Apple Computer — last seen in an UK court of law trying to prove that it really isn’t in the music business, and therefore violating a 1991 agreement with Apple Records — is now getting deeper into the music business.
It works like this: if you pre-order a download of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers double album, Stadium Arcadium, from iTunes, you get a code that will allow you to purchase tix from Ticketmaster four days before they go on sale to the general public. This type of concert ticket pre-order isn’t so different from what a lot of artists do on their fan sites, sometimes not so smoothly..
A couple of things strike me about this:
First off, since Stadium Arcadium is a double album, iTunes’ usual great pricing structure doesn’t work as well. They’re selling it for $19.90, which isn’t that much better than any Chili Peppers fan is going to find the physical CD at Best Buy or Tower, and is more than the $16.98 Amazon is offering in it’s pre-sale.
Of course, you might have to pay shipping for that. And you don’t get the concert tickets pre-sale code. Which is true enough, though whatever you have to pay in shipping will be dwarfed by Ticketmaster’s current “service” charge, which I believe these days runs $4,368.25 per ticket. So that might be a problem for the cost-conscious.
At the end of the day, this really will depend on the appeal of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is why I think that it will probably be a success: even a non-fan like me can see how they’ve transformed themselves from a one-trick pony into an extremely popular band who has also somehow remained consistently interesting.
So, my guess is that this will be the first of several iTunes deals like this. Older, respected bands get another way into the current zeitgeist; true fans get to snag tickets earlier than the posuer masses; and Apple just increases its power. Everybody wins!
Except for Apple Corp, of course. There is the small fact that this really cuts into Apple Comps claim that they really aren’t getting any deeper into the music business. Luckily, there isn’t any type of worldwide news distribution system, so maybe Apple Comp can continue their takeover of the U.S. music industry all the while pretending to Apple Corp that all they do is make tiny little computer-based music players.
Seems to me that the simple solution is to make all of the Beatles music from Apple Corp (which I think is everything from The Beatles forward, plus a bunch of the early solo stuff) available on iTunes, but Apple Corp gets a much higher percentage of the profits than other record labels.
Once again, everybody wins! See how simple all of this is when you don’t have any actual financial stake in it your own self?