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Some Bands Still Refuse Music Downloads 545

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the equal-opportunity-shaft dept.
Zelbinian writes "Wired News reports there are a number of artists, ranging from The Beatles to Radiohead, that are still holding out on iTunes. Some feel that per-track downloads hurt the artistic integrity of albums as a whole; for others it's simply a matter of negotiation troubles. From the article: 'Since record companies have realized the popularity of iTunes and other sites, many reworked contracts to give artists less money per download. Andrews said while record companies once offered artists about 30 cents for each song sold, now musicians are earning less than a dime.'"
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Some Bands Still Refuse Music Downloads

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  • by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:36PM (#15946391)
    First, why is this under "Your Rights Online?" Second,while I prefer to be able to pick and choose tracks, I can see how a band might prefer that an album be sold as a complete "work" and not picked apart. I think the album that should be viewed as such is probably rare, however.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by halcyon1234 (834388)
      Second,while I prefer to be able to pick and choose tracks, I can see how a band might prefer that an album be sold as a complete "work" and not picked apart. I think the album that should be viewed as such is probably rare, however.

      Then they should make the album one long track.

      Or come up with some new terms.

      "track" and "album" are archaic demarkation terms. It's much like how "page" is an archaic demarkation term when you deal with ebooks. Who cares which page its on? I want one document. Tabl

      • by dogbowl (75870) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:36AM (#15946581) Homepage
        How about "chapter" and "volume" then?

        If you think you can listen to Magical Mystery Tour on random play, then you're missing half the point of the work.
        • by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:42AM (#15946594) Homepage Journal
          That's just it. Whether the work is sold by track or by album, most people are going to miss a great deal of the point of the work as laid out by the artist. Insisting that people buy the entire album instead of a track makes as much sense as making sure that people take a test to ensure they grasp all the artistic points.
          • by Buran (150348) on Monday August 21, 2006 @01:55AM (#15946782)
            most people are going to miss a great deal of the point of the work as laid out by the artist.

            And who is anyone to tell me how I should interpret art? Being able to not have to buy filler, or just stuff I don't want in general, is a huge advantage of iTMS and other shops like it. Shovel more stuff on me that I don't want (and force me to pay for it) and I buy nothing. You (the hypothetical artist/label/store) just lost a potential sale that way.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:03AM (#15946930)
              Or maybe these artists actually care about their art more than the corporate bottom line, and thus deserve enough of your respect to buy their entire album or none at all.
              • by Baki (72515) on Monday August 21, 2006 @05:54AM (#15947330)
                So if you buy the complete album, should they forbid you to skip some tracks?
                • Re:Missing the point (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by Random_Goblin (781985) on Monday August 21, 2006 @08:26AM (#15947710)
                  So if you buy the complete album, should they forbid you to skip some tracks?

                  think about it another way. If you are a painter having just completed your masterpiece [abcgallery.com] stretching across a huge canvas, would you be happy if someone just took a detail [candysangels.com] from it and refused to see the whole work?

                  back to music how happy do you think beethoven would be to know that his epic works have been reduced to a mobile phone ringtone? and how good an understanding of his work do you get from only listening to that ringtone?

                  a lot of musicians are unhappy with people reading the lyrics when listening to the songs because they feel it detracts from their work. does that stop you from reading while listening? hell no!

                  does it mean that they don't have the right to ask how they would like their music to be listened to? again hell no!
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    I'd like to think a better example is how this painting [wikipedia.org] (NSFW, as far as classical paintings go) is more famously known for the one foot in the bottom-left than any other portion of the painting.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by croddy (659025)
                    Ring tones are nothing new musically; they are merely a more ubiquitous form of what's been played in clock towers for hundreds of years. To be able to make a memorable musical statement in the space of 10-20 seconds is a significant accomplishment.
              • by Peter Mork (951443) <Peter.Mork@gmail.com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @08:12AM (#15947660) Homepage
                So, each file currently costs about $1 to download. Consumers want to be able to mix-and-match songs across albums. Enter the artists that either want: 1) to sell more songs by bundling them into an album or 2) to maintain artistic integrity. In the latter case, let them bundle the entire album into a single file (to be sold for $1). Call the bluff and we'll see whether it's profit or art that rules.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by pete6677 (681676)
                If the artist cares enough about the fans to make an album worth listening to, such as most Pink Floyd albums, I'll buy the entire thing. Afterall, who would want just "Another Brick in the Wall" without the entire album? If they just record an album with 2 good songs and mostly filler, I'm cutting out the filler. I suspect most fans will decide if an album is worth buying and if so, buy the whole thing. If artists want people to buy the entire album, they should make the album worth buying on its merits.
              • Most albums are 90% absolute crap, most tracks are meerely padding to get you to pay $15 for that one song you liked. Yeah, you can complain about the poor misunderstood artist all you like, but if the vast majority of them actually made albums that weren't 90% pure SUCK, there wouldn't be an issue, because people would want to download the whole thing and listen to it in order.

            • by ndogg (158021)
              I'm losing mod-ability to do this, but...

              You (the hypothetical artist/label/store) just lost a potential sale that way.
              Honestly, if they're insisting that you buy their entire album instead of just the single, I don't think they care. A lot of artists still believe in some mythical ideal of artistic integrity, even at the expense of making more money.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Buran (150348)
                Perhaps. But don't you think that makes the complaint of "we aren't making enough from online sales" kind of silly? Maybe that's true because you're denying people what they want. You have to make people want to buy your music to make a go of it, and while most musicians do what they do because they love it, at some point you have to be mindful of making a living.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by guet (525509)
              Being able to not have to buy filler,

              Good albums don't contain filler material.
              • by Buran (150348) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:40AM (#15947038)
                Good albums don't contain filler material.

                And mediocre albums have great songs on them.
            • by stereoroid (234317) on Monday August 21, 2006 @05:12AM (#15947236) Homepage Journal

              Fine, but some artists do view an album as more than just a series of tracks. Can you be sure, in advance, which tracks are "filler" and which aren't? Why, when I was a lad, it was my pleasure to unearth an "unsung" album track with special meaning to me.

              Radiohead is mentioned in the article: any thoughts about the overarching story told in the order of the songs on OK Computer? It's there, almost a hidden message that rewards careful listening, and it would be destroyed if the songs were Shuffled. My "unsung" song on that album is Let Down, one that got no attention and would be left out if I had bought the "singles" on iTunes.

              You should try this with a book - after all, who the heck is the author to decide that Chapter 7 comes immediately before Chapter 8?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by StringBlade (557322)
                But then again, you don't have publishing houses telling authors they need to write a book with not less that 50 chapters and not more than 60. With musicians, the labels tell them they need to produce three "sellable" albums with at least 11 tracks each. So the artist writes 5 to 10 catchy songs and spreads them out over the three albums with filler tracks for the rest. The albums will sell because of the catchy songs, but the rest of them are just to please the label which doesn't really care about the
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Cederic (9623)

                On the other hand, I've listened to OK Computer many times, usually without random shuffle, and I've never picked up an underlying album-wide story and message.

                On my portable music player I have 3-4 tracks from that album in my two most common playlists and love them as tracks; I almost never listen to the album itself.

                Maybe there is a message and the album represents a coherent body of work. Frankly it's wasted on me.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by kthejoker (931838)
                Isn't that the point of this argument? That music is not like books? Either a song is its own entity, or it is not.

                If Radiohead really wanted you to listen to the whole album, they'd make it one long track.

                The REAL artsy bands (Godspeed You Black Emperor, I'm looking at you) do this.

                Now, you can complain about lack of context, and certainly the artist should have the right to control their medium of discussion, but ultimately, there is no right answer. The artist is right; the listener is right. Nothing is
              • Re:Missing the point (Score:4, Informative)

                by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:43AM (#15948071)
                Fine, but some artists do view an album as more than just a series of tracks.

                Okay, given, but why should we care?

                Art, music included, is not a pure expression of its creator, meant to be interpreted only as he/she sees fit, but instead how the viewer/listener/whatever sees that creation. Once a piece of art gets released to the general public, after all, it becomes, in part, the domain of that public body's imagination.

                For example, if I like only two songs off of a Radiohead album, then why should the band dictate that I have to listen to all of the other songs on the album just to get to those two? What if I see those two songs as individually more enjoyable than the album as a whole? Is my preference any less important than the band's? And if so, how far are you willing to take it? Should we stop playing cuts from Dark Side of the Moon on the radio? Bundle songs into one huge (and annoying) track on a CD so that the listener can't skip anything?

                So, frankly, I don't give two bollocks what the artist thinks. If they want to keep the precious "artistic integrity" of their work, then they can never release it to the public and keep it hidden in a vault somewhere. But if that's the band's only reason for not releasing already released albums on iTunes, then they should cave in and just do it, unless they're a bunch of pretentious wankers...

                ...oh, wait, this is Radiohead we're talking about...

                • The reason they don't sell on iTunes among other places is because they believe iTunes is not a great place to sell music since much of the world still doesn't access music via iTunes. That's straight from Thom Yorke's mouth. I'll try and find the interview later. Furthermore, they believe the music industry, at least as far as distribution is concerned is about to crumble and they'd rather wait and see what works out and then have control over it themselves.

                  Radiohead is actually happy they don't have to
                  • Link to article (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by RadioheadKid (461411)
                    From this interview with Thom Yorke [pitchforkmedia.com]

                    Some people talk about the internet, but we've always had a problem with [it], because it will always essentially be exclusive one way or the other. To assume that this technology is worldwide is kind of bollocks, y'know? It's not there in the same way. So, I mean, I also personally am one of these luddites. I want physically to have things. I want 12"s, and anyway, iTunes never has what I want.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by xtracto (837672)
              Well, nobody is forcing you to do anything but, there are some albums which are created to listen to them in order (at least if you really want to enjoy it).

              Just like films. Do me a favor, go to your nearest Blockbuster and rent any random DVD that you have not seen. Now, instead of playing it all select the "choose chapter" option and watch the chapters in the following order: "5, 4, 7, 3, 1", you skipped chapter 2 and 6 (and if there are more than 7 chapters, all those also). Did the movie made any sense
        • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:06AM (#15948225) Journal
          It's good that none of the tracks from that album showed up on any of the Beatles "Greatest Hits" albums...They did? Oh. Nevermind.

      • by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:40AM (#15946588) Journal
        If they do that then it will be at best an EP and they won't get paid nearly as well, nor will it get the same distribution. I'm not in the industry so I cant give specifics, but take a look at some of Mars Voltas works. Their latest cd is pretty much split arbitrarily so as to be long enough to be a 'real album'. They also have a live cd thats has a good 5 or 6 tracks that are just parts of the last song. Apparently the record companies will screw you over if you don't have enough tracks, even if one is 40+ minutes long

        As an aside, Mars Volta is one of the few examples of music that is much better as a cd than as an individual track. You might like Inertiatic on its own, but until you've heard the full cd as a whole you havn't experienced the band.

      • by Simon Garlick (104721) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:47AM (#15946889)
        A friend of mine, a jazz musician, recently released a self-produced album designed to be listened to on Shuffle mode. Each song blends near-seamlessly into the next, regardless of what order they're played in. It's a different album every time it's played.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:55PM (#15946463)
      I agree. This is especially true of well-established bands. I was listening to a greatest hits album the other day and none of the songs seemed to go together. But when listening to the respective albums in whole they sound much better.

      On the other hand, I think people should be able to buy what they want. How is it a travesty if somebody only wants 2 or 3 songs off of Dark Side of the Moon? They are only hurting themselves. Give people what they want.
    • I can see how a band might prefer that an album be sold as a complete "work" and not picked apart.


      This is gonna tear Radiohead up, but I just listened to Idioteque. But I had my CD player on random, so Morning Bell didn't come up next.
      • by qortra (591818) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:26AM (#15946551)
        I know you're just joking and using Radiohead as a random example, but to be fair, Radiohead never commented to "Wired" about this article. That means, they could be holding out because of "album" construct, or because of the pay; or, for nother reason that nobody seems to have mentioned ("Wired" included); maybe some musicians could be holding out because of DRM? I know it's a long shot, but some musicians actually have scruples, and actually know what's up with online rights. And, who know better how record labels screw people over than musicians?

        So give them a break, because they might be holding out for the right reason: I know I would.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Al Dimond (792444)
          A few years back I remember some member of Radiohead commenting on how he hated CDs and really preferred LPs. So maybe they are holding out hope that all this digital stuff will pass and people will go back to LPs eventually. Right. I can't say I'd mind that as a music listener either. I wouldn't lose much but the ability to listen in the car, and I usually don't do that anyway, because I can't concentrate on the music when I'm trying to dodge those pesky pedestrians and fire hydrants...

          At any rate, whe
          • by Don_dumb (927108) on Monday August 21, 2006 @03:36AM (#15947022)
            IIRC Radiohead didn't even release a single from their album 'Kid A' (or maybe it was Amnesiac), which is an action that massively damages sales (due to the lack of a song getting much airplay and TV play if it isn't a single).
            And due to what members of the band have often said, I am willing to believe that they really do care about something other than the money.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Bertie (87778)
              Except that Kid A was, and still is, their biggest-selling album.

              In fact, that whole album broke every rule in the record industry's book. Someone who'd know about these things once told me that they were given a huge advance fee and all the time they wanted to record the album, and none of the money was recoupable. This is in complete contrast to how the major labels normally do things, with artists often needing to sell an awful lot of albums before they see any money from them due to the record company
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I've never seen Radiohead live, but I'm wondering if their live shows consist of them playing the songs from an album in order or if, perhaps, they play songs from different albums in a somewhat random order. Anyone know?
  • by iced_773 (857608) <`ten.yevadnai' `ta' `nai'> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:39PM (#15946400)
    The Beatles? On iTunes? What happened to Apple v. Apple?
  • That's fine. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod (12942) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:40PM (#15946407) Homepage
    They can hold out as long as they want. If downloaded music sales start to eclipse that of normal CDs, then I suspect those artists will begin singing a different tune.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283)
      They can hold out as long as they want.

      Two examples I can mention as a roadmap for the copyright holders to look up.

      1 George Lucas... Star Wars will never be released on Video

      2 Disney Company... The classic films will never be released on Video

      I can now legaly buy copies of Star Wars, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and others to replace my low quality pirated copies from many years ago.

      I had Star Wars about 4 years before it was released on VHS.

      Someday the hold outs in the music industry will
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by saskboy (600063)
      I've had The Beatles on my iPod for months now. I got the CD from the local library, and minutes later had the tunes on the white music player. Why do the Beatles not want to make money from that process?
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:41PM (#15946412) Homepage Journal
    It aint the artists, it's the labels.
    • by aapold (753705) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:45PM (#15946422) Homepage Journal
      It couldn't be because they get less per song [weirdal.com] than if you buy the CD, despite there being nothing to manufacture, print, burn, store, distribute, stock, or stores to man.
      • by kn0tw0rk (773805) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:57PM (#15946472) Journal
        To be fair, there are costs for servers and maintenance, design and maintaince for the web site, and bandwidth to pay for. But I think that these would be significantly less than the above items.
        • by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:20AM (#15946532)
          "To be fair, there are costs for servers and maintenance, design and maintaince for the web site, and bandwidth to pay for. But I think that these would be significantly less than the above items."
          The truly depressing aspect of it all is that Apple pays all of the distribution costs out of it's 10-12 cent-ish cut. Servers, bandwidth, payment processing, iTunes maintenance/design, etc. The record companies get the lion-share for simply saying "Yeah, you can use our artist's music" and providing the AAC rips and artwork. On top of this Apple provides them with a nice automated system that apparently makes it borderline effortless for them to convert their tracks and art assets and upload them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by liquidpele (663430)
      Once online music stores completely replace real albums (at least mostly of course) it will be more of a free market and none of this will really mater anymore. Of course, then the musicians will be at the mercy of crapy radio stations.. but that's a different problem.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aichpvee (631243)
        You're still stuck paying whatever price the online stores collude to, and it'll probably still be apple's drm and if not it'll be microsoft's. I don't see where the "free" market is here, even assuming that such a thing would be good in the first place.
  • Of Course! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:43PM (#15946413)
    'Since record companies have realized the popularity of iTunes and other sites, many reworked contracts to give artists less money per download. Andrews said while record companies once offered artists about 30 cents for each song sold, now musicians are earning less than a dime.'
    Well, obviously when the record companies underestimated demand they also underestimated the rates of breakage and returns, so of course they would have to modify the artists' cut in order to better compensate the record companies for those costs.
    • Re:Of Course! (Score:5, Informative)

      by sleeper0 (319432) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:35AM (#15946576)
      The better question is if there has been a change at all. While the nature of major label contracts means that it is very, very uncommon for the terms of them to be public, I worked in digital music both pre-ITMS and post launch and am very sure that bands on a major label were never close to averaging thirty cents a sale. There may have been an example or three of this, and probably still are but it was never close to the statement that "record companies once offered artists about 30 cents for each song sold". In fact, any averages that came close to this figure would only have _ever_ been for the situation where some smaller itunes content providers offered consolidation deals where they repped 3rd party or unsigned content to apple for more or less pass through costs. These situations never included things like promotion, development or recording costs on the part of the ITMS supplier.

      Again, due the the nature of the contracts involved it's nearly impossible to cite sources for this, the same reason it is easy for a wired reporter to make up facts in their article. But consider this logical argument: It is well known that ITMS takes thirty five cents on every dollar on sales (3rd hand citation [tidbits.com] but other sources are common). That leaves about sixty five cents to the content providers. Even if you have limited knowledge of the music industry it should be easy for you to realize that no major label contracts passed on nearly 45% of gross income from their products to the artists. Whether you like that fact or not, wired is plain wrong in saying that "it used to be so much better" - and I'd bet that probably both the reporter and the editor involved knew that was an intentional distortion. From what I know, majors typically pass on between eight and sixteen cents per track to the artists, and that number hasn't changed much since the ITMS launch.

      If anything I believe artist's gross revenue per unbundled song has had slight upward pressure though nothing very dramatic. As I understand this owes the the fact that artists gross revenue per customer with unbundled tracks is understandably down versus typical sales that are bundled (even singles shipped with at least one or two extra songs). Though for all the same reasons I can't cite that so you might as well ignore it.
  • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:44PM (#15946418)
    "It's amazing how many people go there," Andrews said of iTunes. "We're hoping albums work there." Andrews said he wasn't sure if Apple eventually would allow the album to be kept intact.

    I've seen a bunch of tracks that weren't available unless you purchase the entire album. The albums usually have 1 or 2 tracks for sale individually but the rest require you to buy the album. I understand the artistic concerns, but if you would release some of the songs as singles for play on the radio, why not make them available as downloads? Or do artistic concerns end when you want a hit single so the album sells well?
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7&kc,rr,com> on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:45PM (#15946421) Homepage
    Can you really blame them? The new contracts take away any monetary incentive that digital formats offered. What I dont get is Itunes delivers the tunes at their cost, the publishers have no packaging, promotion or media costs, so where does the money go? Maybe im a tin-foil hat type here, but it seems to me that the labels are just attempting their best to make sure that digital downloads are no incentive to the "artist" in order to keep their control over the industry. If it isnt cost effective, artists will stick with cd's and big labels as they see that as the only path to success. Too much success in digital format would show the artists that the labels were not needed in the modern age so from the labels perspective thats something best to avoid.
  • Not a big surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Art (3335) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:47PM (#15946429)
    I remember when CDs came out. The labels pulled all sorts of renegotiation tricks to pay less money on CDs compared with vinyl. One of the excuses was that it was a "new technology".

    If the RIAA really wanted to go after music thieves, they would be sueing the record labels.
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)
      If the RIAA really wanted to go after music thieves, they would be sueing the record labels.

      If the RIAA represents the labels, wouldn't they be suing themselves?

      Or would the RIAA be suing their own clients?
  • Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:49PM (#15946435) Homepage
    I would recommend that artist negotiate a seperate contract for digital sales. My band is unsigned, but we get 91 percent of the iTunes cash (after Apple takes their cut). What band could be against that deal? iTunes is a potential cash cow for forward-thinking bands.

    • How are you getting it on iTunes?
      And I don't much like your myspace page as it requires horizontal scrolling.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:25AM (#15946548) Homepage Journal
      My band is unsigned...iTunes is a potential cash cow for forward-thinking bands.

      I think you just answered your own question. The problem here is that too many artists are lured into thinking that the only way to make a living in music is to sign away your soul to record label, for pennies on the dollar.

      Now I'll grant you that I don't really know much about the intricacies of the music business, but based on conversations I've had with quite a few people lately, it seems like an artist would perhaps be better served staying unsigned -- if they have any management skills at all, or know where to find someone who does -- than to get on board with a label. What does the label give you? A chance at a very, very small slice of a larger "pie," but really what's the advantage of that over having a much larger slice of a smaller pie?

      If you get 91% back from your music sales, it doesn't take nearly as many sales for you to make a living than it does for a signed band. I'd bet that properly done, the margins on CD sales are similarly large. Sure, you probably won't see an unsigned band's stuff in WalMart, but again: if you can make the same amount of money being a regional band, and have total creative control ... I don't understand the allure.

      The one thing that the labels still seem to have is a pretty tight grip on the music flowing into radio stations, particularly the corporate controlled (*cough*ClearChannel*cough*) ones; but the relevance of that mode of distribution is fading daily. Particularly if your audience is in a younger demographic, it doesn't seem like radio play is necessarily the requirement for sales that it once was.

      I guess maybe I'm not a musician and I don't understand the desire for fame that might lead someone to believe that being nationally recognized is a good thing per se, versus making the same amount of money as a regional band, and not feeling like they're taking it up the ass every day. If someone can explain what the value proposition of the record labels is, in today's economy, where it's widely known that they compensate artists poorly and essentially do nothing but take your music as payment for questionable PR campaigns, I'd be interested.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:34AM (#15946575) Journal
        [...] if they have any management skills at all, or know where to find someone who does [...]
        Aye, there's the rub.

        One place to find people with management skills is at a label. They'll take care of calling radio stations for airplay, sending promotional versions out, arrange tour dates, and getting your name known in the business. All you have to do is be creative.

        Of course, they'll also take the lions share of the money. But, hey, where else will someone pay you to just sit around and strum on your guitar and come up with songs?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chemicalscum (525689)
          One place to find people with management skills is at a label. They'll take care of calling radio stations for airplay, sending promotional versions out, arrange tour dates, and getting your name known in the business. All you have to do is be creative.

          Wrong the aim of the big labels is not to promote creativity but stifle it. They are only interested in producing "product" and ripping off artists. They try to force artists in to producing what they regard as fitting into a percieved market. Their aim i

  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:49PM (#15946436)
    Are they performing the albums in their entirety at live performances?

    Or selling singles/releasing singles to radio?

    Seems they are defeating their own argument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by walnutmon (988223)
      I have heard this argument quite a lot in this thread, but you have to realize that isn't really a very good analogy to releasing their music in albums.

      A live concert is for fans who have shelled out to come see them, in person, they are going to give a full performance for their fans. The songs are generally already known by fans, that is why they went to the concert. It would be more like the artist doing concerts, but a fan could simply pay 3 dollars to hear a couple of the songs, and they leave during
  • by slapyslapslap (995769) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:50PM (#15946441)
    The bands who have concerns about their art being sold as a complete work have fans that go buy the CD anyway. If it's really a good album band (not just a one hit wonder) I want the physical media in hand, full quality and with all the artwork.
  • by Quasicorps (897116) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:54PM (#15946457) Homepage
    It's strange how Radiohead have chosen to do this, considering they were one of the first major bands to offer MP3 downloads to the public. Kid A was released for free online before in stores, and they found it advantageous. This was at the same time as their refusal to release singles or advertise the album in order to sell it purely on its merits.

    Radiohead made Kid A top the charts, both here (UK) and America, through online publicity.

    Perhaps it is since the culture of iPods is to create playlists and to "shuffle" that they wish to avoid it, and their release on the internet was in the idea that people still listened to music, downloaded or not, as a whole work, as if on CD.

    Often called pretentious, the desire to have your work viewed and heard as a whole appeals to an older perception of music, one that I personally still subscribe to. It holds the idea of an album as a progression, as something that has a beginning and a conclusion, such as one might expect from a traditional symphony.

    It can be very discouraging to an artist when an entire medium is practically devoted to destroying that construction. And if they care more about their artistic integrity than making further sales, I can only applaud them.

    • by today (27810) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:24AM (#15946546) Homepage
      It can be very discouraging to an artist when an entire medium is practically devoted to destroying that construction. And if they care more about their artistic integrity than making further sales, I can only applaud them.
      Partial listening has been a problem since opera houses seated people after the first act, since needles on record players could be dropped anywhere, since tape players had a fast-forward feature, and since CDs had a track skip feature.

      The only thing iTunes adds is the ability to partially pay for parts of the music. Before iTunes, you had to pay for the whole thing even if you didn't listen to it all.

      So this obviously has nothing to do with "integrity". It has to do with getting paid for stuff people don't want to buy.
    • by chris_eineke (634570) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:36AM (#15946579) Homepage Journal
      Often called pretentious, the desire to have your work viewed and heard as a whole appeals to an older perception of music, one that I personally still subscribe to. It holds the idea of an album as a progression, as something that has a beginning and a conclusion, such as one might expect from a traditional symphony.
      Then why not sell the album as one track?

      (I'll let that sink in for a while.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Daltorak (122403)
      It's strange how Radiohead have chosen to do this, considering they were one of the first major bands to offer MP3 downloads to the public. Kid A was released for free online before in stores, and they found it advantageous. This was at the same time as their refusal to release singles or advertise the album in order to sell it purely on its merits.

      Uhhh, no, you've got that completely wrong. Kid A was *leaked* onto the Internet in its entirety a few months before the album's release, and bootlegs of perfor
  • by clontzman (325677) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:54PM (#15946461) Homepage
    It's not like Beatles and Radiohead albums are hard to come by, both new and used -- who cares if they're sold on iTunes or not? Is there anyone who wants to buy the Beatles catalog who hasn't already purchased them on CD?

    Online music stores (especially the subscription ones) are great for discovering new or obscure music, and they're ideal for buying a single on an album that's otherwise lousy, but the Beatles and Radiohead -- the most common holdout examples used -- don't fit any of those descriptions.
  • Sweet, sweet irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:55PM (#15946462)
    Since record companies have realized the popularity of iTunes and other sites, many reworked contracts to give artists less money per download.

    The irony is that with online distribution, artists don't need to go through their record company middlemen anymore. They can sell their music directly through services like iTunes and claim their profits for themselves. All that's needed is for a few musicians with some guts to stand up to the people holding their leashes.
  • by venomkid (624425) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:03AM (#15946486)
    ...but I use CDBaby.com [cdbaby.com] to sell my music on iTunes [apple.com]. I actually make more money per song than I would per song per physical CD sold, which is how it should be. I also get paid per play on subscription services. And while that's just a fraction of a cent, it does tend to add up if someone likes a CD and listens to it often.

    I chalk this one up to major labels just being bloated and greedy.

  • These idiots (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tweekster (949766)
    also consider it a crime to play a cd on random or listen to just one track.

    so it is their loss, the whole concept of integrity of the work art is just plain bullshit. They created the work for us to enjoy, not for themselves to tell us how to enjoy.
    • Re:These idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by walnutmon (988223) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:34AM (#15946574)
      First, you are completely wrong, second... What makes them idiots?

      If you listen to albums that are simply a collection of songs made in a certain time span for a certain end date, then those artist will likely not care if it is sold in bits and peices on the internet. However, the bands that will take exception are the more progressive ones that see music as more than easy money. Frank Zappa devoted a large portion of his songs to making fun of people like you.

      I doubt very much that Radiohead really cares about the extra money they lose because a handfull of people like you will not give them your extra 10 cents to listen to Creep. There is a reason for that too. It is because they are the artists, and the really good ones who deliver consistantly good music don't really care about marginal increases in profits, they care about making something that they feel is worth producing. They actually had an idea, and if you only listen to a small portion of their idea, they would rather you not listen at all. May seem like strange reasoning, but I guarantee a large portion of the greatist creative minds throughout history would echo Radioheads sentiments.

      They created the work for us to enjoy, not for themselves to tell us how to enjoy.

      Actually, many good artist are pretty damn narcisistic. They probably would rather someone like you die than enjoy one of their songs, just due to the principle of someone who "doesn't understand art" shouldn't be dancing to their backbeat.

      Basically, what it comes down to, is while I agree that it may be their loss in some ways, they probably don't care about it very much. And that is what makes them different, it doesn't make them idiots.
  • Radiohead (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:04AM (#15946494)
    All of Radioheads catalogue is available on warchild. It's like iTunes but it all goes to charity.

    Whoever said iTunes needed to get all the goods.
  • by twitter (104583) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:08AM (#15946504) Homepage Journal
    The story drones on asserting that 50 and 60 year old bands are resisting the itunes move for artistic reasons like not being able to force the album format. Anyone who wants me to listen to a whole album is free to put it all on line anytime they want. I'll be happy to check it out, and then add it to whatever playlist I feel like. The story also mentions the artists not getting a fair share of the earnings and this key point:

    For musicians, it's another way to resell their entire catalogs to fans who want the songs in multiple formats, he said.

    Musicians my ass, this is being driven by the media companies. They are dying for a change of formats like album to CD. Album to tape did not do it for them and CD to lossy format outside of DRM and device maker collusion won't either. Yeah, I'd like the artist to get their fair share too. Reselling DRM'd versions of the exact same thing every 10 years is not my idea of a fair share. Only a few RIAA poster boys think iTunes is really a fair deal.

    The device collusion is not happening, so it's all a dead issue.

  • Magnatune (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mutende (13564) <klaus@seistrup.dk> on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:09AM (#15946508) Homepage Journal
    Andrews said while record companies once offered artists about 30 cents for each song sold, now musicians are earning less than a dime.
    Perhaps musicians should consider hooking up with companies like Magnatune [magnatune.com] and keep 50% of each purchase...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Y-Crate (540566)

      Perhaps musicians should consider hooking up with companies like Magnatune [magnatune.com] and keep 50% of each purchase...

      This sort of thing comes up often, and I will explain why it's simply not a viable option.

      Apple does not determine the amount each artist receives from a sale at the iTunes store. Each artist's contract with their respective label determines that. If you are in a contract that will screw you out of money from iTunes sales, then you will almost certainly not have the rights to sell y

  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:24AM (#15946541)
    I tend to buy whole albums simply because I'm a music pack rat; however, I can't stand musicians who complain about people not appreciating the entirety of their albums.

    Give me a fucking break. Most top 40 artists already prescribe to a 3-6 minute song model, segment their album for radio play, and don't maintain any overwhelming unity between tracks. Moreover, they've been doing this for DECADES.

    People have grown accustom to picking and pulling individual songs. We been promoting this model long before iTunes came around. If respecting the whole GD album was so damn important everyone would be producing albums like The Wall and releasing them on 8 Tracks.
  • Easy Solution. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kaenneth (82978) on Monday August 21, 2006 @12:42AM (#15946595) Homepage Journal
    Just sell the entire 'album' as a single 'track', for $.99
  • Album integrity (Score:3, Informative)

    by phorm (591458) on Monday August 21, 2006 @01:24AM (#15946703) Journal
    I'd agree and disagree, as this really depends on the album.

    Playing the tracks of Pink Floyd's Pulse out of order or with tracks missing loses impact. Playing the good track of shitty-CD-with-two-good-songs without the crappy tracks is an improvement
  • by SEE (7681) on Monday August 21, 2006 @01:30AM (#15946717) Homepage
    Yeah, this is total speculation, but what better way for Apple Corp to say "fuck you" to Apple Computer than to make the release of the Beatles' music in electronic format in WMA, on the 88-cent-a-track Wal-Mart music store, as part of the Zune player launch?

    And how much do you think Microsoft would pay Apple Corp to be able to say that Zune plays the Beatles, but iPod doesn't?
  • This is why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kuvter (882697) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:05AM (#15946804) Homepage
    I only by CD from the artist at the concerts I see them at. If we all do this we'll be supporting the artist and treating them the way they deserve to be treated.
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Monday August 21, 2006 @02:49AM (#15946894)

    Some feel that per-track downloads hurt the artistic integrity of albums as a whole

    Then they shouldn't complain when I download the .rar of their albums :)

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