Heard this before? Music industry isn’t sold on iTunes

August 28, 2008

kid-rock.jpgOnce again, record companies are questioning the wisdom of selling music on iTunes. This time, the griping shows up the Wall Street Journal.

Basically, the argument is that music companies are starting to believe that selling single songs through Apple’s iTunes is bad for the industry (an industry, by the way, that is badly depressed and counts heavily on iTunes for sales and promotion).

The case for steering clear of iTunes is made through the example of Kid Rock’s “Rock ‘n Roll Jesus” album, which wasn’t sold through Apple’s site. Yet the album still sold an impressive 1.7 million copies, the article points out…

“In so many ways it’s turned our business back into a singles business,” says Ken Levitan, Kid Rock’s manager. Mr. Levitan says the rise of iTunes is far from being a boon to the industry; instead, he calls it “part of the death knell of the music business.”

Complaints from the music industry about iTunes are nothing new. Are executives are just looking a gift horse in the mouth? Or perhaps they have a point. Either way, as paidContent points out, there aren’t really any viable options out there right now.

In any case, trying to develop alternatives to monopoly distribution is always admirable, and indeed, desirable in the long run, but the more pertinent question is: if not iTunes, then what? 

Meanwhile, there is still the larger problem of piracy. In Los Angeles yesterday, federal officials arrested a man on suspicion of violating copyright laws for placing songs on the Internet from an unreleased album by rock band Guns N’ Roses.

Keep an eye on: 

  • Vimpelcom signed a distribution deal with Apple Inc. to sell iPhone 3G in Russia (Reuters)
  • TiVo posted a profit in the second quarter, but warned of a wider-than-expected loss next quarter (Reuters
  • Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner picked William Schenck as the magazine’s latest publisher (NY Post)

(Reuters photo of Kid Rock)


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The record industry is a business; there’s no entitlement to guaranteed sales and profits. My suggestion to them is embrace the new technology- stop resisting and whining.

Posted by BradOrlando | Report as abusive

It’s not I-Tunes fault that it’s become a singles market – it’s solely because of the musically inept A&R staffs and crap “albums” they put out. If they found great artists who made great music that was developed over time, they’d be way more successful. It’s been their choosing to put out singles and cram a bunch of filler on the rest of the album.

I buy albums on I-Tunes all the time – “classic” albums, not the crap they pawn off as albums – Kid Rock??? Gimme a break – he’s the biggest joke, maybe if he could sing slightly in key, he’d sell more records. It’s time to take a look in the mirror record companies, you’re not doing your jobs and I’m happy to see you fall from grace – good riddance!

Posted by jboz | Report as abusive

I am behind here I guess. I still buy all of my albums on CD. I never even bought an I-Pod yet. I like the CD format.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

The music industry doesn’t realize that most of the albums coming out now SUCK! It’s the same old pop garbage that has to do more with how you look and how famous you are rather than if you can sing, play an instrument or god forbid WRITE YOUR OWN MUSIC! That’s what the music industry feeds on. Most of the time people would buy an album for one song they heard off the radio and get stuck with a bunch of filler junk anyways. If people want singles, whats wrong with that? Put out a good album and people will buy it. The music industry is killing itself – no need to blame it on anything. If they want to change that, get some original artists for god sakes that can actually make a good album.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

…“In so many ways it’s turned our business back into a singles business,” says Ken Levitan, Kid Rock’s manager…

Also, why does music have to be about business anyways? It’s about art. Get your mind out of the business thinking, and that might help for something that’s creative and original – something I’ve never heard from Kid Rock myself.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

When ever you get a chance, please check out ZOOKFIND.com and iwant2search.com
Thanks and have a great weekend

Posted by Lance Kaplan | Report as abusive