iTunes Music Store: Facelift for a corrupt industry

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 09, 2003

iTunes Music Store: Facelift for a corrupt industry.

Reader comments

LiedoSep 09, 2003 at 1:48PM

That's slick.

Makes me feel bad for using emusic and allofmp3 though...

mfSep 09, 2003 at 2:08PM

metafilter discussion on this somewhat silly polemical site.

Anony MouseSep 09, 2003 at 2:48PM

Maybe the problem isn't Apple, but rather, the mindset that music is a commodity. This site is on all fours, blowing musicians -- they think they're slamming Apple but guess what? They're the ones with a dick down their throats. Get a job like everyone else, you slackers!

AdamSep 09, 2003 at 4:04PM

Jeez, a little harsh there, don't you think Mouse. I think the Downhill Battle site is just trying to remind people that there's still a way to go with fixing the music industry, and that iTunes doesn't solve all its problems.

Also, what about Wired's take on 18 cents per song instead?

Phillip WinnSep 09, 2003 at 6:03PM

Blame Apple for the label's problems gets you what? A link from Kottke, apparently. There are options.

DaveSep 09, 2003 at 7:04PM

It is rather silly. Substitute "The Grocery Store" for "iTunes Music Store," "Oranges" for "Music," "Farmers" for "Musicians," and "Food Distributors" for "Labels." Makes for a shallow argument.

Maybe we should liberate oranges and finally give farmers 100% of what consumers pay for oranges! What good is the middle man when farmers can just sell direct?! In fact, I may go to my grocery store tonight and say, "Listen, I'll just take whatever I want and if I enjoy it, I'll send the farmer some money for what I think it was worth. Thanks. Bye."

Or maybe artists should build their own online music distribution service, market it, and maintain it. Maybe they'll find out 35 cents per song isn't such a bad deal or maybe it is.

Or maybe artists should not sign with labels and instead market and distribute their music themselves. Maybe they'll find out that 50 cents per song isn't such a bad deal or maybe they won't.

Or maybe artists should shut up and make smart decisions. If I sign a contract saying I'm giving away 90% of my earnings, then I would probably expect to only receive 10% of my earnings until my contract ends.

I guess I have a hard time understanding how labels or online music distribution sites like iTunes are corrupt. If someone really believes the record labels are corrupt, why don't they sue them?

SteveSep 09, 2003 at 8:10PM

As I often do in this sort of discussion, I'll point everyone to the Future of Music Coalition. It's run by some very smart, talented people (the executive director is Jenny Toomey of the great DC band Tsunami and the now-disbanded Simple Machines indie label) with a deep distaste for the current state of the music industry who are also trying to tease out exactly how musicians are expected to make money in the shiny digital future. FoMC does actual policy analysis, makes actual recommendations, and shows signs of actual thought. Downhill Battle, on the other hand, makes rather snappy Apple parody sites.

George KaplanSep 09, 2003 at 8:54PM

Load. Of. Crap.

MSep 10, 2003 at 12:26AM

Uhh what about the RIAA?


With lawyers like this can you really blame apple for kissing record company ass, just to make cents on a dollar?

Jim RaySep 10, 2003 at 1:34AM

The one thing that this rather creative bit of pilfering glosses over is that artists, those poor saps that this information-wants-to-be-whatever-I-want-it-to-be idealist is so ardently defending, sign the contracts that shackle them to RIAA trough. And once that happens, well, guess what? you don't own your music any more. Sony does. BMG does. Just ask Michael Jackson. Better yet, ask Paul McCartney.

Given that artists don't actually own their own recordings, Apple, or anyone else wishing to sell music online, could have a) signed only bands that are uncommitted to the piracy of the major labels b) negotiated with the actual copyright owners (the labels) for broad ownership rights to reasonably affordable downloadable music.

Option a) is the approach eMusic has taken and, as an eMusic subscriber, I wish them luck. For my $15/month, I get an amazing selection of jazz, indie rock, world and non-mainstream hip-hop. Option b) is, obviously, the approach Apple has taken, not only with major label bands, but indies, too. For the times when my tastes run a bit more mainstream, I dole out my $.99 a track - currently over 200 songs strong, mostly album downloads. Would something like the downhillbattle plan work? Perhaps, but only when a critical mass of users and musicians see online distribution as viable. While I'm hopeful, I don't see it happening yet.

In the meantime, these wankers should try to implement the system they're squawking about - I wish them nothing but luck.

Phillip WinnSep 10, 2003 at 10:34AM

The downhillbattle plan didn't work so well when it was called mp3.com. It's working a little better as emusic, but though they get my money and some others', they don't even have the best indies, let alone anything like popular mainstream stuff. I'll always thank emusic.com for introducing me to a few new artists that I now love passionately, but overall I'm probably spending too much for too little.

And the downhillbattle crew are naive at best.

DaveSep 10, 2003 at 12:07PM

They complain that artists only receive 11 cents for each download from iTunes and then suggest we buy used cds? How much of that $5 eBay purchase goes back to the artist?

clappstarSep 12, 2003 at 12:36PM

Off topic:

Did anyone notice how hard it is to grab an image off their page? They display all their images as background-image so you can't just right click save/steal it. This technique is a new one to me.

For people running a photo website or something like that this would be a better way to protect your images from the non-tech savvy web visitor than the right click disable javascript like you see on Noah Grey's web site. Very clever I'd say.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.