Necessary Evil – Hypebot Readers Critique iTunes
Earlier this week, Hypebot asked readers to respond to a quote from Will.i.am where he warned that iTunes should be the scariest thing in the world for artists.
Our readers had some very smart takes on the up and downsides of iTunes. The music store isn't perfect, but it's a necessary evil. It's a brand consumers trust.
However, artists are in the dark when it comes to who's buying their music. Read their thoughts below.
I agree, to a certain extent, [that artists should scare artists]. The fact that:
a) iTunes takes 33% of sales is not a good thing for artists.
But more importantly:
b) Artists have no idea who is buying their music from iTunes! No names, no e-mail addresses, nothing. Artists are unable to follow-up with their own customers, which is key to growing any business. Instead, everyone who buys music from iTunes is an Apple customer, and they get to follow-up and sell them more Apple products.
But iTunes has created a store that people trust and enjoy shopping from, and no doubt, artists are selling to some fans through iTunes that might not have found them in the first place. Which is nice, however, sharing data for those customers would go a long way in helping artists build sustainable careers.
Yannick, the GeneralEclectic said...
I still feel somewhat bewildered that people trust and enjoy shopping from a store that can delete any album that the rights holder wants to discontinue, for it to disappear without a trace. In physical music releases, you can (almost) always get a 2nd hand copy if it's out of print. You cannot with digital releases, and that's tough.
Helge K. said...
For an independent music artist with few listeners (like me), iTunes is not helping very much. The top selling artists are the ones that are displayed in the charts, just like we are used to from the analog world. I can't see that I have any reason to complain about this. When I visit iTMS to check out some new music, I'm happy that I don't need to filter out thousands of eager artists that think their music deserves to be visible in the same charts as Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, or the Future Sound of London.
Noah Lampert said...
Artists need to stand up and take control of how their music is processed.
The fact is it's now easier than ever for an artist to control their product from inception to release and reap all the rewards. iTunes and other distribution services are always going to take a cut. Why not create an artist page that allows payments, downloads and more that drives fan interaction and helps the artists get paid?
iTunes is convenient and people go there. If you can make it convenient for your fans to go to your page and do the exact same thing you're winning on two fronts.
iTunes isn't "the answer" but then it never was supposed to be, was it? It's just a music shop. That's like saying Tower or Virgin was "the answer". At least artists can get their records "on the high street" for a commission of only 30% (plus maybe an aggregator's cut). When you had to do it through a Major label, you would dream of paying those margins.
Apple's 70/30% Artist is a far cry better than the old Major Labels 88/12% Label