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Artists Protesting Single-Song Downloads

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-artists dept.

Music 811

prostoalex writes "The 99 cent downloads are stirring some discussion in the music community. Linkin Park, Radiohead, Madonna, Jewel and Green Day are protesting music stores' policy of single-song downloads and introduce some stipulations, requiring their work to be sold as albums. "The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past," says attorney Fred Goldring, whose firm represents Will Smith and Alanis Morissette."

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99 Cents (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266543)

To such my frosty balls.

Re:99 Cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266563)

to 'such'? what the hell are you talking about? that make no cents!

fools (5, Interesting)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266544)

Artist representatives say a singles-oriented model means a significant hit to the bottom line. Instead of divvying the spoils of a $12-$18 CD sale, labels, artists and songwriters are vying for nickels and dimes from 99 cent downloads.
As the article earlier today [] demonstrated, artists do not get a good share of the 'spoils' from a $12 CD, and they are very naieve if they think their current contracts are giving them a good deal. 12%, albiet in the form of 12 cents, is a step up from the status quo.

Re:fools (5, Insightful)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266571)

Definitely, that's probably a hell of a lot more than they made off of the industry despised $.99 cassette singles back in the day. If anything, it would seem like this could potentially make them (larger artists) more money. Since most of popular artists still sell millions regardless of totally free P2P and the economy, it would seem as if this would be nothing but gravy on top of what they normally make. Truthfully all than anyone can do on this right now is speculate until the numbers stablize.

Concept albums seem to be pretty rare these days so as many others have said, it's hard to think of this as anything other than "We want you to pay for the bullshit too!"

Well???? (4, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266607)

Ok I am going to say that artists actually get half decent deals.

First getting 12 cents on the dollar is not bad when you consider the going rate for book authors. Authors traditionally get anywhere 5% to 20% from what the publishers get, which is traditionally 40% to 60% of the retail price. And guess what happens to royalities to foreign countries and book clubs... You guessed it, DOWN THE TUBES.

In other words artists get about 20% to 30% royalities. So if you do not mind, I am going to cry some crodile tears right now!

Typical...... (4, Insightful)

bishopi (662205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266546)

Note that it's the usual "big" artists, who routinely ship out crap CDs with 2 decent songs, 10 fillers, and a greatest hits album every 18 months.

These people make me want to PUKE.


Re:Typical...... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266569)

You are SO right ...

But let's not compare a Radiohead album with a Green Day album :)

Re:Typical...... (5, Interesting)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266581)

I wouldn't call Radiohead a "big crap artist".

They have some of the most loyal fans out there. If Hail to the Thief had been on the iTunes Music Store, I would have bought it there. It's not, so I ended up going to best buy to pick it up.

Re:Typical...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266652)

Well they are
1) Big
2) artists

2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Re:Typical...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266667)

well, i also thought radiohead wasn't big-crap-artist, but this article just turned it around, radiohead sucks from now. they may pretend that selling albums by songs destorys "art value" - i don't care, because apparently there is simply no "art value" in their albums.

Re:Typical...... (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266596)

Linkin Park has also put out many many popular singles, I wouldn't say that they fit the mold you're describing.

Re:Typical...... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266690)

Linkin Park has "many popular singles" because they keep releasing the same exact song over and over again.

Re:Typical...... (5, Insightful)

macrom (537566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266606)

Bingo. If an artist puts out an album full of quality songs, then they don't have to worry about people only downloading a song or two from their latest release.

On another note : singles have been available for...well, probably for the duration of the recording industry. They just weren't $.99 unless you found them on sale. Now that you can get them on the cheap, big rich rock stars don't like that.

Now, for Linkin Park, these guys have no room to bitch. They got noticed by UPLOADING SONGS IN DIGITAL FORMAT and posting on other bands' web forums asking their fans to try out their music. And now their bitching about the same-style format that got them where they are today. What a whiny bunch of prats.

One last thing for these artists : radio stations. They don't play your whole fucking album once an hour; why should I be forced to buy your whole album just because I hear the one song I like? Guys, keep biting the hand that feeds you because I already reach into my wallet less and less these days to buy music, especially from people who dictate to their customers how they should buy and listen to what they pay for.

Re:Typical...... (2, Insightful)

provolt (54870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266625)

Note that it's the usual "big" artists, who routinely ship out crap CDs with 2 decent songs, 10 fillers, and a greatest hits album every 18 months.

You obviously haven't listened to the lastest Madonna or Jewel albums. There isn't a single good song on them. It's all filler.

Re:Typical...... (1)

bishopi (662205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266693)

You obviously haven't listened to the lastest Madonna or Jewel albums. There isn't a single good song on them. It's all filler.

You'd be dead right..... I value my ears, and don't waste their limited lifespan on listening to the audio representations of a cow undergoing a rectal prolapse...... :)


Protesting? Try composing. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266547)

Artists should be protesting this by making albums that don't consist of 85% trash and 15% hit singles.

Hmm. Good idea, isn't it?

Re:Protesting? Try composing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266670)

"The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past,"

Yes indeed, singles rule, crufty albums drool..

Make better albums? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266548)

Am I the only one who sees this as a "whine whine you suck" story?

If the artist would stop making 19 songs that suck and 1 good one, people wouldn't rip the cds.


Re:Make better albums? (2, Insightful)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266649)

They complain when we don't pay for their music, then they complain that we do pay for their music. I wish they'd just make up their minds on how they want to exploit us, and just exploit us already!

Bah. (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266550)

Maybe they'll actually have to fill the albums with good songs now, instead of two good ones and a bunch of filler.

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Re:Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266559)

Who says that they even have one good song on their cds to begin with?

If people can't download single tracks legally... (5, Insightful)

danny256 (560954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266552)

they'll just get them off kazaa. Maybe the artists should focus less on forcing people to buy their entire album and more on producing albums that people want to buy.

Translate-o-matic (2, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266553)

The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past

The fear among artists is that the means of selling a bundle of crap with one good song, the album, will become a thing of the past.

Re:Translate-o-matic (1)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266629)

Work of art? Pssh...

Each individual song may be considered such, and they may consider complete(or nearly, whatever) responsibility for them. Most CDs, however, strike me as having the way the collection of songs sounds together way down on the priority list(exceptions going to compositions that are actually designed to be listened to together, in sequence, and the relatively small number of other artists that actually do put some thought into it). For most the reasoning seems to be: "This song sells the CD, these might stand on their own, those would never sell without good songs attached". Other than that, most artists don't do their own artwork nor their own copywriting, and it doesn't sound like they're stumping for all the little people that put those together.


Simple answer to that then (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266555)

They should make their albums available at 99 cents each, oh, but wait, they won't make as much money...

This is complete BS (5, Informative)

coolmacdude (640605) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266556)

Apple already reported that over half the songs sold so far on the iTMS were in album format. Aside from that, these people are missing the whole point of this service. That is the ability to preview which songs you like on an album and choose which ones to buy. If there is a CD that has one or two good songs and the rest are crap, do you think I'm going to spend $17 for two songs? No! But with the iTMS, the record labels make 1 or 2 dollars. If they go back to album only, they will make $0 from me.

Because there's only 1 or 2 good songs on an album (1)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266558)

Remember the good old days when an album wasn't one single + 10 tracks of filler shit? Yeh, that was the 70's. Anyway, a vast majority of albums now contain 1 (maybe 2 if they're really talented, heh) song meant for commercial distribution. The rest of the crap on the album is so you think you are getting your money's worth when you spend $15.99 for that one stupid song you really liked when you heard it on the radio (and will be sick of by next week b/c there is no substance to it whatsoever).

Re:Because there's only 1 or 2 good songs on an al (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266637)

> Remember the good old days when an album wasn't one single + 10 tracks
>of filler shit? Yeh, that was the 70's.
Why do you think 70'S albumns have been on the top selling lists for almost *20 years* now? Those things were really works of art. Is there a modern albumn that can can compare to the stuff put out by the Doors, Led Zepplin, or even MJ's Thriller Albumn?

The answer is no.

Work of Art (4, Insightful)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266560)

Sometimes I could agree with that, in which case surely fans would buy that 'art' complete.

But how, in any way, are Madonna's songs more than some stucatto 3 minute pop tunes - do they combine in the album to create art greater than their constituant parts?

Or perhaps some discount could be given for downloadinging the songs seperately if there was a lack of demand. An artist loves the art - so making money from the catchy song and giving away the 'filler' that may complete their albumtastic circle is perfectly acceptable.

Work of Art - Albums as a (3, Interesting)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266647)

The only album that jumps straight to my mind as a work of art that is not complete unless it's whole is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Each song flows into the next creating an essentially unbreakable hour-long song. None of these artists do anything remotely close to that and I can't agree that these albums they talk of are a singular work of art. Mostly they are poorly arranged collections of small works of art (such as a private home gallery).

Re:Work of Art (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266678)

Requiring music to be bought in albums is like requiring me to buy the entire Office XP suite in order to get Word or Frontpage. Even if the entire suite would be more useful (Greater art than their constituant parts), I'm still not obligated to purchase software that I don't want to purchase because I want some other piece of software. I'd just forget about the entire suite and download OpenOffice if I had to buy the entire package. The same thing applies to image art. I won't buy all of Dali's works simply because I like the Persistance of Memory.

Funny... (1)

dnixon112 (663069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266561)

The more they argue the more free p2p downloads become entrenched in society, thus leaving them with less money.

And they make how much? (1, Flamebait)

krray (605395) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266566)

And these artists are ALREADY making how much?

Piss on them.

*I* am the customer who's money they are trying to get.

Guess what? NO MORE. You know -- I have absolutely never done the Kaza thing or stolen one song.

I suppose I'll have to learn now. Stupid artists...

They are lazy (5, Insightful)

crea5e (590098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266567)

This system rewards good music and consumer choice. I mean we all know this scenario quite well: You buy a cd and find that maybe three songs are good and the rest suck. Now why should we pay for stuff we don't want. Artists are lazy because they feel as long as they make one or two good songs the rest can be garbage and we still, those that purchase the cds, have to buy everything. As for the artists, they need to realize that they will make more money this way cause they could produce and sell song by song instead of trying to put up a bunch of songs together to make a cd. They also get to know exactly what songs are working and what are not by the amount each is downloaded.

Re:They are lazy (4, Insightful)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266622)

Exactly, ultimately they have to realize that the wheels are falling off of the Gravy Train and the bar has been raised as a result of consumer demand. These guys about face every minute. One second it's all about the fans, the next second it's all about the art. It can't be all about both at the same time so if they were smart they'd just accept the happy medium - which this a la carte download system appears to be nearing - and try to exploit it to their own benefit.

economics of it are better (4, Interesting)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266568)

I think in the end they are going to find that while a band might sell 500 thousand albums at $15.00-plus, they might sell 2 million of that one good song for .99 cents...and 1 million of that other song on the album that was pretty good. And then the die hard fans are still going to buy the whole thing, so they will make money off of the rest of the "filler," too.

Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way, turn.


Re:economics of it are better (1)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266673)

And if the bands haven't figured it out yet, the resason P2P is so popular is because you can find that song you wanted without having to buy the whole album just for that song. If they start to make downloads just like physical CDs (i.e. you have to download all our songs just for the one hit) people will just continue to download from P2P. These bands need to wake up or they are going to burn and be replaced by bands that have a better understanding of what is going on.


the solution is simple.... (4, Funny)

katalyst (618126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266570)

let the user download the WHOLE album for 99cents. :D

OT: ? About Anal Sex, Serious, No TROLLS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266574)

There is a large number of Linux users that enjoy ANAL SEX. That is specifically the sliding in and out motion of another man's penis from their anus. The contact the penis makes with the prostate is supposed to be very arousing.

My friend told me that the prostate on men is like the equivalent of the G-spot on women. This is a girl that told me this and she's gonna go to medical school so I assume she's right.

My question is, if Linux users find pleasure from ANAL SEX then wouldn't straight men also enjoy it?

If Linux users and straight men are physically the same then how is it that Linux users enjoy ANAL SEX and not straight? Could it be psychological reasons? Or maybe straight men would actually enjoy ANAL SEX but the social stigma of being a Linux user is too much.

Of Course (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266576)

We can't buy the good songs without buying the filler songs that they put on CDs. The only reason I've used p2p networks is because while I'm willing to pay for one or two songs that I like, I'm not willing to pay for the 10 other songs on the CD I don't like.

Re:Of Course (4, Insightful)

Psiren (6145) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266611)

The only reason I've used p2p networks is because while I'm willing to pay for one or two songs that I like, I'm not willing to pay for the 10 other songs on the CD I don't like.

In other words, since you can't get exactly what you want by paying for it, you'll steal it instead. This type of piss poor excuse really annoys me. Look, no one is forcing you to buy these albums. If you don't think its worth the price they're asking, then don't buy it. And if you do feel the need to steal it, don't try and hide behind some bullshit excuse.

Re:Of Course (4, Insightful)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266697)

n other words, since you can't get exactly what you want by paying for it, you'll steal it instead.

But from the artist's perspective this is the market they are dealing with. So ignore the whole "justification" of the download and look at the reasons why it is done. Then, as an artist, ask yourself if there is some product these people would be willing to buy.

Detach yourself from the situation and you can get a much more objective view.

Because 14 of 15 songs suck? (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266577)

Lately albums have been looking as a way to get rid of crap not able to stand on itself as singels. Often when i buy a record i only want 2 or three songs out of the whole album. Frankly, they push some very crappy stuff alongside the hits.

Ofcourse some artists are afraid because they will have the pressure to release good stuff and not some b-side crap as landfill in the albums.

Not a good idea ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266580)

Some albums I specifically DON'T buy BECAUSE there are only one or two good songs on them.

At least they'd get 1.98$ from me.

Concept albums (2, Insightful)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266582)

I think the last concept album I heard was back in the late eighties/early nineties with Queensryches "Operation Mindcrime".

i've listened to Linkin Parks CD's - but they don't have any sort of "Flow" I can figure out.

I think RIAA might of sent the bands some funky numbers to scare them into talking out.

Re:Concept albums (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266605)

Coheed and Cambria's [] Second Stage Turbine Blade was released in 2002, and its a concept alubm. Also one of the best CD's I have heard in a long time.

Re:Concept albums (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266680)

Heh I was just thinking the exact same thing before I read your comment. Great album.

Re:Concept albums (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266689)

What about The Flaming Lips 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots'?

Here we go again... (1)

Paddyish (612430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266587)

while ($artist->is_alive())
{ $artist->{gun}->shoot($artist->{foot}); }

If they don't find a middle ground, they're going to wind up being a sorry group of footless amputees.

Bitch and moan (5, Insightful)

christurkel (520220) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266589)

Let me get this straight:

You bitch and moan because your work is being pirated via CD burners, napster and P2P networks.

Fans screams for a legitimate way to purchase and download your music online with any crappy restrictions

Someone comes with a solution to both problems and you still bitch? C'mon! You want to sell an album, fine, make an album's worth of material and sell for less than $16.

Well Duh (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266590)

Now the artist will only sell one song for a dollar and gain %12 off that, rather than one album at $15 and gain a much more profitable %1, as most people only care about the new hit single- I think I'd rather sell the entire crappy cd too. Its all about green stamps to pay back your major label, and 12cents compared to $3 aint gonna do it. You dont want Johnny Record Label comming after your kneecaps.

Re:Well Duh (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266623)

Yea, i meant to say "rather than sell one album and gain a much more profitable *%12* off $15" for those confused. my bad.

They have a point (1)

Patik2 (459471) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266592)

Who would buy just one Radiohead song? I think they became popular because of their albums.

I'd also like to see more artists make albums rather than collections of songs. If everyone gets into the mode of buying single songs, there will be no more Dark Side of the Moons or OK Computers, just greatest hits collections.

Maybe albums could be available for several months before the single downloads, or have a pricing scheme that makes buying the album look enticing.

Re:They have a point (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266627)

What has become of getting people to appreciate an album because it's a nice complete works?

If I would've bought only "Time", I clearly would have decided that I want the whole of DSotM.

OTOH, I haven't heard artists lime Madonna complain when people bought their singles, or maxi remixes.

They don't have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266653)

If the artist make a compeling CD, then they'll sell the whole CD. OK Computer is a good example of such a CD worth buying. Good CDs don't need to be forced on us. We'll buy them. What we don't want and don't like is having a bunch of crap shoveled down our throats when all we want is a few songs.

If the "concept album" argument held any water, we wouldn't hear singles on the radio. It'd all be full CD recordings. Wouldn't radio advertisers like that?

reaction of the average consumer... (1)

Mengoxon (303399) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266593) those singles you can buy from the Apple Music Store, because it's convenient, reliable, good quality.
Those singles you can't get, you get off P2P, because the cost of buying a whole album easily outweighs the cost of getting that one song you want from P2P.

Fear among Artists: Translation (4, Insightful)

Dormous (638736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266594)

"The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past."


The fear among artists is that the songs on their albums that SUCK will no longer be purchased by the consumer, meaning that they will have to write better "music" if they want to sell their music. These people don't put their own albums together, the producer does that. It also opens up the music industry to more competition, seeing as an artist no longer needs a WHOLE ALBUM in order to distribute music.

Only good can come of this, capitalism at its best!


They should be glad... (1)

ciryon (218518) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266598)

One song purchased downloads together with harder laws against piracy is what's going to save the music industry.


Do like the artists of old did... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266599)

earn your money doing live concert tours. Half of these idiototic, "so called" musicians, like Will Smith do not even play musical instruments. Go to a Will Smith show and watch him run around on stage rapping to pre-recorded music tracks from a cd player behind the stage is not exactly my idea of entertainment.

Would you rather spend $ 40.00 go to watch talented artists like Rush or Dream Theatre, or the talentless Karaoke artists like Eminem or Will Smith ?

Proabably if your old enough to remember what good music is all about.

Re:Do like the artists of old did... (1)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266657)

I don't really like Eminem's music, but you have to admin that he is a very talented person.

Yea that's funny because... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266600)

...on iTunes the artist CAN choose to have their music downloaded as the whole album for a lump sum or else no download at all.

I agree (2, Interesting)

TinoMNYY24 (569172) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266602)

I just wanted to post my two cents in here, mostly because I don't want to be forced to moderate this discussion. I think most people on SlashDot will agree that the current trend that the music industry is taking is very stupid. From ridiculous "copy protection" that destroys computers and CD drives to prosecuting music fans, to now trying to continue forcing customers to buy 10 shitty songs along with the 1 that they want...the music industry in general is isolating their true fans. The people that they could make money from are the hardcore music fans. People who mass-download shit off P2P networks, find artists that they enjoy, and support them. When I download music by a rare artist that I heard was good, I try to find a way to send them money without going through the label. If they have a website, I paypal money to their contact address, or I click their donate link if the have one. If there isn't any way to give them money, I buy their new album when it comes out. There's no way to get fans if no one hears your music. Clear Channel radio won't play anything that no one knows about, and no one wants to pay $20 for music that they don't know they will like or not.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1773.

would they rather.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266603)

People just continue to download the whole album for free, or pay for the songs they want to here. That should be a no brainer even to people as feeble minded as the RIAA and the Artists. Just my 2 cents.

Greedy bastards. (1)

Mmm coffee (679570) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266604)

Of course they're afraid of single song downloads! These are the same artists who put one good (I use the term good liberally btw) song on a CD and fill the rest of it with fluff. Thus the consumers have to buy the entire album for the one decent song and the artist gets ~$1 per CD. If a user saves money by simply buying the 1 good song on the CD and avoiding the fluff then the artist gets paid less.

Solution - put together a good album as a whole. You know, like they used to do in the good old days? Then people will have reason to buy more than one song. Then again, I'm a dreamer. Call me your stereotypical anti-everything guy, but very few actual artists covered by the mass media will do that any more. More work for the same amount of profit under the "MP3s are bad, CD sales are how music is supposed to be distributed" ideology. Eh, guess I can't complain. It's this BS that made me fall in love with the indy scene in the first place.

"Work of Art" vs. Filler (4, Informative)

wherley (42799) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266608)

Put together a "Work of Art" and I'll buy it complete!
Push out 1 hit + 9 filler songs and you don't deserve to argue this line!

For example, you would be a fool to buy singles off these "Works of Art":

Alan Parsons _I Robot_
Van Morrison _Hard Nose to the Highway_
Lucinda Williams _World Without Tears_
Jennifer Warnes - _Famous Blue Raincoat_

Art? (1)

crystalll (543801) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266609)

The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past.
Hey, there's a typo, they put 'art' instead of 'trash'.

Work of Art? (1)

dmayle (200765) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266612)

If it truly is a work of art, as they suggest, it will stand on it's own merit and be viewed as such.

The artists this has the most chance of hurting is the one-hit wonder, who depends on the purchase of either a $7 single for that one song, or the $22 album (bought via retail.)

On the other hand, that one-hit wonder is currently dependent on the media companies who offer up very strict contracts for unproven artists where that 8% has various cuts taken off the top. As smaller labels gain access to electronic distributers, the artists' share will hopefully rise enough to offset the lower volume (less middlemen, and lower (zero) distribution costs, since the distribution cost is shouldered by the electronic distributer).

Artists and their albums (1)

PoisonousPhat (673225) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266613)

If the "artists" can explain, in their own words, why their collection of songs needs to be presented in an album format, then perhaps I (and many others) would care about preserving the album intact. Otherwise, I suggest they stop being pretentious and afford their fans and supporters the same freedom that radio stations and MTV have when they play their (one or two popular) singles.

Next... (1)

vjlen (187941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266615)

They'll bitch about the radio stations not playing their full albums.

Oh yeah, without commerical interruption too.

I say let 'em do what they want. (5, Interesting)

visualight (468005) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266616)

If Madonna wants to insist that her music is only available as an album then let her have her way as long as she can't force every artist to do the same thing. If she's truly an artist then million dollar mansions aren't of primary importance to her and the resulting loss of income shouldn't bother her.

If, however she's in it for the money, then she's a business, and as a business she has customers to satisfy. If she can't or won't supply what her customers want they'll move elsewhere.

The only way this could matter is if a few top names are able to control the entire industry with regards to single song downloads. That is, Madonna knows she'll lose customers if she doesn't allow single downloads so, out of spite, she somehow is able to end single downloads altogether.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266617)

Redhat, SuSE and Mandrake protest because distros like Debian, Gentoo and Lindows allow the user to only download the rpms they actually need and not have to buy 6 cds of filler RPMs filled with unwanted texteditors, window managers and pdp8 emulators

No Single, No Sale (2, Insightful)

nattt (568106) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266619)

If they don't want to sell singles - fine. I suggest that they also will get no sales of their over-hyped, filler full album.

If they are true artists they should realise that artists don't make money until they're dead - or in the case of music, not at all.

If they are truely commercial, then why do they give their stuff away for free (for the end listener anyway - it costs them to advertise) on the radio? Why don't they face the commercial realiaty that music just isn't worth anything anymore?

Who devalued the music to next to worthlessness? They did -by their own greedy hands. They devalue it by radio play. They devalue it by "copy protections", by letting the RIAA screw them over so they don't actually get any money from sales, by not playing their own musicical instruments, by not singing their own songs and by not composing their own tunes.

If people don't hear music for free, then they don't buy music. You've got to give it away to charge for it!!!

Let the reality sink in - they're a dead industry.

Alternative? (1)

Paddyish (612430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266624)


I've noticed that all the really good songs from an artist or band eventually wind up on compilation albums (sometimes it takes years, but it does happen). So, why not impose a time limit where before a certain date, only the entire album can be purchased, and after which, individual songs can be obtained. It isn't exactly win-win, but it is a compromise...


They should sell it by the minute. (1)

_Pablo (126574) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266628)

Obviously selling individual songs for 99cents isn't the optimum position - a three minute pop song really shouldn't be worth the same as a seven minute masterpiece or a track from a two track concept album.

Whilst selling on quality is not possible due to everyone having a different set of standards, it seems easiest method would be to sell by quantity - 10cents/min seems like a good price point for me.

Utter nonsense (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266630)

" of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past," says attorney Fred Goldring, whose firm represents Will Smith and Alanis Morissette"

I really would not consider Will Smiths or Alanis Morrisettes albums to be works of art, they are just a collection of songs flung together to fill out the CD. I think they are really worried that people won't bother to buy the albumn because people aren't stupid and wont pay for songs they don't like.

Radiohead on the other hand are a band who may actually employ some kind of quality control and make a proper albumn. In this case they have nothing to worry about because people who appreciate that will still buy their albumn.

In a nutshell it seems to me that 'artists' who sell albumns with 1 hit and 11 filler songs are worried the public won't be forced to buy the 11 crap songs. This seems to me like a good deal for the public.

Some singers trying to rip people off.. (1)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266631)

There is a such thing as a bad song[s]. What we are confronted with when buying an album is typically an album with one or two real good songs with several other recycled or not so good songs (crappy ones). Basically, the artist gets away with selling an album in order for us to buy just those one or two good songs - this isn't fair at all. To summarize, $30 AUD for and album with 1 or 2 songs that we like and N other not so good ones.

OTOH if you buy a single for $5-10 AUD then the 99c + $1 AUD to burn it on cd won't sound fair to them either.

Maybe the artists are right!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266632)

Okay, I have a pretty "off the wall" idea here. Maybe, just maybe, the artists are right for once.

Most of my favourite bands aren't really "single makers". With the likes of Pink Floyd and Radiohead the albums themselves are much more than the sum of their parts. Taking out individual singles doesn't fit in with their style of music making.

I don't agree with the commercial arguments but artistically I think they're right. So shoot me.

Simple Solution to the problem... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266634)

"The fear among artists is that the work of art they put together, the album, will become a thing of the past,"

Simple soultion... Sell the whole album for 99 cents. What??? They don't want to do that either?

Albums themselves are oddities (2, Insightful)

Moldy-Rutabaga (681427) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266635)

I find it odd that artists are bringing up the excuse that they don't like people keeping individual songs, out of the context of the complete album. What do they think radio stations do?

The other factor which needs mentioning is that the album format itself is still quite new. Until the mid-60s, all music was sold in single format--and early LPs were simply compilations of older singles. The 70s was the time of the concept album, but this obviously isn't the norm anymore. It's been a while since 'The Lamb lies down on Broadway'.

It would help if artists called a spade a spade and admitted it's about the money. They have a point, as we are cutting into their bread and butter. But then again, any artist with the sort of clout to make this an issue, and who has enough money that they can risk attacking their own fans, will have a hard time generating sympathy.


I'm really out of the loop... (5, Funny)

MungoBBQ (524032) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266636)

Am I the only one who read the sentence "The 99 cent downloads are stirring some discussion in the music community." and thought that "99 cent" was some new hip-hop artist I hadn't heard of?

Name Some Albums Where All Music Is Good (3, Interesting)

webword (82711) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266638)

As a very serious exercise, try to name albums where every track is good or great. Off the top of my head, I can only name a few from my own collection. I did a quick review of my 120 CDs and only 6 of the CDs fit this description. That's only 5% of the total.

By the way, what albums of yours fit this description? What are some "perfect" albums that are good from start to finish? I'm always looking for good stuff, especially hard rock and heavy metal! ;-)

Disappointed at Radiohead (1)

aeolist (302023) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266640)

I'm excited to see what will happen as music's means of distribution are altered. There's a chance that this can lead to a real revival of the single, as against the album, which would be great. Too many artists treat the 45 (dammit I'm not letting go of vinyl yet) as soundtracks to video promos for their album and tour, where they screw you for the real money. If this makes people make artists produce better, more interesting singles, and allows single tracks to spread through channels that aren't in thrall to (say) ClearChannel, then go! go! the new shape of music sales.
Good pop can do without being burdened with the late 60s notion of an album's importance and integrity, while real album artists (Radiohead et al.) will still be loved for their LPs.

this makes no sense (1)

AndrewRUK (543993) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266651)

If they don't want people buying their songs individually, why [] do [] they [] sell [] singles [] ?

What is the difference between ... (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266654)

.. downloading and paying for a single song and going to a store and buying a single?

Because the album IS dead (2, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266658)

The album existed because of the medium of the vinyl record. It had two physical sides, and if it wasn't filled up it was a huge waste. The cassette tape was similar in its two sidedness, but you could put a different amount of tape in the cartridge to reduce waste. CDs are a dime a dozen and you can even get little cds if you want. mp3s take up no "physical" space even though they have to be put on some physical storage device.

If you want to sell me an album of a bunch of your new songs, you're going to have to change a few things. First, all the songs better be damn good. None of this 1 hit on the cd business. For years artists have sold albums to people just trying to get the 1 hit, well it wont work anymore. Also, you have to put a lot of songs on that album. None of this 10 song shit. You better damn well have 80 minutes of audio on there. I'll buy the cd if it's worth the money.

What cds are worth the money? Well, pick any great old album, it's cd form is worth money. Like Queen's A Night at the Opera. But new stuff? The White Stripes suprised me a lot by being a new popular band that has music I really like. They just released new Led Zeppelin (best band ever) dvds and cds of live stuff. Andrew WK also put out an awesome album, I even went to see him live it was so good. And of course there are cds from other countries, like Super Eurobeat and such.

So yeah, I'll buy a cd if it's worth the price. The real reason I don't buy much music anymore is lack of quality product. So if you've got one song, and you don't want to sell me that one song for like 50 cents, guess what? If there's a demand and no legal supply, a black market is created.

It's always the powerful that get what they want (1)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266660)

First, they artists need to stop their bellyaching. If they actually put out a $15 album that had more than 1/12 of it being good, it wouldn't be such an issue. I wonder if it's really the artists saying this, or if it's the labels speaking for them.

Just think...under normal business rules and methodology, the whole single download thing could be an excellent way to collect data on your audience. So, 50% of our songs sold are Track A, 25% are Track B, 10% Track C, and so on. They can figure out what the people like and tailor their songs accordingly (of course, I am under the opinion that if a musician is creating music as art, they should do what they want. Unfortunately they need to survive so sometimes they need to appeal to the masses). Not only that, they could look at what other bands are selling and react accordingly. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the statistics. No longer do you have to look at album sales and go "Everyone likes Metalica" or the Billboard charts which has singles tainted by the marketing of the labels.

That was the business dork in me. I have quite a few friends in bands and I can't think of anyone that may think single song sales are bad. Any sale is a good sale. I guess I'll have to ask them all and make sure.

Funny thing (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266661)

I just saw an interview with Hillary Rosen saying how apple had got it right.

Every other industry in this country has had to keep up with change, its about time the ARTISTES learned they are no more special and perhaps much less so than steel or autoworkers.

full circle, back to the days of singles (1)

claud9999 (412067) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266662)

It's ironic, given that back in the vinyl days, most/all artists came out with many singles (oftentimes before assembling an album, if they ever did assemble an album.) Now we have a way to cut our own singles as we see fit and the artists (who are obviously going after the one-song hits) are angry. I say boo on them.

Seen the CD-singles section of a record store lately? Pretty bare. Likely because most CD singles cost $5-$8 (about as much as the price of the album used) and have been relegated mostly to hardcore collectors buying the single for that one extra track, not music samplers looking to buy the latest hit.

As you wish (1)

drix (4602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266666)

Welp, guess it's back to cherrypicking the best tracks off Kazaa. Which of course maintains the "integrity" of the work (viz: sound quality) infinitely better.

When are these people going to realize the magnitude of the competition they're facing? Hello? Free, easy, fast, ubiquitous--you aren't really in a position to bargain with today's P2P networks...

Poor Will Smith... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6266668)

He won't be able to package a piece-of-crap soundtrack with his usual summer blockbuster and expect drones to just consume it because it's for sale. Make good music. People will buy it. That's how most economies should work. Sadly, the music industry feels that their product is beyond this economic principle.


garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266669)

Instead of paying please support your artists that allow the free taping/trading of their music (either via P2P or other methods).

Bonnaroo BitTorrents are here []

Check out FurthurNET []

Also check etree []

Amazingly enough The Grateful Dead (The OtherOnes and now The Dead), Phish, and Neil Young/Crazyhorse) allow the free taping/trading of their music and look how popular they are and how long they have been around.

I want to see the day when we are still listening to Alanis 40 years from now while she's on tour.

Bring a product to market that the market wants! (1)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266672)

Some bands are finally starting to get it - at least a little bit. Instead of fighting the fans some bands are starting to provide reasons to buy the whole album.

Bon Jovi, Metallica, and Weird Al have put things with their CD's that make it worth buying the disk instead of downloading (legally or illegally). I am sure other artists have as well.

The same thing can be done for online music sales. If a band puts together an album with 12 decent songs it will get whole album downloads from iTMS.

It's all about putting together a value package. People have decided that a good song is worth about a buck. That's the standard artists need to use when putting their package together. If their product is priced at more than that they will need to throw other things into the package to up the value (or lower the price).

Master of the obvious (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266675)

the album, will become a thing of the past

That was already starting...

they just don't understand... (1)

Xyde (415798) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266676)

Don't these people understand that if they demand songs only be offered in album format, nobody will buy them and people who were going to be legitimate will be forced to go back to kazaa? Surely they realise that something is better than nothing. If people wanted to buy entire albums, well, that's what sanity music and best buy are for. *shakes head in disbelievement* I'll be really pissed off if they ruin iTMS.

Death to Albums (5, Insightful)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266681)

I honestly see this as a good thing. It's evolution. It's moving forward. And, ideally, it could benefit everyone involved. Down with the album (unless you're making a real album, and not a simple compilation of singles - read: most 'albums' released today).

Imagine this scenario. Instead of releasing a new 'album' every year, or every couple of years, or whatnot, artists would instead have the option of releasing each song as they record it. They would no longer be pressured to create filler for the album by the demands of the public - "I want a full CD worth of music, because that's what I paying for." - as well as the demands of the label - "We need to appease the public demand for a full album. Therefore, you will fill the album, crap or no crap, I don't care." Instead, they could take the time to craft real songs (I've giving artists benefit of the doubt here and assuming that they would actually like to create meaningful works of art).

Furthermore, if the artist has the one, all-encompassing goal of making money, this model would allow them to tailor each song to the buyers desires based upon the feedback from the previous release. The modern album is somewhat of a gamble in this sense simply because (ignoring test audiences) there is no real knowledge of what the public wants and expects from a particular artist (take Metallica's new album, which sounds *very* different from anything they've released previously, and which was a gamble to release simply because of this unknown reception).

To push the idea a few steps further, and incorporate the whole 'best of' method, the artist would then be able to take 15-18 of these singles that were released over a certain period of time, and release the album with all of those tracks on it. In other words, the public would be able to download lower-than-perfect copies of these singles for $1/ song, and then if they wanted a full quality 'album' (complication disc, really) they'd buy it when the artist released it.

Just an idea. Feel free to pick it apart (for instance, I'm not sure exactly how this is better or more financially sound than the current model - it's just a different way of doing things).

There's a good solution for this (1)

fname (199759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266683)

Remember when singles ised to get "released?" I guess they still do, nut essentially, when an album came out, only a song or two would be released as a single, and everythinh else was album only.

I think the dair solution is this. No single sales of songs that haven't been released for up to 18 months. If you want to hear the 1 great track from the new album, wait till it's released as a single or buy the album. After 18 months (or whatever), the while thing is fair game. This is essentially a premium pricing policy, which is how many businesses operate. This enables artists to get the high margin sales on the front end, and cash in from the lesser fans later on.

Maybe Apple can give Madonna et. al. a conditional album-only release for the next year or so, but after that, only new albums can be album only. Otherwise, these artists may stay away from iTMS, and that would be a shame. Compromise is needed, and each side gives a little with this proposal.

not as serious as they claim imho (1)

Nick_dm (580691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266691)

I can see their point, certainly radiohead have released stuff that didn't work as indivdual songs, only as a whole album. But I don't think its a serious issues for a few reasons;
(1) a regular album with 8+ good tracks will still do well under this system and should encorage people to quit throwing filler songs in.
(2) Experimental albums will always be viewed as such by anyone with a clue about music, these won't be mainstream anyway, they will be publicised by people telling their friends "hey check this out, and make sure you listen to the whole thing"
(3) apple has claimed a large proportion of sales are whole albums. getting individual tracks is a large benifit present digial distribution methods but it will hardly kill off the desire to listen to a set of tracks that were intended to be listened to together.

They're doing this because they have no option. (1)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266699)

C'mon... We all know that they're pissed at this for one reason only: When making an album they only need to make two to three good and catchy songs while the rest of them are boring, monotone and pure crap as a way to fill out the album. In other words, they're scared because now they need to write a good song every single time. No more lazy productions!

But you know what? I don't really care. I say let them put their stuff on to the iTunes Music Store with an album download offer only! And if nobody buy the album because they've heard that 8 out of 10 songs suck -- well, then it's their own damn fault!

I hope the day of buying an album and getting disappointed on what was on it because their hit single was really good is in the past. More power to the consumer!

I see their point (1)

sdaemon (25357) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266700)

well, that's sorta valid. The work as a whole has a value in and of itself as a form of expression, as many albums have themes running across songs and tell a story or project a message or whatever. Even album cover art (which declined greatly in the switch from LPs to CDs) adds to the overall value of the album as a piece of artwork. To sell just an individual song is sort of analogous to going to an art gallery and buying only a small section of a painting.

Some logic to it (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6266701)

While a lot of artists seem to have a few good songs and fill the rest of the album with crap, there are a few that have good reason for not wanting their albums to be taken apart.

Alanis Morisette, for example, is a very emotional person, and she puts that emotion into her albums. She doesn't sit down and write a song, and then when she has a bunch of songs, compile them into an album. Instead, she suddenly gets the mood (what hackers call 'the zone'), and writes an album to express how she feels at the time. Taking that apart, disassembling it and sharing the pieces for a dollar each, it just doesn't seem right.

Another example is Prozzak. Their albums tell a whole story - the search for True Love - and you can hear the progression from one song to another. There isn't a coherant and evolving plot, sure, but the songs are all closely interrelated, and if you just buy 'Omobolasire' and say 'hey, it's cool', you'll miss out on what the rest of the album has to offer.

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