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Record Labels Push for iTunes Price Hike 971

Posted by michael
from the cash-cow dept.
csteinle writes "Looks like the major labels are getting their own way again. The New York Post reports that the price per track may be going up to $1.25, while the per album price for some albums could go as high as $16.99. The Register has its own take on this, too. Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?" Update: 05/07 19:15 GMT by M : Apple says their prices won't increase.
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Record Labels Push for iTunes Price Hike

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  • by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085606) Homepage Journal
    Ok... I understand why the RIAA wants to make more money off each track. There are only two or three good tracks on each CD. But to jack some prices up over what most new CDs are sold for in stores? How does that make any sense at all?

    It's so fucking stupid that I want to rip my nuts off, cook them, and then eat them. Note to RIAA: YOU ARE A BUNCH OF FUCKING IDIOTS. God... I just can't stand it. They're begging for us to pay for music. Some people do. Now they want more money from those people while giving them less than they would by buying the CD in the store.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085607) Homepage
    Apple's willingness to allow some singles to be priced higher than 99 cents indicates the company feels empowered by its current success in the download market and sees a chance to boost profits from the sales of digital music.

    This does NOT mean anything of the sort. It means that if Apple wants to sell these songs on its online store it has to bow to the wishes of the music cartels. It's their music afterall.

    You know, I have downloaded less than 10 songs since the height of the Napster/Kazaa days (2000/2001?) and the rest have been songs that are legally available for free. Why the hell are we bothering to support the cartel's music? You realize that they are going to keep pushing and pushing (with bait-and-switch if necessary) to keep online downloads out so that they can reign supreme in the sales of music.

    Support only the artists that allow the free taping and distribution of their music! Do NOT let the cartels continue to dictate to you and your favorite artists how the music you love will be distributed and at what cost.
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085614) Journal
    Every time I hear about record labels these days I'm forced to think about the indies, who create the best music and get paid the least. My only hope is that a site like mp3.com will learn from the mistakes of mp3.com and come up with a solution for indies to profit and truly compete against big labels with more even footing. Nobody likes a grudge match like I do. :-)

    Bait and switch concepts always fail business, and it looks like Apple will have to cave to the pressure from groups like the RIAA (who happen to be in love with shady business practices). Drug dealers do the same thing; $0.99 for the first hit and then you get gouged when you're hooked! Maybe taco was right after all [slashdot.org]?!?
  • bound to happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alecks (473298) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085635) Homepage
    This was inevitable i suppose. I'm sure people will still continue buying, and slashdot will continue bitch. Life goes on...
  • Extra money? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085640) Journal
    If i *knew* that money was going to the artists, i'd be okay with it. Since i know it's not, fuck 'em; i won't buy. Free streams are doing just fine for me.
  • by danielrm26 (567852) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085643) Homepage
    Fine -- they can have it their way. The $.99 model was working fairly well, and a decent number of people were actually entertaining the notion of paying for music. This development will prove, yet again, that greed is running this show -- not fairness.

    Until there is a "fair" alternative, meaning it's accepted as fair to the majority of open-minded and reasonable people, we will continue to see a well-defined, concerted effort to make music available for free.

    iTunes was a step forward, and this represents 3 steps backward. It's a slap in the face to those who were actually paying for what was available for free. Expect them to be punished severely, in the form of greatly increased P2P activity.
  • Bad? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by seigel (94101) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085644)
    I thought there was a bad word to describe when a parent company forces a price that a retailer has to sell a product for....

    Oh...wasn't that practice illegal as well?

    Cheers
    J
  • In response to myself:

    From the register
    At the 99-cent price, only about 10 cents from each song sale goes to Apple's bottom line, with about 70 cents going to the record labels and the other 20 cents paying for credit-card fees and distribution costs, sources say.

    AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    they're making a $0.70 profit on each song sold and doing absolutely no work to get it! kill me now! Armageddon has come! Jesus fuck this drives me insane. So now they need $0.95 per song?
  • Who's boss? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:38PM (#9085664)
    Time to threaten, noisily, a boycott?

    Am all for Apple but the record labels need to know who's boss. Namely the customers.
  • by gb506 (738638) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:38PM (#9085667) Homepage
    When are the record labels going to understand that their product isn't worth what they want to charge?

    It's like the NBA - a big marketing scheme where the underlying product does not have the appeal nor the value their pushers would like us to assign...
  • by SollyCholly (777496) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:39PM (#9085680)
    The good 'ole Walton family stands to make a pretty petty (and a good bit of market share) if they can use their clout to keep the prices at their music service at $.99

    Sorry Charlie........
  • by dewke (44893) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085691)
    Since when has anything that the RIAA done made any sense? Now that the prices are going up, there will be a drop in online sales, and the RIAA can blame itunes for lower album sales.

    Either that, or they want to push apple out of the business so they can establish their own stranglehold on music.
  • by mobiux (118006) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085702)
    As more people realize that iTunes is a viable option to the $18 cd, it will push the RIAA and its demon member companies to lower it's prices.

    Now if they raise the price, the RIAA can hold onto its CD monopoly for a little while longer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:41PM (#9085713)
    While my initial assumption is that Apple is probably happy to make a tiny profit on the iTMS in order to drive sales of its cash cow iPod, my guess is that a price hike might have been on their sales roadmap.

    Sorry to use a cliche, but...

    1. Offer songs for $.99 to get people hooked on buying online
    2. Increase price of song by $.26
    3. Wait until people get used to that, then increase price of song to $2.00
    4. Profit!

    My gut tells me that this is not going to happen, as Apple has plenty of money in the bank to run the store at its current price point. Speaking as someone who works in an establishment that has priced itself out of interest for almost all of our local demographic, I sure hope that if they raise the prices, they know what they're doing.

    MG
  • by PTBarnum (233319) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:42PM (#9085727)
    The article seems to imply that the record labels were the ones who were asking for the higher prices, but it doesn't offer any particular evidence for that inference. In fact, the whole article seems very short on evidence, even in the form of quotes from their unnamed sources.

    I suspect that the reporters found out that the price is going up, but have no real clue what happened in the negotiations.

    Isn't it possible that Apple wanted to increase their profit margins just as much as the record labels did?
  • by themaddone (180841) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#9085731)
    So now, as retailers drive up the price, it's now going to be cheaper to by your non-DRM CD from Target or Wal*Mart or wherever than to get a DRM restricted album from iTunes et al? I'm sorry, I don't get it.

    Cheaper promotion + Cheaper distribution + Cheaper Capital costs is supposed to equal Lower Prices (tm).

    In order for online distribution to succeed, there has to be some sort of critical mass of consumers -- without them, the business won't be profitable, and it's locked in a death spiral of having to raise prices and losing more customers.

    At some point, the music industry just might have to accept that its no longer profitable to run business in this way. Music has been around a lot longer than the recording industry, and will be around a lot longer than when the industry disappears. The sooner they get that lesson through their heads, the sooner we can stop having the exact same discussions on /. all the time.
  • pretty simple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by discogravy (455376) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:44PM (#9085751) Homepage
    it's the golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:45PM (#9085760) Homepage
    it's called "bait and switch" and I was expecting it all along. They knew that they would suck you in with the idea of a song for less than a buck (and plenty of people posted here that they were willing to pay just that).

    So now they want more money (because it's actually working) and they want to basically make it stupid for you to buy an album from iTunes because they are more expensive than the $12.99 you can pay at Walmart.

    Ahh, the cartels... I won't repeat my suggestion for what everyone should do.

  • Re:Caveat emptor! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:45PM (#9085765)
    You're right, but I'm not so pessimistic. The last time Apple changed their terms, they got *better*. You can now share music on five computers instead of three, which is a very nice trade for a decrease in the number of times you can burn an identical CD.

    So unless you *really* need to mass-produce CDs in batches of 10 instead of batches of 7, all's well.
  • by phats garage (760661) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#9085800) Homepage Journal
    It does suck. As everybody has pointed out already, this price is for any song irregardless if its new or old, and the old songs have like zero costs to them, they've made their promotion costs, theres no media costs, this is simple pricing in reaction to rising demand. Apple should in reality get bigger cuts of the pie for older stuff, they're the one taking the risk of the online music venture.

    Pricing for new music should be high, older stuff could be much lower. If older stuff would be priced less (in any format), I'd buy a ton of music, but right now I don't bother.

  • by weston (16146) <westonsd@canncen ... g minus caffeine> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#9085809) Homepage
    This is potentially great for independent artists -- offering downloads at $.99 or $.90 per song now will make you seem competetive. And all you have to do is make sure you don't suck (at least, less than stuff on the radio).
  • I know! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Carr (1788) <slashdot.org@simoncarr.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#9085816) Homepage
    And it's not just dumb because they're making the price higher, but they're making the EASILY COPYABLE audio CD format competetive again!

    I mean what the crap? On one hand they're trying to secure their intellectual property, and on the other they're deterring people from a format that secures their intellectual property with out-of-whack pricing?

    Dumbasses! This is a strategic blunder, how do they not see it? In a weird turn of the tables, I'm mad about it because they're so obviously proliferating a problem they're trying to solve.

    I should be happy, because it means the long life of easily "shareable" audio CDs, but somehow I'm not..
  • by TechnoPope (516563) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#9085823) Homepage
    I get the feeling that Apple really didn't want this to happen. Raising the prices reduces the "deal" of downloading the album. As others have pointed out, why pay 16 bucks for an encrypted, DRM'd copy of an album that you have restricted rights to; when for 18 dollars you can have a CD that you can do what ever to. Steve Jobs and Co. probably only agreed to this out of fear of losing the rights to distribute music. While selling music online helps the RIAA, it does not do so enough for Apple to really leverage their position on the pricing. From the vantage point of Apple, they need the RIAA more than the RIAA needs them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085834)
    On top of that, they're just starting to get these online music stores off the ground. Right now it's a toss-up whether they'll end up being a success or not, and doing price increases this early in the process won't help the stores' chances at survival.
  • by deadmongrel (621467) <karthik@poobal.net> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085840) Homepage
    Alright here's a conspiracy theory. Sony could be the reason behind the hike. New player enters a market dominated by apple and apple's price per song increases? I bet sony would remain at 99c and isn't sony a major music label? Also Ipods were the main target of apple not pusing songs so i guess they won't care much now.
  • by lotsofno (733224) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085860)
    really, the best route for anyone wanting to listen to music is to stick to more independent material--there's enough good stuff out there to last you several lifetimes.

    that way, when you buy a song from Magnatune, Bleep, or Audiolunchbox, you WON'T be:

    1.) sending your cash to the RIAA
    2.) attributing to the success of a service that fronts the RIAA, supporting the operation of tyrannous record labels with your cash
    3.) supporting propietary DRM
    4.) locking yourself into using iTunes or an iPod as your portable player

    by opting for other services that aren't iTunes/Walmart/Sony/Rhapsody/etc.., you WILL be:

    1.) sending more cash to the musicians you like
    2.) attributing to the success of a service that better represents and compensates the musicians you like, without restricting how you listen to your music
    3.) free to listen to your music however you want, whether it be with winamp or foobar, linux or whatever OS you use, ipod or rio karma
  • by Adriax (746043) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085874)
    They're trying to kill legit online music so they can go back to CD sales in stores, their favorite way of doing business. Then they can work on squishing file trading online, and go back to their tried and true anal ra... business model.
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085875) Homepage
    Basically destroys the whole purpose of the service, doesn't it?

    What makes you so sure that isn't the RIAA's goal? The brick-and-mortar model is easier for the RIAA to exert control over, and the iTMS is exposing people to independent music that maybe they would have had a difficult time finding otherwise. Maybe the RIAA thinks its in their best interest to kill off online music and then go "see, online music doesn't work".
  • Re:bound to happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdan2k (135614) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:53PM (#9085902) Homepage Journal
    Well, I certainly won't be. I've spent a bit over $100 at the iTMS since it opened and, generally, have been pretty happy. At $0.99 per track, I've even been willing to experiment and give new artists a chance.

    If it goes to $1.25 per track, that's going to cause my purchasing to drop off considerable. Once again, greed's running the show at the RIAA, and once again, they're executing Operation: Footbullet faster and better than anyone.

    Want to complain to the top? Try dropping an email to sjobs@apple.com [mailto].
  • by sulli (195030) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#9085905) Journal
    They're digging their own graves. Let them.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#9085909) Journal
    ....not paying the artists....
  • Re:Allofmp3.com (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#9085917)
    Allofmp3 is a great service at the ULTIMATE price point... and getting my downloaded music in ogg?? *#&$*$&
  • by TheLoneDanger (611268) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#9085922)
    They're begging for us to pay for music.

    Since when does the RIAA beg? It commands, it guilts, it sues, it takes. The RIAA (and please remember which companies comprise it so they can't hide behind that acronym) believes that it has a right to your money, because they think they control music. Even if you only hear it in passing on someone else's radio, if you hear any music it must be theirs, and you have to pay something.

    They can't seem to understand that there is any use other use for P2P or CD-Rs than copying their music, so as a Canadian I pay money for CD-Rs that I've never used to copy (which is legal anyway) or distribute music. Of course, the CRIA now want it so that copying and sharing isn't legal, while also increasing the levy. I have to wonder if this price hike will be brought to Canadian music services, as we really are better off exercising the right to copy and share given to us by this damn levy.
  • by fadethepolice (689344) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:56PM (#9085953) Journal
    Isnt' this obviously illegal? In America price-setting cartels were outlawed after the era of oil, steel, and railroad monopolies. The i-tunes customers should contact the justice department. What is this russia?
  • Re:Allofmp3.com (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr.Sharpy (472377) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:57PM (#9085970)
    Please explain what makes this illegal. I don't see how it would be any different than importing a CD from a shop in Russia. It just seems to me like the advantage Allofmp3.com has is just a reality of international business brought to a consumer level.
  • The RIAA loves the new Napster, or at least, part of it. For those who aren't quite familiar with how the service works, users pay a monthly fee to subscribe to Napster. Then, based on the preferences of the copyright holder, users can either stream or download tracks for a one-time fee. Once the fee is paid, the user can listen to the song as many times as they want, but only downloaded songs can be loaded onto mp3 players, etc. for use away from the computer.

    The rub, of course, is that if a subscriber stop paying Napster a monthly subscription fee, she loses access to the music streams she's already paid for. It's brilliant, because in the end, the consumer gets nothing for their dollar but instant gratification. No file, no archived recording, just the experience of having heard Outkast encouraging them to "shake it like a Polaroid picture" to file away in their memory.

    The RIAA adores this. It makes them happy like dogs rolling in some particularly nasty filth. They look out and see the incredible use statistics counting the users of p2p and iTunes, and they start multiplying subscription fees on top of those numbers. It's the best deal possible for them, because they manage to make money by selling us no real assets.

    But iTunes style stores, where users are given individual copies of songs to keep and own, and use in perpetuity for a one-time fee? The RIAA hates this. It makes them sad, like a pet owner discovering that his dog has rolled in some particularly nasty filth. Instead of a recurring revenue stream that's locked into continuing to pay for the RIAA's existing products for life, each consumer instead is a fair deal. They get songs for a low one-time fee, they're able to get their music a la carte without having to buy dozens of filler tracks, and they're still offered the instant gratification that is the only real selling point the streaming model has to offer. The RIAA, in turn, is forced to continue producing new product at a high enough quality that they can continue to sell it to customers.

    Once you understand this, it's easy to see what the RIAA is doing: They're trying to shut down iTunes.

    By raising the cost of songs to $1.25, they're breaking the magic $1 price point. Anything under a buck, well hell, that's just a candy bar. Why not buy it? But $1.25, that's a 20oz. bottle of soda, a purchase that must be considered a little more carefully. They've broken the psychological barrier to impulse purchases that $.99 magically hovers below.

    By raising the price of full albums on iTunes to be equivalent to the cost of a physical CD bought in the store, the RIAA looks on the surface like they're creating a financial incentive to go and buy the album at a music store. But we all know that's not how this will work out.

    What will happen is that iTunes' sales will drop, but they won't be met with a commeasurate increase in sales at music stores. The RIAA knows that people accustomed to the iTunes Music Store will return to illegal acquisition of music via filesharing before they'll go to the store and buy it.

    In fact, they're counting on it, because once the iTunes music store is dead, they can say, "See? We tried, we put our best foot forward, but it just didn't work. These pirates aren't interested in paying." Then the lawyers can go to town, until there is no technological nor legal recourse available to escape their stranglehold on recorded music.

    It's not only evil, it's fucking brilliant.
  • by Cesaro (78578) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:05PM (#9086092) Journal
    If the record companies want an increase, why don't they show us where all the money is going? If they're not just lining their own CEO's and VP's pockets with extra cash, maybe the general populace would be a lot more receptive.

    I want to see the breakdown of the $0.99 song and of the $1.29 song

    $0.05 - Artist
    $0.10 - Production
    $0.10 - Advertising
    $0.05 - Distributor (apple, sony, etc that distribute the actual content to the consumer)
    $0.69 - Crappy executives that are earning about 69x more than they are actually worth.

    I want to know what the fixed and variable portions of the price breakdown are.

    Once industries learn that the consumer is not a babbling idiot I think the world will get a lot nicer. Treat me like a logical person. Look I understand that if I love Artist X, and everyone downloads artist X's music for free, and Artist X doesn't see a profit, Artist X is probably not going to make any more albums for me to enjoy.It *IS* that simple.

    The revolution I seek is not for FREE things, but it is to appropriately compensate those doing the work and cut out the fat cats of the RIAA and execs that just live off the fat of the land. I'm not here to shaft the artist at all, I'm here to shaft the leeches that are parasites clinging to and feeding off of the actual artists. The artist deserves money, the producers, the sound workers, all deserve to get compensated for their work, but I'd venture to say that most of the other costs are not really value adding to the product we receive.

    Love me, hate me. I want a world when you get what you deserve.

  • by w3weasel (656289) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:07PM (#9086126) Homepage
    This raises and interesting option for Apple.
    they should've done it long ago, but now is the time that they finally buy Apple Records outright, and end the occasional lawsuits, and long established contract that prevents Apple Computer from entering the Music Recording Industry.

    They should buy Apple Records, which would grant them the right to sign any and all free-agent and upcoming bands to the Apple label, distribute their music on ITMS, and they would sweep the industry because they could pay the artists ~50% royalties as opposed to the .2% - 12% the RIAA offers these artists. Apple would clean up, the musicians would clean up, and the RIAA would either be forced to reform and compete, or (I wish, I wish, I wish) finally die.

  • by daveo0331 (469843) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:08PM (#9086151) Homepage Journal
    At the 99-cent price, only about 10 cents from each song sale goes to Apple's bottom line, with about 70 cents going to the record labels and the other 20 cents paying for credit-card fees and distribution costs, sources say.

    Really? Funny how no one even mentions how much money the ARTISTS are getting out of the deal.

    Price of song 0.99
    Record label gets -0.70
    Credit card fees -0.20
    Apple's cut -0.10
    --------
    Artist royalty (0.01)
  • this makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rabbot (740825) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:09PM (#9086166)
    Let's raise the prices of legal downloadable music so people will stop downloading it illegally.

    Brilliant.
  • Excuuuuuse me? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cinderful (586168) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:10PM (#9086182) Homepage
    I would argue that independents have VASTLY more talent and VASTLY better production. A good majority of production you hear on major labels is auto-tuned to the point that the vocals on the recording don't necessarily represent the musicians actual voice. I don't know how you can argue that production is somehow 'worse' on smaller labels. Equipment and software is cheaper than it's ever been and I think it's leveling the playing field to the point that a good indie album sounds just as good if not better than a higher production major label release. Not to mention, old Zeppelin albums had crap production. But really, why are you still buying their albums? Are they still releasing them?!
  • by palutke (58340) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:13PM (#9086224)
    I believe the record labels are responsible for giving the artist their royalties. So they may get more than a penny . . .
  • by RatBastard (949) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:16PM (#9086260) Homepage
    On iTunes, Napster (the irony), Wal*Mart, et al, the artist gets the share the record company is conractually abliged to pay them. Whether that's 1 cent a song or 50 cents a song. Whatever pittance it might be, they do get payed.

    AllOfMP3 and other grey market Russian MP3 sites do not pay them anything at all. Maybe, just maybe they got a few pennies from the sale of the CDs that these companies bought to master their catalogs, but I really doubt that as well.
  • by gclef (96311) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#9086293)
    Theoretically, artist's royalties come out of the record label's cut. Whether that actually happens is an exercize left for the reader.

    Typically, artists get $1/CD, or about 1/16th of the selling price (after the labels recoup all sorts of insane costs). Assuming the same distribution of money, the artists *should* be getting somewhere between 99/16 and 70/16 or between 6 and 4 cents per song (depending on their contract).
  • Jerks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:19PM (#9086317) Journal
    File trading has been happening before iTunes and online music stores, and file trading will continue to happen after. By forcing people to purchase CD's at stores (through increased online purchases) the RIAA is paying extra for CD's, CD cases, CD covers, shipping, storage, building costs, man power, etc... So they want MORE money for doing LESS work. They are a bunch of jerk offs (as well know). Shouldn't there be a collusion/price fixing/anti trust suit against these guys for their actions?
  • by smcavoy (114157) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:19PM (#9086324)
    Supply and demand? How does that apply downloaded music?
    Supply of copies is unlimited, disturbution could be considered supply I guess. But I am sure Apple has a system that scales quite well.
  • by walt-sjc (145127) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:21PM (#9086358)
    Um, that's NEGATIVE penny in accounting format...
  • Re:Oh, please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drxenos (573895) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086380)
    I agree with most of what you are saying, but you cannot knock newer performers from imitating older ones, and morphing styles. That is no indication of their talent. Every generation of every form of art has done that. Even legends the likes of Led zepplin and Pink Floyd had their respective heroes, and copied their styles to a degree. That is how an artform evolves. Though, I do agree that there is a lot of crap out there today. Britney is hot, but talentless. Christina has an incredible voice, but her music is tripe. *I* think Branch is a very talented young lady, and so does the legendary Carlos Santana. You may not agree, but unlike the likes of Britney, et. al., she can actually play an instrument!
  • by mrfett (610302) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:23PM (#9086389) Homepage Journal
    I guess lots of people got on this bandwagon a while ago, but I was holding out hope that things could get better for artists if the iTMS was a stepping stone for the majors to wake up and change their business practices. I'm now convinced that the only way to see change for artists is to stop purchasing music sanctioned by the RIAA. Downhill Battle [downhillbattle.org] just won me over. Music lovers need to support the people making music, and I think that's best accomplished by supporting the independent labels and artists.

    If you need to have a song from the majors, then download it off the net for free. Period. Downhill Battle [downhillbattle.org] has some suggestions for staying below the RIAA lawsuit radar when running your P2P client. But better yet, just stop listening to RIAA music and get involved in the indie scene. Make it a change in your mindset, to eschew the marketing hype and think for yourself.

  • by carlivar (119811) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:23PM (#9086390)
    really, the best route for anyone wanting to listen to music is to stick to more independent material--there's enough good stuff out there to last you several lifetimes.

    Cool, let me know which independent bands are as good as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, U2, REM, Neil Young, etc.

    Most of the independent stuff I've heard has been mediocre, so I look forward to discovering which of it can make me forget my White Album or Dark Side of the Moon CDs!

    Carl

  • Question... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dJCL (183345) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:24PM (#9086406) Homepage
    I don't know a whole lot about the apple music store, as I don't download any of my tunes these days... but do they also re-sell independent musicians music?

    Basically, If I actually had the skill to write good music, produced my own tracks and wanted to sell them for $0.99 on their site, would there be a way?

    If so, maybe apple should consider a way to promote those artists a little more then the well known ones that are $0.26 more expensive.

    Anyway...

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:25PM (#9086416) Homepage
    ...is because non-RIAA bands can get "shelf space" right next to theirs, with previews so you can listen to, not only see an unknown name. I think they've started to see what iTMS would become, should it become successful (i.e. make a dent in physical CD sales, not biggest online shop).

    The RIAA is working very hard to keep their customers "in the dark" about other bands. Sure, the odd person may go "indie" but they don't want a mass of people to make something "indie" into "mainstream". I.e. take the "impressionable teenager that listens to what other teenagers listen to" market.

    After all, I'm sure there's more than enough music out there for me to listen to it 24/7 for the rest of my life without hearing anything twice, most of them non-RIAA (a lot of crappy ones too, but many good I'm sure). The iTMS could show it all.

    It's not the distribution channel they fear. It's the exposure to all sorts of music you can get through the iTMS. Imagine word-of-mouth going around "Check you band X on iTMS, they're really good". With instant previews, instant satisfaction, instant spreading the word, instant fame.

    Suddenly a band that never would have reached "critical mass" without the RIAA before, could make it big. Get your music up on iTMS, hit the "hip" people, the trendsetters, and you don't need a huge record contract, retail stores or a media blitz to make people hear and buy your song.

    You've got no problem with a million people suddenly wanting your song, no scale-up problems, no production delays, no distribution bottlenecks. Nothing. World-wide (well, not yet but iTMS will get there).

    That is why the RIAA will hold the online stores in a chokehold. Killing them would make them seem bad "they won't deliver what the customers want", too loose could shatter their hold on the market. Expect the DRM to become more and more anal.

    Then blame the consumer for not wanting it. "We tried to sell it online". It's perfect. They get to keep their profitable CD sales, the consumers look like the bad guys and Apple the "friendly" that really only wants to sell iPods. Which btw is quite happy as long as they're the biggest *online* shop, making most people buy iPods.

    Kjella
  • extortion ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uucp (459917) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:27PM (#9086443) Homepage
    Wait a fucking minute here. We've got 5 big media conglomerates coming together to discuss how to artificially increase the cost of their products. Exactly how is this not conspiracy and extortion? How does these actions allow for competitive market forces to drive the cost of their product to the peak price points according to the law of supply and demand? Why the fuck aren't these criminals in fucking jail where they fucking belong? Fucking anti-competitive un-American terrorist bastard dickheads. These scumbag assholes can fucking rot in hell.
  • by rossjudson (97786) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:31PM (#9086501) Homepage
    Downloadable music has exactly no appeal to me. If I can't buy the raw bits, there's no point to it. Fifteen years from now, is there going to be a new compression format? Of course. My old CDs can be re-ripped and re-compressed.

    My car player only does MP3, but AAC is a way better format. I can create both, and I can create the possible quality of MP3 for that environment.

    Raw bits let me create unprotected digital files and use them any way I want, and this is exactly what God intended us to do with information, dammit.

    iTunes -- Who Cares.
  • by prestidigital (341064) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086655) Journal
    The price for albums and songs just doesn't make any sense to me at all. A movie, like LOTR, might cost $100 million to make, and yet the DVD will come out - with TONS of EXTRAS - for about the same or less than the cost of most newly released albums (I saw Return of the King offered for $19.95 at my movie store, while the new Foo Fighters was $18.99 at Borders). Yet, what does it cost to produce an album? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it isn't anything even close to $100 million. Furthermore, a DVD released today for $20 will cost only about $10 just a few months after the initial release. Meanwhile, the Beatles White Album still costs something like $30 a full 20-some YEARS after it was released. One could argue that most of a movie's revenue is generated in theaters, and that albums don't have that same kind of outlet (concerts are significant added costs to bands & labels, while movie theater distribution probably doesn't cost movie makers much extra). But still, there are thousands of radio stations paying royalties and the cost of making an album is dramatically less than that of making movies.
  • by Kiryat Malachi (177258) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086656) Journal
    Apple fans.
  • by gclef (96311) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:48PM (#9086726)
    unless the record companies do what some claim they do, and attempt to recoup their initial expenditures from the royalty, rather than the gross profit from each individual sale

    I don't know about the majors, but I interned for an indie label a few years ago and that is exactly what they did. It was written into their contract with the band and everything. The owner was, in fact, proud of how badly he was screwing the folks who signed with him.

  • Re:AllOfMp3.com? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Contact (109819) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:50PM (#9086749)
    I've been using AllOfMP3.com for the past few weeks, and put about 40-50 dollars into it. The main draw for me was the ability to choose the encoding format, rather than the low cost - I grab everything at lame --alt-preset extreme, which tends to run at about 80-140 Mb per album, thus 80 to 140 cents.

    Their range is pretty good, and the site "feels" nicely put together (although it can sometimes be a little slow at peak times). They provide a download manager for free (called AllOfMP3 Explorer) which does clever stuff like automatically renaming and filing tracks, setting up your chosen options for ID3 tagging, and validating your downloads (and correcting any errors) using checksums. You can, of course, just download using standard HTTP if you'd prefer, but I've found it pretty handy.

    I initially assumed this was some sort of scam, but the general level of support and professionalism shown makes me suspect there's a fairly large business behind it, and they seem fairly confident that it's legal, at least in Russia.

    From a moral standpoint, I'd rather use a service where I knew that a reasonable amount of money went to artists, and I'd be willing to pay substantially more if one was set up... of course, the same criticism could be applied to the current major labels as well, who aren't exactly fair with their "clients" either.

    I used to buy a reasonable number of CDs (and I still do from indie labels) but the major labels have repeatedly shown that they're not interested in a a fair deal - they just want everything they can get. I don't feel too bad about returning the attitude.

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:52PM (#9086776)
    What the hell are you smoking?

    First, 10 cents out of every 99 is a very good profit margin, considering that Apple does not do anything other than distribute the tracks. In fact, that's an excellent profit margin


    Dunno, but you should go track him down and find him to get some....

    Out of that dime comes the R and D of iTunes for two platforms, the server farm, the massive pipes to said farm, the store itself and the ripping of the tracks for the store. And you think they're rolling in profits after paying that? Not likely....
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#9086782)
    They're trying to get people used to paying CD prices for downloaded music so they can phase out CD sales all together, thereby significantly curtailing the trade in mp3s, reducing their distribution costs to nil, and gradually moving people to a pay-per-use model for content consumption. It's the Entertainment Industry's Holy Grail. The IRS taught us long ago you don't hit people up for a ton of money up front, you take it from them bit by bit.
  • by kudsak (728665) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:54PM (#9086803)
    Has anyone else noticed that the NY Post article has an element of libel to it? They cleary state that an album by N.E.R.D. costs $16.99 on the iTMS, when it only costs $13.99, last time I checked. It seems that whoever wrote this article didn't take the time to verify simple facts. Can the rest of it be trusted? It seems unlikely to me that 10 after saying that single prices will not rise, Apple would raise them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:57PM (#9086850)
    RIAA members make money by casting nets throughout the distribution networks they control utterly through means of their cartel.

    New methods of distribution are a grave threat (literally) to their necessity, which in both business and nature is a swift road to extinction - unless those streams either emerge under strict controls, or are addressable through business or legal tactics.

    Internet music distribution is a bear of a problem to these people. There is no specific competitor to be bought out or sued, or specific technology to buy into; the fight against Napster underscored this point clearly.

    Furthermore, their entire livelihood - marketing and distribution of music - has morphed over the past decade into obsolesence. "Push" marketing - the only kind RIAA members know about - never fails to fail on the net, and "distribution management" is something that software can handle with far less overhead than RIAA is demanding from artists in meatspace.

    RIAA supporting music downloads is like Bush campaigning for Kerry. If legal music downloads take off, RIAA dies. It isn't any more complex than that. The net undermines all of their profit schemes.

    Notice how popular legal music downloads are getting? If they get too popular, who'll need RIAA? RIAA has been pushing against illegal alternatives, so they can't very well opt out without validating most every argument put against them as to their motive. So what other option do they have to curb the burgeoning frenzy? If legal downloads make overall music sales go up, what reason will they have to petition Congress or judges?

    IMO they're trying to make downloads so unattractive an option that most people either go back to illegal downloads or CD buying. In the case that it fails to stop legal downloads or increase CD sales, they still make a lot of money. It's a no-lose plan.
  • by nahdude812 (88157) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#9086942) Homepage
    Don't you see where this is going? Downloadable albums are more expensive in the stores and restricted with DRM. So people buy their albums in the stores anyhow.

    Now the RIAA can say, "You see, all this time people have been saying that it's the convenience of an electronic format they want" (which has not been our argument), "and when we offer it to them, electronic purchases are only 5% of the physical sales. These Internet music buyers are just pirates who are not happy to pay for music even when we give it to them the way they want," (which they're not).

    Good show RIAA. Red herrings for everyone.
  • Re:Oh, please (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dangermouse (2242) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:12PM (#9087044) Homepage
    Name a popular band and I'll name the one they are trying to rip off...

    That's ok, I can do it.

    Here's a partial list for your boys, Led Zeppelin:

    • Howlin' Wolf
    • Robert Johnson
    • Willie Dixon (they flat out stole his song, in toto)
    • Leadbelly
    • Bo Diddley
    • Mississippi Fred McDowell
    • Sonny Boy Williamson

    Don't get me wrong, I love Led Zeppelin. But this old-geezer crap about music these kids listen to today sucking is the same old-geezer crap that's been spouted by old geezers since at least the 30s. Do you think maybe it's just a matter of perspective?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:13PM (#9087053)
    This is the NY Post for Chrissakes! When have they ever been right about anything that nobody else knew about? Never! They have had, in regards to Apple, 1, count 'em ONE, correct 'prediction' (namely the beginning of the iTMS), and that was after everyone else on the net knew about it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:14PM (#9087067)
    They're trying to get people used to paying CD prices for downloaded music so they can phase out CD sales all together, thereby significantly curtailing the trade in mp3s, reducing their distribution costs to nil, and gradually moving people to a pay-per-use model for content consumption. It's the Entertainment Industry's Holy Grail.

    And when distribution costs are nil, what incentive will there be for any content producer to go through an XXAA member to get their art on the market?

    When distro costs are nil, what's to stop minor-league competitors from jumping in and offering less-restrictive competition that would be more attractive to consumers and therefore producers?

    Distribution is RIAA's raison d'être. Monopoly control over it is the only reason any producers put up with the majority fees on sale, the content manipulation and other bullshit. When they lose that, the house of cards comes down, DRM or no DRM.
  • First, 10 cents out of every 99 is a very good profit margin, considering that Apple does not do anything other than distribute the tracks. In fact, that's an excellent profit margin... For instance, Dell has a profit margin of only 6% on the computers they sell -- that would correspond to about 6 cents for a song. Try taking an Economics 101 class sometime.

    If that's what they're teaching in this mystical "Economics 101" class, I really don't want to take it.

    Apple's $0.10 on the dollar is not profit, it's revenue. As another poster pointed out that is before all of the costs associated with the iTunes store (development, servers, promotion, etc). Apple has said they make no money on iTunes.

    Dell's 6% profit is mostly profit. Although there are marketing and other considerations to take into account the main costs (hardware, software, assembly, customer support) are all paid for by the sale of the item. Dell's focus, like most comptuer manfucturers, is now on goods with higher profit margins. Examples of these are: extended warranties, printer consumables (HP's most profitable market), business services, etc.

    Perhaps they teach this in Economics 102?

    What the hell are you smoking?

    Actually, I rarely smoke. And on the rare occasion that I do, I usually smoke Djarum cloves. Gives me a nice little buzz and they smell quite nice. Thanks for asking. Any other questions about my personal consumption habits that you may want to know about? Or would you like to tell me what you learned in other amazing classes like "Art 101", "Computer Science 101", or "Pottery 101"?
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:20PM (#9087130)
    By forcing Apple to raise its prices to be compatible with store bought CDs the RIAA plans to kill its competition and piracy.

    If downloading music costs the same as a store bought CD ( or more ) most people will let the record companies do the work and give them a nice
    "store bought" package.

    End of legal downloadable music.

    Additionally, by temporarily allowing legal downloadable music to flourish ( in combination with their lawsuits for illegal downloading ) they have moved many people away and out of the habit of stealing music over the internet.

    If more people start stealing music over the internet again the RIAA can play martyr with an improved public image. "Hey, we let legal downloads happen and these people insist on stealing anyway".

    Steve
  • Re:Caveat emptor! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:26PM (#9087208)
    From the article:
    Meanwhile, some of the usage rules - such as how many times users can burn downloads - have been altered. For example, full playlists will now only be able to be burned seven times instead of the current 10.
    Retroactively decreasing the value of what you paid for is a retroactive price hike. Just like if you brought home a 5 lb. bag of sugar from the grocery store, and C&H decided they needed more money and came and took 2 lbs out of your bag - retroactively increasing the price per pound.

    Face it, if you're "investing" in a DRM music collection, you own nothing. You have no idea what your access to that music will look like in 10 years.

  • Re:AllOfMp3.com? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wtfover (741996) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:26PM (#9087211)
    I've been using it for a couple of weeks, and have put about $20 into it. I don't know about the legalities of the whole service, but i'm willing to pay their price just so i don't have to deal with all the negatives of kazaa and similar services - corrupted & mislabelled files, slow downloading speed, uploading to other people, etc. The additional features of chosing your own encoding and bitrate are just icing on the cake.

    That being said, the allofmp3 site sure *feels* legitimate, give or take the odd translation oddity from russian on the english site. It's a clean interface, well set up, and not full of ads or pop ups or whatnot. I did pay via paypal. Altho that's not my first choice, I do trust them with my credit card a little more than some random russian who-knows-what running the website.

    The only thing that set of bells in my head was their "Wanted" program. Basically, if there's a CD out there they want but don't have, you get credit if you use their program to upload a high quality digital version of it to them. That can't be legal, unless they then go out and obtain their copyright after?

    In a nutshell, if they have what I need, I'm now passing on the less-legal ways to download mp3s. So far, I've been impressed with these guys. I do wonder how long it will be before the RIAA trys to shut them down.
  • it's called "bait and switch" and I was expecting it all along. They knew that they would suck you in with the idea of a song for less than a buck (

    Point of order - technically it's not a 'bait and switch'. It's a 'jacking up the price now that you're hooked', which is different. Bait and switch would be advertising the store as .99 per track, and then adding a .25 per track "handling fee" or something. However, anything you've purchased for the .99 price is still yours, so there's no 'switch'.

    -T

  • Re:Allofmp3.com (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:48PM (#9087490) Homepage
    An equivalent reasoning would be that they make a copy in memory from the disk. Then transfer that copy onto a wire via DMA buffers (that are destroyed by the network driver right after they are on the wire). So the actual copy is made in Russia and then transferred to your country.

    Why ?

    Other option :
    In algebra, a number is only defined by it's value. Location has nothing to do with it. A 6 in the US is EXACTLY the same (in NO way you can make a distinction within the laws of algebra) as a 6 in Japan. Just think what the consequences would be if that were not the case. An mp3 is really a big number. If I were to ask you the difference between the mp3 on the disk in Russia and the mp3 on your disk, what would you answer ? Then I would test your answer. I would print both mp3's on a white piece of paper and I would ask you to point to the mp3 on your disk. If you really have a difference you should easily be able to do that. Therefore, there is no copy of that mp3. It is simply represented in 2 locations.

    Then there is the router problem. Once an internet stream gets into a router, which "copies" it onto another wire. Where does the "original" copy go ? Into oblivion. If that is a copy, routers are obviously big criminals, copying every bit that goes through them. Why is this significant ? Most non-core routers are simply a normal computer (they are as normal as any other computer with 2 network interfaces)

    Now how does the air work ? Sound waves are created in the following fashion. A single "bit" of sound is a localized drop in pressure. The actual particles of air are not significantly displaced by the soundwave. Therefore the localized drops and heights in pressure must be copied (evidence: despite the speed of sound, there are no constant winds at speeds of 1000 miles per hour).

    Moreover, the human brain cannot process differences in pressure. The human skin can, and the human ear can (a lot more precise). While there is no doubt that the actual experience of music takes place in the brain of a person. Now your brain lies in an environment that is protected from a lot of things, and your body will fight to equalize pressure in your head until your heart fysically fails (you can die from this process). So there is no way for "original" sounds to ever make it to the Brain. Therefore you are experiencing a copy of the original sound. Copying a copyrighted work is not allowed ! You pirate !
  • by EvilNTUser (573674) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:55PM (#9087570)

    I'm not an American, but I would like to point out that voting for people based on a single position is stupid.

    So you're pro-tech? Fine. But you also want to put something in the constitution that would take away rights. In fact, it seems like the only reason you're against the DMCA is because it affects you personally.

    I can't of course deny your right to have those views, but anyone who blindly votes for you based on your opinion on the DMCA is an idiot. Remember, that text on the FSF t-shirt says "Free Software, Free Society", not "Free Software".

  • by nelsonal (549144) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:59PM (#9087633) Journal
    This is all accounting and Finance 101. For the iTMS, Apple's $1 is revenue, $0.30 less network costs and credit card costs is gross profit (probably in the $0.05-$0.10 range). Their advertising costs and the employees who plot iTMS strategies and account for who gets the royalties etc are in SG&A, and the development costs are in R&D (collectivly known as operating expenses (not directly applicaple to the manufacturing of the product but important to the final production of the product). After these are removed you are left with operating profit for iTMS this is likely between ($0.05) and $0.05. Apple makes considerably more I think it was in the neighborhood of 25% operating margins on iPODs. After this things like interest and taxes are removed leaving net profit.
    For the record my own smoking choice is a nice Don Tomas robusto with a stiff drink, all of about once a year. Never took art 101, CS 101 was a lame-o business computing class (CS 162 was C++), and there was a two year wait list on metals 101.
  • by Fierythrasher (777913) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:04PM (#9087688) Homepage
    I have yet to pay for a single song on-line. It's rediculous. Look at the facts: 1) It's limited to the number of times you can copy it (thus breaking the benefit of digital media). I replace my computer once per year, so that means the songs I'd buy have at best a five year experation date. 2) They cost as much as CDs (and with this price hike they cost more). So I get 5 years of a song, no cover art, no good back-up options, and I pay more? The music lables are killing themselves and I sit back and laugh. Issue "remaster" after "remaster" and then flop like dying fish with SACD and DVD-Audio (which would be even more re-issues). THe record labels could make MORE money by using on-line distribution at a lower price point. Make the songs cheap enough (say $0.50 each?) and people will buy them. Remove copy protection and, sure, people will share them with their friends but that is how music has been for decades. Who never dubbed a cassette in the 70's or 80's for a friend? Who never burned off a CD in the 90's? Trading music small-scale allows people to be exposed to music they would not be otherwise, and then those people may buy OTHER tracks. By avoiding the profit-sharing distribution method of shipping CDs to Best Buy, and reducing the cost by not having to press CDs, pay photographers and artists for cover art, etc. the record labels can save butt-loads of cash. Reduce the cost per song, make even more money. But no, they'd rather do stupid crap like this. I'm glad to see their monopolistic tactics are working about as well as shooting themselves in the foot. I, meanwhile, laugh heartily and visit my locally owned used CD store reguarly.
  • by admiralfrijole (712311) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:05PM (#9087699) Homepage
    dont forget we also heard about the McDonalds Billion Song Gveaway [pqarchiver.com] from the upstanding NY Post. Not to mention that in the past year we also heard that Apple was about to buy Universal Music [slashdot.org]. I call BS on this.
  • by dema (103780) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:05PM (#9087702) Homepage
    The New York Post reports that the price per track may be going up to $1.25...

    Apple has already denied these claims. Don't talk as if the price is 1.25 right now.
  • by druske (550305) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:12PM (#9087782)

    There are some songs on allofmp3.com that aren't available on iTunes, so it's very tempting... but...

    Is there any reason I should think that Museekster.com [museekster.com] has any credibility? IP law is a convoluted mess right now, and this guy doesn't exactly sound like a lawyer. I also couldn't help but notice the disclaimer [museekster.com] on the site:

    "...The author reserves the right not to be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect,will therefore be rejected..."

    Pretty standard fare given our lawsuit-crazed society, I suppose, but still...

    That allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] offers Beatles and Metallica albums seems troublesome, too, and I'm not sure that the explanation [museekster.com] put forth by Museekster.com holds water:

    "...The Beatles and Metallica have not authorized their music to be sold online for anyone. Yet Allofmp3 offers about any Beatles and Metallica album ever released.

    There are two reasons:

    • Foreign works released before 1973 are not protected in Russia. Russia signed the Berne Convention without the retrospective protection.
    • The second reason is that under Russian law a collecting society like ROMS automatically has the right to license ANY intellectual property to Russian distributors, even if the author is not subject to Russian law.

    This explains why Allofmp3 can offer music that is not licensed for downloading in the US and Europe, like music by The Beatles or Metallica..."

    Uh... okaaay...

    I'd like to believe this is all nice and legal, but the cynic in me can't make the leap. (Damn!)

  • by DynaSoar (714234) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:27PM (#9087971) Journal
    BiggerIsBetter (682164) sez: "Isn't Sony in the RIAA too? Isn't that like some sort of conflict of interest?"

    Not the way Sony sees it. Sony sees funny.

    Back in the early 80's, Sony was one of the companies that wanted a "tax" on cassette tapes, to make up for the money they "lost" (more accurately, failed to make) due to people taping albums.

    They wanted me to pay more for my Sony tape that I used in my Sony tape deck to record my Sony albums by Sony artists. They saw nothing wrong with this. Luckily, others did.
  • by ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#9088208) Journal
    The brackets around $0.01 mean it's negative- which explains why $0.99-$1.00=($0.01). Usually you use angle brackets but that basically means the artists owe $0.01.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:01PM (#9088364)
    IMO they're trying to make downloads so unattractive an option that most people either go back to illegal downloads or CD buying. In the case that it fails to stop legal downloads or increase CD sales, they still make a lot of money. It's a no-lose plan.

    Remember, they've been harping about the decline in CD sales for a few years now (while releasing less records). As music downloading continues to climb, both legal and illegal, they will see CD sales slip even further.

    Once CD sales slip further, they get to go Congress and bitch/whine/moan about 'pirates' and push through more DMCA-style laws (mandatory DRM laws come to mind). Congress will bend over backwards because of all the bribes^Wcampaign contributions.

    Part of this whole system is making sure legal Internet downloads don't get too popular. If they do, that can be used as an explination for a decline in CD sales. This is the LAST thing they want.
  • by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:03PM (#9088392) Journal
    I'm just pointing out that sending money to the artists for downloading music doesn't do any good because so many artists don't actually own rights to the music.
    I can't see your argument here. The musician produced the music. I send the musician money. Any side deals involving the rights to the music don't actualy affect the fact that the musician got money from me for his music. How is this not doing any good?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:38PM (#9088796)
    The incentive is that the big record company provides marketing. People here love to write them off as completely useless, but without marketing and radio payola, your fanbase remains small and local. You have to take a day job to get by, even if you are supremely talented as a musician. This is the one and only useful service record companies provide (or will be, as internet distribution starts to really take off). If they charged a reasonable fee for this and let the market set prices, they would be cool. Instead, they are evil incarnate, but not TOTALLY useless.
  • Re:RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dresgarcia (251585) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:01PM (#9089078)
    depends which article you read, actually. . .
  • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:48PM (#9089510) Homepage
    The beautiful thing about the English language is that while it may have rules, the rules are quite frequently bent or broken. English is a continually evolving language, and even though someone may use a term such as "irregardless", you still know EXACTLY what they mean.

    Suck it up and stop being such a grammar Nazi.

  • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:52PM (#9089541) Homepage
    ' If Apple says, "We will pay what we choose to pay. If you don't like it, we won't distribute your product.", what can the recording companies do about it?"

    What can they do about it? How about cut Apple's right to distribute their music, and just let all of the other music services that have been springing up overnight vie for Apple's former position as #1.

    Apple may be the best, but don't think for a second that they have that much power. It is a very delicate balance. Apple has the goodwill of the people, the design, and currently the userbase, but the labels have the music, and they can revoke Apple's powers at any time they choose.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:26PM (#9090466)
    Nearly 700 posts ranting about a story that isn't even true. Beautiful! The slashdot advertisers will be so happy.
  • by theflea (585612) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @10:26PM (#9097364)
    Its also worth noting that Apple went to the expense and trouble to design ITMS. Its truly awesome, and took some vision.

    The way I see it, If I figure out a way to sell someone else's product people aren't buying anymore -- at my own expense, I deserve some credit.

    I was so amazed while the Napster craze was going on. Nobody in the music industry could agree what to do, if anything. The music industry got their asses handed to them by a 16 year old kid.

    Anyway, fast-forward to the creation of ITMS. Apple does what the music industry should have figured out how to do 4 years earlier, and the RIAA wants to leech off Apple's and other companies' hard, innovative work. These guys are truly parasites.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!

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