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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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  • Caveat emptor! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#9085622) Homepage
    With the service agreement that they have for the iTMS, it seems already they can change the rules for the DRM (number of burns per playlist, number of computers, kinds of applications that will be allowed depending on available quicktime APIs, etc.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they start charging you to "upgrade" the privileges you have for the music you've already bought.... perhaps even charging you just to continue your rental - even though it was never part of the original deal, it seems the contract allows them to change whatever they want at any time, and their copy protection, backed by law, gives them the tools to do it. Retroactive price hikes... now possible under the DMCA!
  • Uhm? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#9085627) Homepage Journal
    as high as $16.99.

    For that price I'd rather go and buy the album and rip it myself. At least then I can choose the format I want. If an Audio CD is marked with a label that it might not play on anything else than my stereo, I won't buy it either. If this means I can't buy music anymore, well, fine with me, I'll keep listening to the CD's I already have.

  • It was always a boggle as to why the Post Office didn't just go right up to 20 cents a stamp instead of the weird 19 cents. It would have increased revenues and forestalled, at a very small price to the consumer, the next price hike to 22 cents (22???).

    Same thing here. Instead of going up to a nice round number like 1.50, they choose a number right smack dab in the middle. While the price may be temporarily lower now, we can expect that the next price increase will happen faster than if they just brought the cost up to a nice round number.

    Something tells me that the marketing department is at work here. Nothing else could be so evil.
  • So greedy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thebra (707939) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085692) Homepage Journal
    "The Wall Street Journal carries a story today on the higher prices customers are starting to face from online music stores. [macnn.com] Apple, for example, is charging $17 for N.E.R.D.'s new 12-track Fly or Die album, while Napster charges $14--both higher than the $13.50 Amazon is selling the physical CD for. All five major record labels are also reportedly discussing ways to raise the price of single downloads, from increasing the price anywhere from $1.25 to $2.50, to bundling hot singles with less desirable tracks or charging more for singles of tracks that have not yet been released in stores."

    From what I've read Apple only gets 10 cents from each track sold and RIAA get 70 cents.
  • by Maul (83993) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085696) Journal
    Apple created a service where people that people would be happy to pay for because it finally offered music at a decent price.

    So what does the RIAA do? They try to kill it by forcing Apple to increase the price until it is as expensive as a CD.

    Basically destroys the whole purpose of the service, doesn't it?
  • Leave it to RIAA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andyring (100627) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:42PM (#9085725) Homepage
    Leave it to these bloodsucking bastards to take a shotgun to the latest non-RIAA success story in the music industry. Here we finally have a successful, and wildly so, online music purchasing and distribution system, 100 percent legal, and RIAA HATES it, and seems to be doing everything they can to stomp it out. Download a CD for $17? Holy friggin' crap! I can buy the (nearly) worthless piece of plastic at Best Buy for the same price! Are they just doing it for an excuse to ass rape us at the music store too? Sure as heck wouldn't surprise me.

    On a somewhat related side note, I am running for Congress in Nebraska. Conservative? Yes, I am. But, pro-technology, anti-RIAA/MPAA/DMCA? Darn right! Want real change? Vote Ringsmuth for Congress [andyring.com] May 11 in Nebraska. That is the only way things will happen. If elected, I will do everything in my power to bring down these cartels.

  • Oh, please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glpierce (731733) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:44PM (#9085740) Homepage
    "Support only the artists that allow the free taping and distribution of their music!"

    Should how do I stop liking good music? It's not all crap in the industry, and the independents have a long way to go (even those with talent usually don't have decent production). Should I boycott Led Zeppelin now? I only buy used CDs, but since I actually like good music I can't just pretend that everything I own is "bad" because the execs are greedy.
  • by chatooya (718043) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:46PM (#9085773)
    I agree that it's a great idea to download music that's been made freely available. But we shouldn't feel guilty about downloading major label music either. This is an industry that buys of radio stations, sue families into bankruptcy, and exploits musicians every day. If anything, people should feel guilty when they pay for anything from the major labels, because they're keeping a corrupt system alive, when it's way passed time to move to a decentralized model and a level playing field in the music business.

    And, no, not paying doesn't mean we shouldn't download and shouldn't listen to this music. There's lots of major label artists that I like a lot, and I'm not going to boycott they're music, I'm just going to support them by going to concerts and buying merch instead. That's how to change the system.
  • Yes, I am. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RatBastard (949) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:46PM (#9085785) Homepage
    Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?

    Yes I am, you smug little turd. I pay for my music, my videos, my software, my books, whathave you. I know that the artists involved are often getting ripped off by their record labels. But that doesn't mean I am going to screw them even furter.

  • Rip or Burn? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simpl3x (238301) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#9085789)
    Exactly, what do the music labels think they are going to get out of this? How about killing the legal download market? $10.00 is in my opinion too high, because if I really like something, I'll buy the CD rather than a copy of lesser sound quality. Talk about extortion.

    Hopefully, Apple will try to essentially become a label in the future, eliminating the trash that markets the likes of Britany. Friends of mine simply buy the CD, burn it in whatever way they choose, and sell it used. I'm going to start doing this, but I mentioned that I would also copy the CD cover with the receipt so that down the road when the likes of Valenti come a knockin' with the FBI, I have proof of my purchase.
  • kjh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hanna's Goblin Toys (635700) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#9085794) Homepage Journal
    Well, a price hike sucks. But stepping back to look at the big picture, I have to say that we are in the middle of a huge step in the right direction. As Apple continues its pursuit of Playfair, I'm sure everyone has noticed a subtle paradigm shift not just in the tone of people here on Slashdot but in the technical community at large.

    When the MPAA sued 2600 for linking to some source code, a lot of technical people got very upset. How could source code be banned? It's free speech, isn't it? While many flavors of speech (from fire in a crowded theater to bomb-making instructions) have been illegal for years, this was the first time that dangerous technical speech was being regulated. And for many, this meant the onset of Chicken Little histrionics.

    But the digital crowbar that spawned a million T-shirts [pigdog.org] only hurt the movie industry. Technical people were slow to empathize with the enrichment of Scientologists like Tom Cruise. And the "tyranny of the majority" was definitely hampering the effectiveness of the DMCA, halting the prosection of reverse engineers like Skylarov and spreading decryption software like DeCSS across the globe.

    With the advent of PlayFair, however, the shoe is now on the other foot. Geeks are walking a mile in Rosen's shoes, and they are not happy. For the first time, the technical community has something to lose because an encryption scheme is under attack: iTunes may be going away, with geeks standing to lose everything from TMBG to Devo to Whitney Houston (all for 99c+ a song!) just because some software developer decided to piss in the public pool.

    And the paradigm shift is now very evident. In place of Slashdot stories decrying the "MPAA witchhunt", we now have highly moderated comments in support of Apple [slashdot.org] for taking the fight to their attackers using the DMCA. And why not? After all it is much easier to understand the Israeli use of helicopter assassination after you've lived through your first bombing at a West Bank disco.

    I think that this paradigm shift represents a crucial "turning of the majority" in favor of accepting the DMCA. Once groups like EFF get on board I think the final stone will be in place for Microsoft to release a cheap "convergence device" that will allow pay-per-use movies, games, music and all other digital media on trusted hardware all across the globe. And the consumer will benefit.

    I mean, which of us wouldn't defend Lode Runner for 99c a game?
  • by nonameisgood (633434) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085825)
    If Sony will sell throught their own channel for $0.99, but requires Apple to go to $1.29, that sound like a FTC investigation waiting to happen.

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085829) Journal
    The industry execs truly need to be slammed in the head repeatedly with a clue-by-four. They haven't just shot themselves in the foot, they've dived onto a landmine.

    Let's face it, the RIAA member companies are approaching if not already at redundancy. They are the ones depriving artists of their fair share of what they created, they are little more than middlemen. If they got out of the way artists could make more money while selling their music considerably cheaper than it is now.

    Somehow their massive FUD campaigns have convinced people that the RIAA is the artist, and that the labels should be compensated for "their" creations. I'm not saying that the true creators shouldn't be compensated, but the RIAA member labels sure as hell aren't the creators of the music, it's the artists who do that.

    They should be breathing a sigh of relief that artists still want them, they should be thanking $diety that the public still have few other choices than to pay them for music and they should be grateful that people still think it acceptable to pay them for other people's creations. Finally a reasonable compromise with not-too-bad (although not too good either) DRM is implimented and becomes popular. The RIAA tries to destroy it rather than embracing what could be their last chance - if the RIAA take on Apple, they may win. If the RIAA take on online music, the artists will soon learn to bypass them and get a better deal.
  • by Exocet (3998) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#9085844) Homepage Journal
    Frankly if I'm going to have to pay as much (or more) than the new physical CD costs, well, f-it. I'll go buy the CD. I'll have the actual media then and also be able to rip it and distribute it to as many computers as I wish.

    Either RIAA is absolutely blinded by greed (a distinct possibility) or they might just be blinded by their lust for power/control. Consider this: if people think like I do and don't want to pay as much for the restricted-ethereal-copy as they do for the free-as-a-bird physical media ...and RIAA secretly knows this... might they be simply trying to pressure Apple into raising their prices in order to have them eventually fail the iTunes business?

    At that point the RIAA could point to iTunes and say, "Hey, people and Congress, the people don't want legal stuff! Let us make evil non redbook-standard CD's that are laden with DRM! Protect our braindead ancient way of doing business!"

    I recently bought two (my first two) songs on iTunes and enjoyed the experience. But it's pushing it to ask me to spend 10-12 right now to get all the files that made up the original CD. If it goes up to $14-17, not a chance. I'll buy a used CD or I'll get it from Gnutella or I'll just listen to the damn radio. $.99/song is the LIMIT, not the start. Otherwise, I want the physical media and the dead tree art.
  • Re:Uhm? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by THotze (5028) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085864) Homepage
    I think that's exactly what the music companies are hoping for. The argument that probably ''sold" the RIAA and its members on allowing companies like Apple to give legal downloads of music probably was that sales of the music companies' entire libraries would increase. This lies on the belief that there were some people that would pay for a song/an album, but currently didn't do so, probably for lack of convenience. As an example, I listen to a song on the radio that I like, and I think "hmm, I want it," but I'm not in/near a record store, so I just forget about it and don't buy anything, but if I could have just sat down and paid for it and downloaded it, I would've given the record company some money.

    The problem is that it is currently cheaper to download music than to buy it in a store - $9.99 per album for most albums online, compared with what, say $15-$20+ for most albums in a store? So what happens is some people (although, at this point, probably not a lot) figure, 'ok, so I'll just buy it for $10 on iTMS, spend $0.30 on a CD-R, and burn the album.'

    What's intereisting is that I'll bet that with retail mark up, the record companies don't see a helluva lot more money by selling albums in a bricks-and-mortar store. (I figure there's at least a 40% retail mark up, and a few pennies here and there for the physical media, including jewel case + transportation etc., compared with about $0.70 per song that the record companies currently get from iTMS). The record companies are betting that a FEW people will pay the SAME amont for online downloads as a actual purchase (those "hmm, this sounds good, I'll buy it now convenience purchasors), and the rest will go for a actual physical CD purchase.

    I don't think this is for the moeny, however, I think its because the record companies inhearantly distrust digital music on the Internet, thinking its 'dangerous'. They have more control over bricks and mortar in a number of ways, the most significant of which is that, on iTMS, its just as easy for me to download songs from an indie band as from a big record label, but, good luck finding much independent music in MegaMonolithic Music Store.

    Just my read on things.

    Tim
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085871)
    Hey Steve go find some "good" artist and sell there songs only through Itunes. If it is good they will come.
  • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#9085927)
    Isn't Sony in the RIAA too? Isn't that like some sort of conflict of interest?
  • Re:Leave it to RIAA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#9085928)
    Personally I'd have been tempted but you're another Slashbot who deems rape worthy of trivialization...

    Please, it's not much to ask. People don't compare everything to Hitler any more, why is one of the worst assaults one human can commit to another routinely joked about here?

  • by iiioxx (610652) <iiioxx@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:57PM (#9085968)
    RIAA wants to hike prices? Fine. Let them.

    It's real simple. iTMS just had a record sales week with 3.3M songs sold. They are averaging something like 2.5M songs per week. Let the RIAA hike the price. Let's watch the numbers.

    If consumers don't have a problem with the price hike, sales will be unaffected. If consumers don't like it, sales will drop. If sales drop by more than 26%, the RIAA starts loosing money. If that happens, they'll be forced to restore the $0.99 pricing.

    You can't blame them for hiking their prices, if the market will yield a profit by doing so. As buyers of music, we all get to vote on whether the price increase is reasonable. If we collectively say we won't pay $1.25/song, they will be forced to either drop prices or lose money.
  • Re:Uhm? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:58PM (#9085977) Homepage Journal
    You make excellent points, I probably couldn't agree more.

    The problem is that it is currently cheaper to download music than to buy it in a store

    Yes, and that is good. After all I get less "value" when I download a music. No leaflet, no lyrics, no CD to put in my stereo. Yes, I can burn it, but it just doesn't look the same. iTunes Store is (in my opinion, I can't use it since I live in Europe) ideal for compulsive buys. I usually don't buy CD compulsively: I have my list, write down what I want and then buy a batch. I think they are complementary markets. Compulsive versus Planned. Sounds reasonable to me.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:00PM (#9086012) Homepage Journal
    I would like to see a business justification for raising the prices 26 per cent, showing increased short-term costs in allowing apple to rip and post these things, or increased costs in referring the appropriate royalties to the artists involved.

    I bet I don't see one.

    Becaue I bet that this is just another fscking ripoff of the public, and they are trying to take control again by shutting down the economic benefits of online sales.

    I do not at this time maintain that they are trying to get some quick cash to pay off a court order that they start paying long-term old back royalties to artists exceeding 50 million dollars, royalty money owed by contract to artists, that was conveniently held back because they "could not find" artists of the demure stature of madonna.

    these bastards lie with every breath, have no direct impetus to reward the artist community that makes and fills their rice bowl, and doesn't give one half a shit about the public they sell to.

    RIAA, in short, is a band of thugs.
  • another example (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:01PM (#9086026)
    Hmm, At $17/cd might as well buy it and rip it yourself. Maybe people are staring to ask why can you sell it only for $10 but it cost $17 at a store. It shouldnt cost $7 to dupe a CD...
  • sigh.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tyfud (777617) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:03PM (#9086060)
    RIAA is just like every other corperation trying to censor something they can't control. They can't control the flow of data, and if they look through ISP logs to find .mp3's which were traded around, I'll encode/encrypt them in any format/algorithm to get around it. Screw the RIAA. I'd rather pay $.50 for a song and have 45 of that 50 cents go to the artist.
    Record labels/enforcers are going to be out of a job when musicians learn how to set up their own, much cheaper, rate of selling their songs to the public.
    Record companies will be a thing of the past. And you won't need millions of capital to start up a mainstream band/get signed. You just need access to a web and a method to get the music to the fans. This is why I liked mp3.com. If they could incorperate that into a donation method, or sampleing method then have the artist themselves sell the song on it, while making a small, 1-3% contribution to the site for offering the service, both parties would be inevitably rich and the record companies would be SOL.
  • by akad0nric0 (398141) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:04PM (#9086076)
    I was a P2P convert. Started buying music on iTunes and everything. I enjoyed quickly downloading something when I had the urge, without the hassle, even if it set me back $10. I don't *enjoy* pirating music. Hell, I'm an artist myself.

    But I'm also not willing to be a financier to an industry that stifles musical creativity and gouges consumers. When I got music at a fair price, it solved half of that problem, so I supported the technology. Now, it's back to square one, and so am I.

    Congrats, RIAA, you just made another P2P music pirate out of a paying consumer.

    *digs up old Gnutella client*
  • by millahtime (710421) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:05PM (#9086094) Homepage Journal
    Aren't cartels illegal in the US. Can we ban together and Sue the bastards for being the cartels they are.
  • Re:Oh, please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtermz (234073) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:06PM (#9086110) Homepage Journal
    The Led Zepplin analogy doesn't fit. Thats a _real_ band from before the music industry went to total crap.

    I'm a die hard music fan. Some say that, but I'm one of the true ones. I like every genre, from alabama bluegrass to zimbabwe tribal drum sounds. But I can say with confidence, that the stuff on MTV today is total crap. it is not worth buying. In my mind, there is no good music from any new bands out today. Name a popular band and I'll name the one they are trying to rip off...

    Outkast? How are they Grammy worthy?? Elements of p-funk poorly borrowed and mixed with todays lame 'hip-hop'. MTV discovering backpack rappin? please...

    Linkin Park? Biohazard lightened up a bit for the younger folks with some 'hybrid' sounds...

    Evanescence? Tori Amos if she wouldnt of broken up with trent reznor and they formed a band...

    Britney, Christina? Glady's, Aretha

    Michelle Branch? Stop trying, you're not nina simone.

    Theres maybe a few people on the outskirts with real talent. Ben Harper ( guy can handle marley up to george clinton ), his buddy jack johnson ( not talented? go watch 'september sessions'. he is bleeding talent ).

    The labels dont care about good musicianship anymore or thoughtful lyrics or anything. The best stuff is indy...

  • by gunnk (463227) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:06PM (#9086118) Homepage
    From Mac News Network:

    Jobs today said that Apple has the largest online music catalog in the world, touting over 700,000 songs from over 450 independent labels as well as the big Five.

    I've also read that Apple offered the SAME EXACT TERMS to indies that the Big Five get.

    Full article here [macnn.com]:
    http://www.macnn.com/news.php?id=24469

  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:10PM (#9086170) Homepage
    It was always a boggle as to why the Post Office didn't just go right up to 20 cents a stamp instead of the weird 19 cents.

    The post office has to justify, with actual budget numbers, every penny of a rate increase. They are forbidden by law to collect more than they need and all propsed rate hikes have to go through a long, tedious review process to make sure they're not.

    Instead of going up to a nice round number like 1.50, they choose a number right smack dab in the middle.

    This is Marketing 101. Low number sell better that round ones. The problem with nice, even round numbers is that they're too easy to manipulate mathematically. Two songs at $1.50 is $3.00 and everyone knows it. Two songs at $1.29 is less than that-- only $2.58-- but most people will mentally round the number to "two dollars and something". The idea is to play on people's difficulty in dealing with math and make it HARDER to figure out how much they're really spending.

  • by sevinkey (448480) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:10PM (#9086180)
    I work for a DRM company who talks to some of these giants (and Apple), and TimeWarner execs say that they aren't making any money off of selling songs at 99cents a pop because the credit card transaction fees eat up a lot of this.

    What they need to do is sell tokens to make this really work.
  • Anti-trust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spike2131 (468840) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:12PM (#9086214) Homepage
    This should be prevented by anti-trust laws. The FCC doesn't allow the RIAA to jerk radio stations around with these kind of royalty-pricing shennagins, so why can they do it to Apple?
  • AllOfMp3.com? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jtheletter (686279) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:14PM (#9086241)
    So has anyone figured out the deal with allofmp3.com since it was posted on slashdot [slashdot.org] a little over a week ago?

    It's one of those sounds-too-good-to-be-true deals:
    Pay only for bandwidth (resonable $$ too)
    Choose your encoding format
    Choose your encoding bitrate

    I think the unlisted "feature" here is likely 'Fund the Russian mafia' but it's hard to tell from the site alone how legitimate it is, what their real distribution rights are, and if artists are even recieving money from them.

    Any slashdotters have experiences or insight on this service? I know someone must because we /.'d it in about 10 minutes after the article went up.

  • My letter to Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gavinroy (94729) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:18PM (#9086306) Homepage
    Dear Apple,

    I am writing you due to the story that I read at the New York Post that you are considering raising the price for songs and albums at the iTunes Music Store (http://www.nypost.com/business/20309.htm). Let me first explain that I am what I would consider your average or target user. I own both a 10 gig and 40 gig iPod, both multiple pcs with iTunes and a G4 running OS/X. I bought my original 10 gig iPod *because* of the music store. I bought my 40 gig iPod yesterday because I ran out of room on the 10 gig and frankly iTunes doesn't make dealing with deselecting large amounts of music to be copied to the iPod easy. I have also purchased somewhere between five and ten albums at the music store, and even purchased an EP today. Granted that's not a huge amount but by my tally, I've spent over $1,000 on your music related offerings all together. I am also an Apple stock holder.

    My point in this email is to let you know that I will discontinue use of the Music Store should you raise the rates. The 0.99 price point and the $10 or under album prices is *what is appealing* despite the numerous disadvantages including only being able to download once. If I'm going to pay more than $10 for an album I will go to the store and buy it. That way I get the original artwork, album notes, and something tangible that I don't have to burn to cd to have a backup of. I also expect your sales volume to decrease steadily if you should raise the rates.

    From my perspective the music industry wants it both ways, a steady price for the consumption of music, regardless of production costs. Lets just assume that the price of CD's in the market today is not a product of collusion and price fixing. There are tangible costs beyond that of the artists, producers, and engineers. There is the cost to duplicate the media, provide the jewel case, the artwork, inserts, packaging, shipping, and distribution. Ideally iTunes Music Store provides a way for the fans to get what they want cheaper, and for the Music Industry to get more return on their money because of the lack of cost associated with the distribution of the content. Apple conceivably wins in this scenario also because of the overall brand imagine enhancement which entices iTunes Music Store users to buy iPods, macs, and OS/X upgrades.

    I hope that my letter is not falling on deaf ears, and Apple doesn't forget what made the iPod and iTunes Music store offering popular in the first place.

    Respectfully,

    Gavin M. Roy
  • by cmagnani (677829) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086371) Homepage
    The small amount of music I've downloaded from Napster has actually GENERATED sales for the music labels from me. When the Napster of old was still alive & kickin', I could actually download & listen to music which wasn't spoonfed to me over the corporate radio waves. I discovered great music that I would never have been given a chance to hear otherwise. I'm not one who wishes to leave the artists high & dry. At the time I downloaded the music for free from Napster, I could not afford to pay for the music. However, when the time came that i COULD afford it, I gladly handed over my cash so I could support the artists of MY choice. It's just too bad that most of the dollar goes to the record label cartels, who get rich by legally robbing the very people who keep them alive. Now those cartels are demanding a minimum 26 cent raise in price for legitimate music downloads?! I've purchased a good deal of music from the ITMS, and plan on purchasing more in the future. However, this will NOT be the case if the price is raised. I will NOT spend more than .99 cents for a single track of music, especially when there is no physical storage supplied (such as a CD, tape, or 8-track). I will not support an industry whose greed is unchecked, leaves skilled and talented people broke & in ruins on a regular basis, and continues to subject people to cheap crap passed off as the best of the best.
  • Greed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amdg (614020) <amdg@@@mac...com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086378) Homepage

    It's all about greed. How is it that RIAA wants $1.25 a compressed DRM song in the US but you can legally download an uncompressed no-DRM song from Russian for just $0.01 per MB?!? That means ~$0.35 per song. And if you decide to go for the compressed equivalent of what you find on the iTMS, you're talking about $0.04!! The same thing happens with the movie industry and DVD region codes. A legally purchased DVD that costs $20 in the US typically costs $2 elsewhere.

    If markets are going to normalize across borders in this new globalized "Internet age" where big businesses send our jobs overseas, they better accept that we are also going to send our dollars overseas too. That's if their lucky. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people are going to feel cheated by this new development and are going to go right back to the P2Ps that RIAA has worked so hard to get us to stop using.

  • by pHatidic (163975) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:23PM (#9086392)
    So buy Apple records, sell off the rights to distribute the beatles to another label as well as all other assets, therebye getting the rights to start your own label for almost nothing.
  • by sunking2 (521698) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:29PM (#9086473)
    Don't be stupid. It comes out of the 70c. Or do you think that all artists command the same royalty?

    The CC thing seems a bit odd. Are they implying that if you buy 2 songs at once they get 20c per song? I suspect not, in which case Apple's cut now becomes 10 for 1 song, and 30 for multiple. Quite a difference.
  • by Eraser_ (101354) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:29PM (#9086481)
    Buy music at .99 cents, then when it goes up to a $1, stop. Cold. Use the feedback form on the iTMS and let them know you no longer feel the value from the 26 cent price increase or whatever. Encourage your friends to do the same. To any sane company (pretend...) this would send the message that the prices have gone above the value, and people aren't willing to pay it. Of course to the RIAA it means people have just gone back to file trading or whatnot, and this whole online music thing doesn't work.
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:30PM (#9086495) Homepage
    Apple is the most successful of the online retailers. Without Apple, essentially ALL downloading would be free P2P. 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? Their only real alternative is to lose even more money. Somehow I doubt the I-Tunes users are going to flock to competitors, certainly not the competitors who pay royalties.

    Apple must have known about the sleazy tactics of the recording industry before going into this business, surely they would have had a plan to deal with problems like this.
  • by amichalo (132545) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:31PM (#9086498)
    SonyConnect is a horrible version of on-line music service.

    They have copied Apple in that they use their own compression and it only works on Sony MemoryStick or MiniDisc devices - but Sony does not have the appeal to drive a THIRD DRM standard. Who do you know who loves their MiniDisc Player? Why buy a MiniDisc Player and the discs to hold 1000 songs when an iPod Mini is $250 and the size of ten business cards?
  • but what do we know? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dnamaners (770001) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:37PM (#9086577) Journal
    This price hike was expected. In the business world this sort of action is like more "leveling the playing field," than a "bate and switch". Tt is often possible to get coperate subsidies for new technology and such. iTunes has basically been under a year long price subsidy by the record companies. This gave them a selling advantage over CDs. However, it is not in the recordcompanies interests to stomp out its major revenue sources over night. In this case they are only adding a new one.

    Now that apple has a customer base they revoked the startup subsidies. This is common business (and political) practices. It may seem evil but it is really cold business sense. They (record companies) are politically spread pretty thin right now. As a result, thet can't afford to appear to "play sides" with any one medium.

    Technology is changing so fast that they really don't have a clue what to do to keep their business model. So for a while expect to see them promote nothing that really changes until WE decide that one course or another is required to stay in business. Their coffers are quite large and after all they had their best year ever so They can and will wait this transition out.

    *sort of like the race between the turtle and the hair.... I know the race has started but wonder which one I am, it is not at all clear yet.....
  • Re:Oh, please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by radish (98371) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:38PM (#9086607) Homepage
    I agree that what is on MTV is mainly junk. But the big labels control a _lot_ more than that. I'm dance music junkie - thankfully a lot of decent dance music is out on indie labels before being snapped up by the big boys. But when an artist "makes it", their albums will be out on RIAA labels. For example, you'd pry my Hybrid, Sasha, Chicane or Way Out West CDs from my cold, dead, hands :) And if they released a new album tomorrow, on Sony, I'd buy it. Sucks, but I love the music.
  • by alienw (585907) <alienw@slashdot.gmail@com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#9086638)
    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. I can probably see why the labels want to charge more -- because Apple's profit margin is pretty fat. 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.

    Second, how the hell are the labels "doing absolutely no work to get it"? They MAKE THE DAMN MUSIC that Apple sells. Therefore, they have every right to dictate what price they will license the tracks for.

    Now, I will agree that jacking up the price to the point where nobody will buy the tracks is a poor business decision for the labels, but it's THEIR decision. I am sure they have done their homework, so there must be a reason behind it.
  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086651) Homepage
    The reason why iTunes has been so successful is because of Jobs's ability to cajole all of the labels to participate. As soon as he indicated that he wanted to compete with them, this cooperation would instantly disappear, and iTunes would become yet another service with a tiny library. Too tiny to be interesting.

    A much better solution would be for Apple to drop the one-price fits all aspect of the store. Simplicity is good, but frankly, some songs are simply worth more than others.

    In fact, if he wanted to subtly discourage overcharging by the labels, he could increase his margins on the higher end stuff. In other words: 99 cents a regular song, 4 dollars for a "premium" song. And if Labels found that these "premium" songs tended to get pirated in the P2Ps more, well, they always have the option to price them at the more reasonable lower tier.

  • by lavaface (685630) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086652) Homepage
    I agree somewhat. If the record companies jack up prices, Apple should promote the independent artists already on iTMS through CDbaby [cdbaby.com]. Getting into the record business directly may not be the best move for Apple. However, I could see them partnering with lesser-known labels. I've also wished there was a regional function to iTMS; buy local bands music from your city or whatever area strikes your fancy. If the latest Britney or Santana or whatever is too expensive, push the great music promoted by labels that aren't dicks.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:43PM (#9086668) Homepage Journal
    1.) sending more cash to the musicians you like

    You're making the assumption that because an artist is on an independent label, I'm going to like their music. While I do like a lot of independent music, like most people for better or worse my listening habits have been built around music distributed by major labels.

    Using a collection of smaller download services is time-consuming, because you have to go from one service to the next in order to find what you're looking for, and it still doesn't expose you to the breadth of music that iTunes does.

    Unfortunately for the indies, consumers like a very broad selection all in one place. There are thousands and thousands of Windows apps, most of them very crappy, but consumers like the fact that they can find any type of application under the sun for Windows. Apple has been fighting an uphill battle against this perception for years with the Macintosh, and they've learned a lot from it.

    It's also important to remember that most people aren't even aware of independent music. For every person who thinks Rhino Records is a bunch of sell-outs, there are 9 people who don't even know who Rhino is, much less No Idea Records.

    Don't get me wrong - supporting indie music is definitely a way to keep good music alive. But don't expect that the majority of people will ever get into indie music. Even in the heyday of punk, only a miniscule percentage of the population had even heard of the biggest names in the punk scene.

    Nibbling at the edges won't get the RIAA to mend its ways. It'll take an outfit with big-time commercial clout and a lot of money to get them to clue in, unfortunately.

  • by ajservo (708572) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:44PM (#9086675)
    http://www.macminute.com/2004/04/28/itunescall

    Jobs specifically quotes that songs are staying at the $.99 level... This was addressed last week out of the fact that this story about the RIAA is 2 weeks old...

    And BTW, if you complain about the new pricing structure for iTunes... The terrorists will win...
  • by amichalo (132545) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:44PM (#9086678)
    The guy who wrote the Post article is terribly biased in my biased opinion.

    He wrote that:
    some of the usage rules - such as how many times users can burn downloads - have been altered.
    Thanks for stating this in a way that does not make it obvious there are still unlimited burns of any song...and also a big thanks for not mentioning the loosening of the restriction of # of PCs & Macs music can be shared on.

    In addition, Timmy shared that:
    For example, a Pepsi marketing campaign announced last year that was supposed to give away 100 million downloads has resulted in only 5 million downloads by Pepsi drinkers, according to a source.
    The implication is that iTunes was not something people were interested in.

    There are other examples of his FUD statements, such as covering Sony's new service without the mention of their restrictions (if you own a MiniDisc player or MemoryStick music device raise your hand).

    And finally, this gem:
    A spokesperson for iTunes was not available for comment.


    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.
    Got a source for that one Jimmy? Steve Jobs was just quoted [macrumors.com] refuting such a statment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:45PM (#9086690)
    The problem with nice, even round numbers is that they're too easy to manipulate mathematically. Two songs at $1.50 is $3.00 and everyone knows it. Two songs at $1.29 is less than that-- only $2.58-- but most people will mentally round the number to "two dollars and something". The idea is to play on people's difficulty in dealing with math and make it HARDER to figure out how much they're really spending.

    I believe the original reason for pricing things at (say) $1.99 instead of $2 was to make sure that there was change in every transaction, forcing cashiers to open the till, which cut down on embezzlement.

    The marketing benefit was just a happy side-effect...
  • Wal-Mart v. RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ElPresidente1972 (95949) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:46PM (#9086706)
    I for one would love to see a fight between Wal-Mart and the RIAA. The RIAA can force Apple to raise prices because Apple is comparatively small. Wal-Mart, IIRC, is selling for $0.88 / track, and Wal-Mart is the world's biggest corporation. I'd love to see a fight between those two.

    Then again, we may wind up with a market flooded with cheap Chinese music.
  • by mpost4 (115369) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:46PM (#9086710) Homepage Journal
    I think the only reason Sony wants the price on iTMS up, is so that they can be cheaper, then they will go out and advertise they are the cheapest.
  • by Whizzmo2 (654390) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:48PM (#9086733)
    Tom Petty saw this coming a long way off. Most of his last album ("The Last DJ [amazon.com]") was a daring thrust at the (very black) heart of the music industry.

    An excerpt from the title track [lyricsdepot.com]:
    As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see

    How much you'll pay for what you used to get for free
  • Yeah, actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrogNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#9086937) Homepage Journal
    Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?

    Yeah, actually. It means I can legally purchase music per-cut, rather than spending money on tracks I don't want. It's fun and convenient. I'm filling the holes in my library, and I don't worry about a Dear John from the RIAA.

    That doesn't mean I like the idea of a rate hike. But pricing is a separate issue from the bigger question of whether or not labels and artists have the right to expect payment for their work.

    I'd possibly pay $1.25 a cut, but it would likely cut down on the number of transactions I make. I buy few albums through iTunes. $16.99 is too much, given that one might find a new CD cheaper than that price. Better to shop around and be able to rip a superior copy if I want the whole album.

    It would be great if Apple begins to offer iTunes downloads in their new lossless codec. Would make me feel better about a price increase.

  • by RickHunter (103108) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:07PM (#9086972)

    Actually, I think its more that they want to kill APPLE's online music store. Apple's one of the few computer companies that's flipped them off over the whole "trusted computing" car wreck, and they're both the most successful online music retailer AND they distribute indie songs. Oh yes, and their DRM is paper-thin.

    They've got no problem with Microsoft or Real's stores, because they've got DRM that makes being chained up in a 1 m^3 stone cell with no windows seem a positively cheery proposition. But Apple? The RIAA has a long memory, and they remember Rip, Mix, Burn. This is payback.

  • by cmpalmer (234347) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:10PM (#9087014) Homepage
    Well, I have only read through about 10% through the comments and someone else will probably have already posted this, but it is trivial to (a) buy a song on iTunes, (b) burn it to CD-RW, (c) re-rip the song to MP3/OGG/Whatever, (d) do whatever you want with the song (for me, it is playing it on my non-iPod MP3 player).

    I assume this is a "don't ask, don't tell" situation with Apple and the record companies -- they are selling protected songs with all of these good sounding (to them) safeguards on licensing, limited computer use, limited burns of playlists, etc., but, in reality, with one extra unauthorized step, they might as well be selling unprotected "raw bits".

    For my part, I like it. I said for years that if I could buy a legal digitial song for $1 (with no protection), then I would never really have the urge to get any by other means and I have stuck with it. Since I signed up with iTunes, that (and the purchase of two CD's that were (a) on sale, and (b) not available yet on iTunes) is the only way I have obtained music.
  • by object88 (568048) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:12PM (#9087043)
    Personally, I just don't buy single-CD albums for $16.99. And I'm sure as hell not going to buy a single-CD's worth of MP3s for that much.

    With the popularity of stores like Best Buys and Walmart, where the new CDs are something more like $11.99 to $13.99, is anyone actually paying that high of a price?

    So, it seems to me like this is more of a move to kill off or injure iTunes.

    Aside, I often see older, back-catalog CDs selling for those prices. I always figured it was because the record industry thought that anyone who was going to buy them was diong so because they really wanted to get that album, and therefore they could milk the customer for more. As compared to the "new hit" CD, which I suspect people buy en mass because it's cool, hip, and now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:20PM (#9087138)
    ...start signing artists away from RIAA members entirely, when their contracts are up.
  • by nettdata (88196) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:27PM (#9087216) Homepage
    I'm not sure that they want to get rid of the physical distribution.

    Here in Canada, there are a couple of record companies that have invested HEAVILY in the manufacturing and distribution of the CD's, so much so that that's where they make the lion's share of their profit.

    I'm wondering if this move isn't to make the online downloads more prohibitive, making physical sales more appealing to the end user.
  • by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:33PM (#9087294)
    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.

    That's actually a really good idea. Charge $2.50 per song for the newest tracks and gradually scale it back to $0.25 if it's more than 5 years old (or some other arbitrary number) or less popular. Then the newest, most hyped garbage bears the cost of the system which is how it really works these days anyway. I'd be fine with sticking to 15 year old music legally downloaded for a quarter a piece while dumbass teenagers get their newest pop boy band sensation crap with their mom's credit card for $2.50 per track.

  • Indie iMixes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Refrag (145266) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:35PM (#9087313) Homepage
    The best way to combat the RIAA is through iTunes' new iMix feature. Create indie mixes and rate indie mixes so that people will easily be able to identify good music that doesn't benefit the RIAA.

    Here are a few:

    indie goodies [apple.com]
    Another Gallery of Rogues [apple.com]

    I'm fairly certain all of the music on these are indie. If not, let me know. But, more importantly, respond to this message with links to other indie-only iMixes!
  • Re:I know! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pizzicar (473570) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:40PM (#9087385)
    I have not downloaded or bought music from any source for years. I might listen to a song on the radio and enjoy it but not enough to pay the store CD prices to get that one song. Then, after hearing so much about ITunes, I started buying some old songs that are my all time favorites. The ease of downloading, reasonable DRM, and a solid price point soon led to my willingness to explore new artists and additional songs that I would have never have paid CD prices for.

    I can't be alone in that if prices are raised past that magic price point, I will just go back to doing without. When you say that "This is a strategic blunder", it truly is an understatement.
  • by Dausha (546002) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:43PM (#9087415) Homepage

    Your ideas are inflammable.

    Trying to draw a distinction between flammable and inflammable? Unfortunately, you've fallen for one of the more classic blunders. I don't want to write my own explanation, but I'll give you one that is fairly accurate:

    . . . that items were either "inflammable" (capable of being set afire) or "non-flammable" (impervious to such attempts). So when did "flammable" happen? Did someone okay this while I wasn't watching? Will it be necessary to file a complaint with the French government for allowing this word to sneak into English? -- Sue Savage, via the internet.

    Well, I'm afraid it's much too late, and it's not the fault of the French anyway. Blame it on Latin and its tricky prefixes. In the beginning, there was "inflammable," a perfectly nice English word based on the Latin "inflammare," meaning "to kindle," from "in" (in) plus "flamma" (flame). "Inflammable" became standard English in the 16th century. So far, so good.

    Comes the 19th century, and some well-meaning soul dreamt up the word "flammable," basing it on a slightly different Latin word, "flammare," meaning "to set on fire." There was nothing terribly wrong with "flammable," but it never really caught on. After all, we already had "inflammable," so "flammable" pretty much died out in the 1800's.

    "But wait," you say, "I saw 'flammable' just the other day." Indeed you did. "Flammable" came back, one of the few successful instances of social engineering of language.

    The Latin prefix "in," while it sometimes means just "in" (as in "inflammable"), more often turns up in English words meaning "not" (as in "invisible" -- "not visible"). After World War Two, safety officials on both sides of the Atlantic decided that folks were too likely to see "inflammable" and decide that the word meant "fireproof," so various agencies set about encouraging the revival of "flammable" as a substitute. The campaign seems to have worked, and "inflammable" has all but disappeared.

    That left what to call something that was not likely to burst into flames, but here the process of linguistic renovation was easier. "Non-flammable" is a nice, comforting word, and besides, it's far easier on the tongue than its now thankfully obsolete precursor, "non-inflammable."

    http://www.word-detective.com/120398.html
  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:54PM (#9087561) Homepage
    Say, that does remind me... On a slight tangent, would it be a bad idea for Apple to keep the same $0.99/track and $9.99/CD rates for things from CDbaby or other independent labels or distributers and just jack the prices for the major labels? I mean, I'm fairly certain it's not CDbaby that's complaining about the prices...

    Then again, it probably would be a bad idea. The major labels would get a fair bit upset, and I'd imagine they'd pull out if the small labels had a fair chance and lower prices in the same shop they're sold in.

    Which, and I swear I didn't plan this, comes back to your point of Apple partnering with lesser-known labels and promoting them. While I think it'd be a great idea, I don't think the major record companies would stand for it, and iTMS would lose quite a bit of their artists and ultimately customers.
  • by glenstar (569572) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:56PM (#9087587)
    Until a method of downloading music that is fair to consumers and most importantly artists comes along, I will never ever buy anything from iTunes or Napster or any of the other ones.

    What would you, Mr. Coward, consider "fair"? Seriously, I am very curious. Cheaper prices? Better interactivity? Better selection? Exposure to artists outside of Britney, et al?

    This is not meant to be flippant... what would your ideal music download site look like?

  • by haystor (102186) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:03PM (#9087683)
    The real reason is because a $16.99 album download is not properly compared to a $16.99 cd. The *real* comparison is between a $16.99 cd and a $.99 download of the single track that is worth a damn.

    People might be willing to jump straight to full cd price if the single track costs $2.50.

    Personally, I'm liking the radio more and more. Go WRR!
  • by jackbang (572339) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:26PM (#9087957)
    According to Apple, the price hike rumor isn't true. They've have multiyear agreements with the record companies and have"flatly denied" [yahoo.com] that prices are changing.
  • by gaijin99 (143693) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:34PM (#9088062) Journal
    So sending money directly to the artist will in many cases not actually be paying the "owner" of the song.
    So what do I care about the "owner" of the song? The whole argument so far has been about paying the creators of music, not the "owners" of that music. Screw 'em. I buy Dropkick Murphy's merchendise [1] because I like their music and I want to give them money, I really don't give a damn if someone other than them technically owns their music.

    If the music labels want to start whining about the non-musician "owners" not getting paid, I think they won't get much sympathy. We can all see the benefit of paying artists to continue producing art, but paying parasites like Hillary Rossen [2] isn't somehting that most people think is important. She wants money, let her start singing. Otherwise, screw her and every member of the RIAA, they've screwed us often enough.

    .

    [1] Just as an example. I'd support more punk bands if more of 'em had bagpipes...

    [2] The president of the RIAA, who wrote a fascinating piece about how the poor RIAA isn't making much money off $16 CD's. Read it here [divisiontwo.com].

  • by ThosLives (686517) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:21PM (#9088596) Journal
    ...theres no media costs, this is simple pricing in reaction to rising demand.
    While this would be the case in classical systems, this makes no sense for the RIAA based on the following observations:

    1. There is already lots of pirating because people think that the store prices for CDs are too high.

    2. My guess is that the slope of the demand curve for purchased online music is really high and quite nonlinear; my guess is that any price increase will dramatically lower the demand for purchased music (because it's just as simple to download a clandestine copy) while lowering prices will increase demand at some more measured pace. (This is opposed to gasoline, where huge changes in price have little effect on demand, at least in the current range of prices. In the US.)

    These observations lead me to believe that folks need to do some updated thinking about economic theory and products/services which have basically no implementation cost. There has to be a reason for someone to pay for something, and when you have (effectively) instantaneously delivery of digital content at potentially zero price, it's quite difficult to build a business distributing music (I would argue there is still a lot of room to create music - the RIAA has never been in the business of creating music though, which is why they are upset. Their entire business model of music distribution is falling apart).

    Anyway, I suppose that if they raised prices they would quickly find out that demand would plummet. In this instance, what would happen is that they would probably kill iTunes rather than rake in more money; my guess is that even if they forced *every* provider to raise prices they'd just lose volume. (This is because if there is any one provider with a lower cost, the lack of barriers on the internet would quickly shift all business to the lowest-cost source. The one hiccup here is, of course, the iPod, which definitely complicates the analysis.)

    That's about all for today on this, I think...I'm sure I didn't cover every facet, but we're still in the early stages of the Intellectual Property Revolution.

  • by sweetooth (21075) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:30PM (#9088685) Homepage
    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?

    If you want to buy a house you can't just find an empty one, send the builders (construction workers, not contractors, construction firms etc) money if the house is actually owned by a bank. Sure, you paid the creators of the house but they have most likely already been paid for that work.

    Music is often the same way. A lot of music is created as a work for hire. The musician gets an advance to create some music. The advance goes to pay for the production, and then the artist keeps whatever is left. The label then keeps money from the sales of that music to recover the cost of the advance and any other funds they have laid out. The label then profits if the revenue from that music is greater than the initial outlay of cash. Now the issue isn't nearly that simple and there are royalty payments and other things to consider. Yes, many labels don't pay fairly when it comes to royalties, and don't accurately report the earnings so they don't have to make royalty payments. This is an issue that needs to be resolved between the artists and the labels. When an artist transfers ownership of music to a label they have been paid for the work. Just as the builders of the house have already been conpensated for doing their jobs.

    Sure, the analogy isn't perfect, but intellectual propery is considered to be exactly that under our laws, property. Sending an artist money might help the artist that is getting screwed by their label, but then they shouldn't have agreed to a contract that screwed them. The only way to get the labels out of the loop so they can't screw artists or consumers is to get the artists to stop giving away ownership of their art. Then we can pay the artists directly and show that we don't need the labels and if they want to survive they need to change their business plans. That's why just sending money to the artists doesn't do any good. It puts a few bucks in the artists pocket, opens you up to liability for basically admitting to copyright infringment (unless you don't specify why you are giving the artist money of course), and fails to actually effect any change on the system.
  • Re:Leave it to RIAA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:32PM (#9088699)
    Actually, the single cell embyro is more of a cancer feeding off the mother. I feel it is on the same level of "life" as a virus. Personally, I like to define "alive" as a baby that can survive without being connected to the mother. (I don't mean birth, i mean if you remove the growing fetus, will it die.) There are some "living" things that depend on a host to stay alive. They are called parasites. I have no problem putting an end to the growth of a parasite.
  • by Darthmalt (775250) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:35PM (#9088754)
    Apple ought to start signing up and coming artists anyway. Offer their tracks at a much lower price and give them a feature spot on iTunes. Apple makes more The band maes more RIAA get screwed Win Win Win situation.
  • by Lord Dimwit Flathead (668521) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:40PM (#9088834)
    I'm inclined to agree. The record companies are used to being in complete control of the industry as a result of the high barriers to entry (recording studios, production facilities, distribution networks, retailer and broadcaster covenants, etc.) The networked digital world removes or severely degrades every one of those barriers, which largely invalidates the business model of the traditional recording industry. I'd be scared too, if I were them.
  • by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandywinehun ... g minus math_god> on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:53PM (#9088975) Journal
    Loans for marketing if you want to make it "big" are a reason to go through the RIAA. Even now you can make a living without the RIAA (ie Fugazi).

    The labels will still be able to make a band big. It will just mean the little guys have totally even footing. But if you want to be a successful little guy now it is possible.

    In my area it is relatively easy for a band to pull 1200 a week in shows (4 shows at 300). thats 300 a person there, then you sell your CDs at 10 dollars a piece for a 7 dollar profit. Thats 370 dollars a person a week, not big money but more then minimum wage. and it still allows for a part time job. Also some creative tax work, like only reporting 300, or 250 (which is minimum wage here) a week and keeping all those receipts for equipment and you are doing Al right. If you try at all you can get a couple shows bigger then that without going too far away too. Cost of living here is not that high either, 20,000 a year is not good money but it is survivable.

    For somebody with talent playing anything that people will listen too (main stream punk, country, blues, bluegrass, heavy metal, rock, covers) there is definite potential to survive without the record company.

    Much harder is finding like minded people who don't want to make big money with their music, but want to do it for a living.
  • by nordicfrost (118437) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:58PM (#9089047)
    I call bullshit!

    ROMS is the equal to our (In Norway) TONO. They collect money from radiostations, TV channels, concert venues, restaurants, bus companies, pubs, inf fact every place that dares to play a record they bought.

    TONO is a reedy organisation, that even demand that commercial websites pay 11 cents PER CLICK! for ANY music played, even if that makes most web-enabled music event go in instant red. Result: No-one plays music in web video, and TONO gets NO mney.

    A good friend of mine pays to be a member of TONO. Their band have been played a lot in radio, but so far the fee has been greater than the earnings.

    Enteties like ROMS and TONO exists for ONE purpose only, to earn enough to keep it self alive, along with a portion to the already-lots-earning artists and record companies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:18PM (#9089236)
    Since by some unGodly miricle, Michael Jackson owns the lyrics and not McCartney, MJ could use Apple's money for his legal... um... issues. Won't that be funny..... Apple Computer owning the lyrics instead of Apple Records.... hmmm....

    Hey MR JOBS! You listening here?
  • Dynamic Pricing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jinxidoru (743428) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:35PM (#9089389) Homepage
    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.

    This is a great idea. Something that would work great is something I saw in a video arcade once. The games were modified coin-ops so that you swiped a card, which you could put money on at the counter. Each game varied in price, in such a way that the price was based upon the frequency of play. So the older games were cheaper because people didn't play them as often, but if you started playing it a lot, the price might increase 1 or 2 cents per play. It made sure the price was right for every game.

    Apple should do something similar. The price of a track would start at a predetermined amount. As more people purchased the track, the price would slowly increase based on some formula. The price would eventually level off at a fair price. The other great thing is that lesser known tracks would drop in price and more people would be willing to buy them. So how about it Steve? Are you going to hire me now?
  • Re:Allofmp3.com (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kiryat Malachi (177258) on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:17PM (#9089715) Journal
    You know?

    I really did try, because I think there are some interesting legal issues here. But you're so set on your own interpretation, that ALL copies are infringing, that you're not even interested in listening to the possibility that the courts have decided otherwise.

    Some interesting sections might include USC17.11.1101 (note: still illegal if fixation occurs outside of US), USC17.11.115 (note the distinction between incidental copies and non-incidental, and the distinction between delivery of a full copy and a listenable, but not keepable, datastream), USC17.1.117,

    The thing you really miss, though, is that all of these laws say "without permission of the copyright holder". The problem is that the theory of operation for the Russian site is that they have permission from the Russian copyright holder to do all of these things, and the problem reduces again to "Does US copyright law apply, or Russian, when a legal (in Russia) recording is transferred to the US?" None of your case law has anything to do with this question. However, USC17.6.602 would suggest that importation for personal use of something legally made elsewhere is legal.

    Then again, USC17.11.1101 would suggest that US law wouldn't consider the Russian version to be necessarily legal.

    You see why I said there's interesting claims for both sides? I'm done with this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @10:36PM (#9091137)
    The story is probably true [cnn.com], and Apple is doing damage control [theregister.com] because they know the peril to their business if they raise song prices. [economist.com] Perhaps they are eating the extra cost themselves, and giving up most of their already-small cut [jpl.gov] of the revenue. But what is known [aynrand.org] is that the music industry is pushing for more expensive downloads. The labels are saying it themselves. [rollingstone.com]
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @01:45AM (#9098278) Homepage Journal
    But it wouldn't matter if an album cost five bucks, downloading is cheaper

    Of course it matters. Its not so much a matter of price or legality, but of convenience, as downloading stuff from the net is only free if your time is worthless. If the record industry makes it worth your while to hunt an album down because they charge way to much (i.e. the recent NERD cd for 16 bucks) then you'll do it. If you want it, don't want the hassle of searching through incomplete/mislabled/fake songs, then you'll buy it, if you have a guaranteed download for a resonable price.

    Sure some people will download stuff from kazaa no matter how low the songs are priced at, but those people wouldn't start buying music if the entire Internet was nuked tomorrow morning.
  • by pherris (314792) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:50AM (#9099232) Homepage Journal
    Yes, the US Constitution. Changing the terms of an agreement retroactively (as in affecting items of business dealt with before the change), is illegal and would never hold up in court even if if written into the EULA.

    You've assumed that it is not already in the current contract between Apple and the various RCs (recording companies). What if there's a clause that allows for a retroactive price increase if, say, the original royality fee structure was incorrectly calcutated? You and I know that if the RIAA/RCs used this (posssible) clause it's just to make some more money, not to correct a mistake. IMO it would also piss Jobs off and he is truly one man you don't want to piss off. For Jobs "job one" is protecting the name of Apple. It's his child. A retro price increase would most likely kill off iTunes in a week.

    In addition, iTunes doesn't phone home each play, only for the first authorization so they can't really lock you out of your collection of songs you've bought. The iTunes Music Store is a STORE, not a subscription service. Just like Apple killed off streaming out of your subnet (active in iTunes 4.0, dead in 4.1 and they didn't say they were killing it off) so could apple require all music to be reauthorized. Again, Job's loves Apple and I don't see him doing this unless under agreement.

    My attitude to iTunes is simple: I continue to buy music and I will continue to burn all my music on music cds and back up my AACs. If (unlikely but possible) they do the above I'll just stop using them, enjoy what I have and continue downloading GD and Phish concerts (which are legal to download and share for noncommercial purposes).

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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