So here’s the deal: The National Music Publisher’s Association has said that they want to increase the royalty rate for each legal download from $0.09 to $0.15 per song. Apple has responded by threatening to shut down iTunes.
I assume that “iTunes” means “iTunes Music Store,” and this has nothing to do the the TV Shows, Films and Applications that also go through iTunes, because, well, that would just be stupid.
I’m not here to argue the merits of what one side will say is only a six cent increase and the other side will say is a 66% increase, nor am I going to point out that this is Apple’s way of saying that if they don’t continue to get exactly what they want, they’re going to take their ball and go home.
But I will say this: if the iTunes Music Store went away tomorrow, it wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar.
Yesterday, Kassia took issue with a Wall Street Journal article that trumpeted the fallacy that closing off a major avenue of music distribution was somehow a good thing.
One of the examples that the article used to show that selling a lot of music on iTunes was somehow a bad thing was the fact that while The Rolling Stones have sold 6,000,000 songs digitally since January 2006, they’ve sold the fewest amount of back catalog albums among the six top-selling catalog artists.
This, of course, is one of those made-up stats that purports to mean something while meaning very little. How is it not not a good thing to be among the top six selling catalog artists of the past two years? Or sell six million songs, many of which go back decades, and many many of which you’re no doubt reselling to some of the same people you’ve previously sold them to?
However, by using the high songs / low album sales as an example as how digital distribution can harm an artist, it totally ignores two very very important facts about The Rolling Stones.
- Since the very start, they’ve been marketed as a singles act.
- Their back catalog is a confusing mess, which is a huge factor to its relative — relative! — paucity of sales.
The NBC programming that went missing from iTunes last December has finally turned up in the Zune marketplace. Fans of The Office, Heroes, and 30 Rock can once again pay to download episodes of their favorite programs — provided they own a Zune and a Windows PC.
Given the Zune’s miniscule market share it’s curious to see any network choosing Microsoft’s media platform over iTunes for paid downloads. When NBC pulled its programming from iTunes, network officials sniffed at the relatively small sales the Apple service had generated. By comparison, sales in the Zune marketplace are bound to redefine the term “nano”.
Clearly this move isn’t about selling digital content online. NBC seems to be more interested in punishing Apple for exercising control over iTunes pricing than it is in actually expanding the market for legal downloads.
This week the long anticipated Amazon digital music store finally launched. Unlike recent efforts from the likes of Wal-Mart, Amazon’s DRM-free store could pose a substantial long-term challenge to iTunes. While that may sound like bad news for iTunes, it could prove to be a good thing for Apple.
Here’s why I think Amazon will pose a serious challenge to the iTunes music store:
It’s pretty much Apple week here at Medialoper, and why not? So I figured that I’d add my perspective on the new iPods, as well as the Universal’s wholesale abandonment of iTunes for Amazon’s Unbox.
Everybody I know seemed to be keeping at one browser tab open on the press conference yesterday, and until the drastic price drop of the iPhone, it pretty much went the way that most people had predicted beforehand. Without going into any deep analysis of What It All Means, here are some of my thoughts.