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Apple Launches iTunes Affiliate Program 206

An anonymous user writes, "Apple has launched an affiliate program for their iTunes music store that earns participants 5% commission. Affiliates can link directly to songs, albums, and artists, as well as apply to the Apple Store affiliate program to sell hardware. It costs nothing to join and people that sign up prior to September 15 can win one of five free iPod minis. Apple has also assembled a handy FAQ."
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Apple Launches iTunes Affiliate Program

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  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by odano ( 735445 ) *
    This is basically a 5% discount on all iTunes music?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by vijayiyer ( 728590 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:07AM (#10136057)
      Note that they don't pay you until you've accumulated $25 in commission, meaning you don't get anything until there are 506 purchases made.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by suckmysav ( 763172 ) <> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:09AM (#10136069) Journal

      " This is basically a 5% discount on all iTunes music?"

      Well, if you purchased the music for yourself and you bought over a thousand songs each month then I guess it would be, yes.

      FIn most cases though, I expect it would represent a 5% kickback to any site owner who could generate 1000 clickthrus that culminate in a purchase, which is quite a bit different.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Neko-kun ( 750955 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:19AM (#10136122) Journal
      No, It means that you, the re-seller, gets a five percent cut out of every song you sell.

      In other words, Apple is allowing webmasters to have links on their websites that when a visitor clicks on it, iTunes will open up to the album page ready for the visitor to buy it.

      Say for example,

      "Hey peeps, I was listening to this one album the other day, and it was really nice. if you want to buy it so you can share my amazement, click here []"

      All an affiliate would be doing would be reffering more would-be customers to the iTMS.
      • Re:So... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MedHead ( 795006 )
        2.2. Affiliate agrees not to make any representations, warranties or other statements concerning Apple, Apple's site, any of Apple's products or services, or Apple's site policies, except as expressly authorized by the Engagement. []

        Would anyone mind explaining this to me? I'm not a lawyer, so I can't be sure... but from what I can see, doesn't this mean that as an affiliate, we are not allowed to say we like or dislike a song to which is being linked?

  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:09AM (#10136065) Journal
    I thought I had just finished with everyone under the sun trying to ram gmail tokens down my throat, and now I have to start over with the damn iTunes thing? Argh!

    People are going to be suckers for recursive marketing until the market gets saturated.
    • by typhoonius ( 611834 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:48AM (#10136255)

      So I guess I can't interest you in a free iPod...?

    • Recursive marketing is a breath of fresh air compared to the old style. I flip through the channels on my TV and see ads that I classify into three categories: Useless, stupid, and funny. Useless is things like Tampons, or Dishwashing detergent, neither of which I would buy even with their assurances of "Grease fighting crystals". Stupid is any sort of medication, which should be pitched and perscribed only by a liscenced doctor with your best interests at heart. Funny ads are almost exculsivley a fairly st
    • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamar @ g m> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @04:28AM (#10136584) Homepage Journal
      Imagine that I run a site which talks about music in general or just hip-hop, jazz or whatever. Those kinds of people can slip little ads into their site which make sense. It's a lot easier than just telling people to venture to their local [INSERT ANTIQUE FORMAT] store and grabbing one off the shelf.

      I, for example, have a political website. Right now there are lots of good political books that relate exactly to the content of my site. It makes sense to have a "click here to buy this" after book quotes. What doesn't make sense is putting them on every page even where they don't belong. (Not that I take advantage of this because I can't find a good affiliate program that does this, amazon IIRC doesn't offer this anymore).

      Sure, you'll get google-bombed pages which have nothing but "buy this song" links but out there someone can turn his or her hobbie into a cash cow. It may not be much money - but to the site's readers it means the site may be up next year come domain/hosting renewal time.

      Although, can you imagine the possibility with iTunes affiliate programs? Music has a much broader appeal. I can put my favorite song's name and artist name in my Slashdot sig, just to get people turned on to their music. It would be annoying for everyone to link to Britney Spears or some other pop-star, but obscure music could be marketed for almost nothing.

      The cool thing is that you can help support your favorite artist and get a kickback while doing it. The reason that Britney and company are so popular is because people vote with their dollars. If there is suddenly a huge surge in Jaco Pastorius songs sold on iTunes maybe radio stations will get a clue and stop following the RIAA's lead.

      btw... get a freeipod already! [] ;-) he he he.... couldn't resist.
      • Talk about context, if you're a band and you push people to iTunes to buy your album*, I suppose you benefit from your album selling, but you are also an affiliate! Fairly obvious use, but still interesting.

        *As The Cure does [] (and they push not just to iTunes, but other services).

      • by Nalgas D. Lemur ( 105785 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @01:04PM (#10140598)
        What this really makes me think of is LiveJournal and other blogs. Lots of people seem to like sticking in their mood and whatever music they're listening to at the top of every blog entry. Now imagine them making their "Current Song:" line in every entry an iTMS link to the song. Any money they make off it is theirs to keep on a free blog site, since they don't have to pay for hosting, and people can earn money just by keeping a journal of the inane details of their everyday life, as long as someone actually reads it. People could even make money off each other, buying songs through each other's referrals and getting the money kicked back to their friend.
  • Fight the Enemy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Seems the folks at could use this to raise revenue and pay the artist 5 cents on each song sold...
  • FAQ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:13AM (#10136086)
    I love Apple, but there are two things that struck me:
    1) "Frequently Asked Questions"? How long has this been around that there are questions asked frequently? :)
    2) In the FAQ, there is the sentence "You can only use approved creative provided by iTunes." When did "creative" become a noun?
    • Re:FAQ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MedHead ( 795006 ) <> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:17AM (#10136103) Homepage
      I too was confused with the FAQ, but for a different reason: there are no banner measurements given. I don't want to have to sign an agreement that gives me certain responsibilities without knowing all my tools at my disposal beforehand. Does "creative" mean text-based ads similar to Google's? Does "banner" mean 88x31 pixels, or 500x150 pixels? If I'm going to have to follow all sorts of rules just to see what I can promote on my website, forget it. I don't want to take the risk of Apple emailing me about my lack of participation. Maybe I'm being too paranoid?
      • Re:FAQ? (Score:2, Informative)

        by aka-ed ( 459608 )
        Have you ever been in an affiliate program? As a general rule you can sign up and never participate, no one cares. Why should they?

    • "2) In the FAQ, there is the sentence "You can only use approved creative provided by iTunes." When did "creative" become a noun?"

      I think when they invented marketing. Seriously, probably when newspaper ads became widespread. It's a pretty old term in usage as a noun, IIRC.
      • by Sulka ( 4250 )
        "I think when they invented marketing."

        Nope! That's strictly legalese.

        While some marketing people are very creative, most aren't. However, all of them like to think they are. Someone working in marketing doesn't want to go as low as to quantify creative as a noun.

        However, for lawyers creative is just another item they protect. For iTunes Music Store, they can't say it's just songs they're protecting but all the content being sold is more or less creative. Makes a perfect noun!
    • Lessee: n. One who displays productive originality [] (eg. an advertisement creative); an advertising term referring to graphic design work like logo's and banners. []

      IOW: "A creative creates creative creative" is a correct sentence - in the advertisment business at least ;-)

      • Re:FAQ? (Score:2, Insightful)

        "logo's and banners." What'll it be ? Are you going to put an apostrophe when you pluralise or not?

        I know I wont pay for marketing from someone who can't make up their mind on something as simple as that.
    • "Frequently Asked Questions"? How long has this been around that there are questions asked frequently? :)

      Hey, this is the internet. FAQs have been created without question having been asked at all at least since time() == 0.

    • "the creative" is a useful abstraction that has long been used in media circles for the name of the section of the business that is the video / artwork / sculpture / piece of music.

      The people who render these are called "the creatives" not "artistes / musicians / sculptors" or whatever.

    • When did "creative" become a noun?

      I get the same responce when I talk about the company I work for. We're an advertising agency, where it's common to refer to the artists as "creatives", and the work they create as "creative". It's kind of like changing the adjective creative work to just the noun creative. Very slang.
  • I think this must be some kind of record. Anybody else willing to read it and tell me what parts might be objectionable?
  • by photonagon ( 721776 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:14AM (#10136089)
    Seems like this might be an additional incentive for smaller labels to join up with iTunes store, or perhaps even independant artists to start doing so.

    I'm not exactly sure how Apple signs labels (or individuals) even after a bit of browsing on their site.
    • iTMS doesn't generally deal with individuals because, well, there are just too many of them. If you're an Indie artist, you can sign up for iTMS via CD Baby (see link here) [], and if you're an Indie label a la Dischord, you can approach Apple and sign up directly without an intermediary.

      As for browsing for non-RIAA music (if that's your thing), besides checking out the RIAA Radar, you can also start here []. If anyone besides the Baby is doing those, replies are helpful.
  • by muel ( 132794 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:16AM (#10136100)
    Am I too paranoid to feel completely iffy about submitting my social security number over a non-encrypted website? I don't think it's very naive to expect a little lock icon to pop up when I visit Apple's "tell us everything about you, but we'll keep it private, fer sure, promise!!!11" zone.
  • by 89cents ( 589228 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:18AM (#10136110)
    Geez with everyone doing it now, I had to check to see if there were referrer links to in the article summary.
  • Here comes the spam! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crucini ( 98210 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:21AM (#10136131)
    Affiliate programs seem to bring out the slimiest in people, whether it's email spam or spammy slashdot comments []. Won't it be wonderful to search for some obscure song on google and get a vast wasteland of affiliate link-spam pages all pointing to Apple?

    I thought Apple had more class.

    (Please, Apple fanboys, don't mod this down out of reflexive groupthink. Because that's lame.)
    • I agree. But I think the whole point is to allow the underhanded marketing tactics from affiliate sites. Apple basically gets to stay clean by simply managing their site and paying for the occasional ad. The dirty work gets done by the usual search-engine spammers, while Apple doesn't directly do anything bad.

      As far as I'm concerned, Apple is now participating in the useless spamming of the web. Maybe next week they can start selling v1agra?
    • by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @03:09AM (#10136332) Homepage
      I guess it wouldn't be too hard for OS projects to use this as a source of revenue. By your music through Mozilla and support your favourite browser while you are at it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:21AM (#10136132)
    it's an iFfiliate program.

    *runs for cover*
  • by Matt Clare ( 692178 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:21AM (#10136133) Homepage
    Apple also annouced that Canada is too cold for iTunes quality soundwaves to work and plans to never let the canucks into the iTunes store.
  • Must be done in IE (Score:4, Informative)

    by enjoilax ( 792737 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:21AM (#10136134) Homepage
    Using FF .9.3 and will not register, did it with IE, sorry all.
  • FAQ #402 (Score:5, Funny)

    by LuxFX ( 220822 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:22AM (#10136142) Homepage Journal
    Q: Is it really possiblr to win an iPod mini?
    A: You're not very good at math, are you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:27AM (#10136163)
    Sell 16,000 songs per month and finance your new BMW!
    • Incidentally, 16,000 songs or 1600 albums would not be that hard to move if you were, say, a popular artist with a link on your website. For some people with really shitty RIAA deals (making $.20 per song as it is), this $.05 per song could spell a 25% increase in profits. So the artists will push people to buy through iTunes...meaning more iTunes music sold, more iPods sold, more money for artists, and more proof to the RIAA that digital delivery can work, damnit.
  • by tobes ( 302057 ) <> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:33AM (#10136191) Homepage
    There seem to be a lot of complaints about this so far, but I for one am really looking forward to it. I've been linking to the itms extensively for about a year now (just cause it's very useful for my users). It's going to be great to start getting some revenue!

    Personally, I think the iTunes Music Store is a great platform for finding new music. Anyone can make links to it and they've got tons of sample streams. Hopefully this move indicates that Apple wants third parties to provide the navigation innovation while they continue to act as a platform and catalog.
    • Musicmobs is an awesome website and I'm glad Apple is going to start giving you a cut. Just today, my friend got a $20 gift certificate from his office and he asked me how he should spend it. I of course pointed him to the Musicmobs Recommends feature.
    • Blatant self-promotion: If you like MusicMobs, you may also like TunesTracker []. Tell it your favorite artists, and it will send you an e-mail alert whenever the iTunes Music Store has new songs by that artist.

      And yeah, I'll be using the iTMS affiliate program for TunesTracker.
  • by huchida ( 764848 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:43AM (#10136230)
    From the FAQ I couldn't figure out how this works. If a visitor clicks the banner on your site, does that open their copy of iTunes and take them to the store? After all there is no iTunes store site to be directed to...

    If that's the case, this sounds more like a way to get PC users to install iTunes than to actually sell songs. A bit on the sleazy side, isn't it Apple?

    I do see a benefit for independant artists, assuming they can get their music in the iTunes music store in the first place (how does that work, anyway? Is anyone rejected?) Previously the best they could hope for is to direct you to Amazon, or, worse, tell you how to mail-order their music.

    • As I understand it, Apple has one offer - one contract. If you want to list music, then you sign that contract. Independant labels can sign, and they get the exact same deal, to the letter, that BMG, Sony, and Virgin have. If you don't want to sign that contact, no dice. Other than that, I don't think there are any impractical limitations to who can apply. They probably have limitations, like nothing that expouses hate or racism, but it's hard to say.

    • ummmm.... sleazy? it's not like it's exploiting a bug in explorer to install through a backdoor or something. when you click the "MUSIC STORE" link, it would launch the music store. if you don't have it, install it.
    • If that's the case, this sounds more like a way to get PC users to install iTunes than to actually sell songs. A bit on the sleazy side, isn't it Apple?

      How is that sleazy? The end user was clicking to buy the song and would have to use the client necessary to play that song. It's not exactly spyware here folks. It's money in exchange for goods and services. To take advantage of that service, you have to download a really excellent media player.
  • by Fraser Cain ( 203191 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:46AM (#10136242) Homepage
    I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the traditional music companies. From what I understand, the key benefit they bring to the music business is marketing. They use their marketing and distribution channels to make a band popular or not.

    If iTunes is starting to offer an affiliate program, then it will encourage websites to develop song lists and various tools that analyze your current listening tastes and then recommend songs that you can buy from iTunes. Obviously there'll be a flurry of crap and SPAM, but eventually some pretty cool services are going to emerge.

    Services which can avoid the traditional music labels entirely. Artists can produce a song, a vast network of freelance marketers can promote it (instead of 5 big media conglomerates), and music buyers can pay for it.
    • I'm already doing pretty much this exact thing on Musicmobs.
    • revolution???
      wtf? and those 'tools' aren't going to be a new thing.

      what you will see however for certain is google-spam. because it's not 'really' spam to have spam google. it just needs ten people to do linkfarms of all pop songs going between them or so and you'll be completely fucked for finding a site with real content about these songs.

      apple would probably be able to weed out spyware 'recommenders' and nasty stuff like that but they can't really weed out those zombie websites with generated content t
      • I don't think the best part about all this will be big sites dedicated to providing links to lots of music. Sites like that already exist, and the good ones have made names for themselves.

        What I find more interesting about this is that it can provide an easy way for people to provide useful music links on their personal websites. For example, I read a lot of different blogs every day, some written by people I know, some written by people I've never met. But most of those people think and write intelligentl
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Thursday September 02, 2004 @04:11AM (#10136517)
    Slashdot should apply, they could make a bundle off of the commissions with all the iTunes related articles they post. All they'd have to do is find a covert way to post links so that people wouldn't realize that it's a money making proposition for them ;)
  • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @04:39AM (#10136612)
    Link directly from your website to any song, album or artist on iTunes. iTunes offers the largest and most diverse legal music download catalogue -- over 1 million tracks from all five major labels and over 600 leading independents. So... Lets say I copied all the available tunes titles from the itunes store, and launched a kickass amazing sites that was more friendly than iTunes , easier to navigate through. (If this is indeed possible, is not the issue here). So, My site becomes a instant Google like hit, Consumers are happy (iPod compatable song downloads), I'm getting 5% of each tune that is sold... (5% of millions, is, well Loadsass!), so I'm happy also. So, what would be the difference (not technically, but Visibly to the consumer) between this setup, and Apple [doing what everyone's screaming at them to do, but they won't] licensing the AAC technology to a third party to allow them to set up their own store?.....

    in the latter case, To get the protected AAC files to your iPod, you still need iTunes (to handle the drm keys), So Apples presence will still be there.
    How much differences will there realy be?
  • Bloggers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xombo ( 628858 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @07:25AM (#10137115)
    This will be great for bloggers, I'm already scoring a few bucks a month from Amazon for this sort of thing, but a live list of what I'm listening to could be absolutely devine for affiliate commissions.
  • I started an affiliate program [] on my site about a month ago. Now, i have 1000 users and out of those 1000 i only have 2 people giving me referral sign ups. I pay $0.50/signup so i do not think the monetary cost/signup is to low.

    What are some suggestions to get my site [] more affiliates?
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @08:22AM (#10137356) Journal
    This is really great. I have been linking to songs as part of all my stories on my website [] - since I started it in January. My site stats show that 3 out of every 10 visitors are at least clicking on the iTunes Music Store Link. I'll now be able to see how many people are actually buying songs. I've had a few reader emails telling me that they have.

    [Note that one thing the parent is not mentioning ... not everyone that "signs up" is going to be able to participate - there is a case by case approval process]

    I realize that 5% isn't much, but it's actually a huge percentage considering what Apple makes. [I take it that their estimated 3 profit per song has gone up]

    This could be a great way for websites such as mine - who are also Apple oriented to get a tiny bit of operation revenue.

    I hate banner ads - so it 's neat that I can now have a story element as part of my revenue.

    Some examples:

    Is It A Sin To Buy A Mac [] Devil Inside ~ INXS

    How To Avoid An Auction Scam Without Really Trying [] eBay ~ Weird Al Yankovic

    What Kon Man! []Confunkshunizeya ~ Con Funk Shun

    I really appreciate that Apple has now made me a part of the not only the downloading process but the true sharing process. Because sharing does involve some form of compensation or benefit. :)
  • Playlists are valuable entities in themselves. Its like getting the expertise of a DJ or concert arranger who might be familar with good music you havent heard of, and knowledge of how to sequence it. So people who compose interesting playlist will now get commission, along with musicians, and of course, Apple.
  • by NYTrojan ( 682560 ) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @09:38AM (#10137988)
    Here's what I'd really like to see out of iTunes. How about an internet radio client. It would be a small program you install... you could tune in to several different stations (maybe some indie stuff too, to give individuals who let itunes sell their music some play). On the face of this program would be a 'buy this song now' button. Ever hear something you like but don't know who's singing it or forget later? Not a problem now. You can purchase it instantly.

    Think about it, you could finally have individuals getting play and selling their music without the big record lables. iTunes is the one system that is already big enough to pull this off I think.
  • I've been saying for a while that the music industry needs to get with it and start doing this kind of affiliate thing, much like domain names, where everyone and their grandma sells the same things all over the place.

    The added bonus with songs is that you can sell it more than once! How the fools at the RIAA failed to still realize this is a testament to their incompetence.

    Is Apple the first to do this, or has anyone else (the 'new' Napster?) done it too?

  • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Sunday September 05, 2004 @11:24AM (#10162485) Homepage Journal
    How about Apple setting up a referral program from their hardware and software? It could be like a customer loyalty referral program on complete systems like what your Dodge dealer might do for people that refer new customers to the dealership (mine kicks back $50/referral). Apple could send me $50 or 5% of the purchase price of whatever my referral bought. That would be nice. The same goes from lesser hardware. If I refer people to the iPod Mini via my website and they buy one, I'd like a kickback. I think a referral program like this would be a very good thing. I'm all for it.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI