best Of" Jewel).

    The point remains that virtually every artist I've ever seen has been perfectly willing to put out a "Best Of" album when enough dollars/euros/insert your favorite local currency here are waved under their nose. I've heard one band say no because "Best Of" albums always seem to be the last gasp of a group/artist that has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

    You don't want your work broken into singles, fine. Just be honest with yourself (and your listeners) and admit that the reason has absolutely noting to do with art.

  • hypocrites (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prockcore (543967) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @06:24PM (#6269408)
    Sure, they're "artistically opposed" to selling singles for 99 cents.. but they have no problem selling singles for $12.99.

    Linkin Park [cduniverse.com]
    Radiohead [cduniverse.com]
    Madonna [cduniverse.com]
    Jewel [cduniverse.com]
    Green Day [cduniverse.com]

    I'm artistically opposed to purchasing anything by these bands.

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