SFGate on Apple’s iTunes Music Store as ‘mild rebellion’ rather than revolution

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes, Music, Technology
May 22nd, 2003 • 10:25 pm

Mark Morford has a good column at SFGate.com on the Apple iTunes Music Store and its far-less-than-revolutionary approach when it comes to compensating artists fairly for their work:

Highway To $0.99 Hell – Apple’s iTunes music store: A rockin’ revolution, or same ol’ corporate song and dance?

This is the tragic flaw, the biggest disappointment of Apple’s much-vaunted service. It is the underlying unfair evil that, if you’re at all aware of the music industry’s long-standing vow to gouge your ass to high heaven and screw their own artists out of royalties and keep the prices of antiquated CDs artificially high and continue to promote slick prefab hit makers to the detriment of new, quirky, more talented indie acts, bites your attuned consumerist butt every step of the way. Apple could’ve gone for revolution. They settled for mild rebellion.

Of course, it’s probably asking way too much of Apple to revolutionalize the entire music industry at one fell swoop, and, in that, Morford’s expectations are unrealistic. I too am disappointed by the poor selection of music available so far, and by the fact that there is no indication that artists are getting a bigger piece of the cake in online sales than with regular CD sales.

On the other hand, you cannot help but feel that the iTunes Music Store at least provides the building blocks for a more revolutionary approach… some time in the future.

After all, if the store becomes really successful in the long term, then artists might be in a position to renegotiate their contracts by arguing that record company costs are now much lower. And if Apple enlists a great number of independent labels and artists and these artists generate decent enough sales through the store, then it will help break the current status quo and get more artists to leave the mainstream and enter the new streams of online artistic proliferation.

Let’s be a bit patient here.

2 Responses to “SFGate on Apple’s iTunes Music Store as ‘mild rebellion’ rather than revolution”

  1. Tom says:

    This isn’t the fault of apple but of the major label record contracts. An independent artist signed up to itunes via an outlet such as CD baby’s digital distribution program would receive closer to 50cents from that 99 cents, a major label artist only 11 cents!

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    As I said, I’m hoping that this is only the very beginning… The ultimate goals would be 1) better compensation for the artists; 2) access to a much wider selection for the music lovers. As it stands, the iTunes Music Store fails to realize these goals. But it can still happen. The more successful the store is, the more clout/leverage it will have against the major labels.

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