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Jobs Resists Music Industry Pressure

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the hold-firm dept.

Music 634

Drew writes "Steve Jobs is opposed to raising the price of online music sales, calling the music industry greedy, and implying that price increases will bring about more piracy." From the article: "It may not seem like it, but it has been more than two years since the launch of the iTunes Music Store, and that alone has the music industry brimming with hopes for price-adjustments. They also don't buy Jobs' argument that a price increase will result in more piracy, but probably not for the reasons we might assume. I've long been of the conviction that piracy is not nearly as large of a problem as the RIAA makes it out to be." Also covered at Macworld.

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634 comments

woot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606219)

I like fucking Steve Jobs in the ass -- just like any other Apple user.

The pot calls the kettle...! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606227)

Well, duh.

Summary (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606232)

Job's a good `un!

What? (5, Insightful)

trevordactyl (908770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606233)

Am I missing something? They're going increase the price of songs so you're paying pretty much the same price as a cd to have it in a proprietary, non-portable format with no artwork and nothing tangible? What benefit would people be getting from the iTunes music store at that point, exactly?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

RoadDoggFL (876257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606259)

No, they're not going to raise prices so you're not "paying pretty much the same price as a cd to have it in a proprietary, non-portable format with no artwork and nothing tangible."

Re:What? (1)

trevordactyl (908770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606334)

Yes, I realized that I put in "going to" instead of "want to" when I saw the post confirmation, but alas Slashdot doesn't have an edit post function, so now it looks like I didn't read the article.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

RoadDoggFL (876257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606406)

Yea, I figured that much. Anyway it's nice to know that somebody out there isn't trying to increase revenue by charging more rather than providing a better product...

Greed. (1, Troll)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606347)

The point is to destroy the distribution model that Steve Jobs controls exclusively.

I know America sets the standard for this kind of thing, but let us not forget that Steve Jobs is a BILLIONAIRE. I don't know much about "greed" but this guy had a net worth of $2.3 billion in 2003 [forbes.com] . We can safelyu assume that he has much more now that Apple is selling music without actually manufacturing it.

I'm still waiting for the day that iTunes hosts *FREE* albums.

Re:Greed. (5, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606451)

The difference between Steve Jobs' wealth and the RIAA is that Steve grew his own business and continues to do so. The record companies want to raise prices for doing nothing. Being a billionaire is not necessarily a sign of being greedy if you work for it. The RIAA is a bunch of middlemen that lets others work for their wealth, so they are decidedly greedy.

Re:Greed. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606507)

I'm still waiting for the day that iTunes hosts *FREE* albums.


At first, I laughed out loud at your preposterous comment, but then I remembered that they already already do [apple.com] .

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606367)

You can just get the song you want rather than the whole album. It's rare today to actually like all the songs on an album.

Proprietary/Non-Portable format? What, you plan on running it on what? iTunes plays on Windows and Mac. What more do you want? Linux? There are plenty of ways to get a purchased song to work on Linux. Oh, and you do get album artwork.

Go back to drinking whatever flavor of Kool-Aid you have been drinking (me thinks it's Linux/Microsoft blend).

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606438)

You were inserting an iPod nano up your ass while you wrote that weren't you?

(A black one of course)

Re:What? (-1, Troll)

lewp (95638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606502)

The main selling point for the iPod nano for me was the fact that my shit wouldn't show up so much on the black one after ramming it up my ass.

Sure, the U2 iPod is black too. But the red scroll wheel increases the chance of a false positive when checking for anal bleeding afterwards. Unacceptable, IMHO.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606489)

You're forgetting the portable music players.

If you get a CD, you can rip it to whatever format you like - MP3, AAC or OGG - all unprotected, and play it on just about anything you damn well please.

Buy (or rent) a track from a store (okay, the 'big name' stores), you're stuck to playing it on a iPod, OR a WMV-based player, but not both.

So... what flavour Kool-Aid are YOU drinking?

Re:What? (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606452)

Well for one thing convenience - I don't have to leave my house to find a CD store (which don't really exist any more anyway, at least around here) and can shop for music at 2 am in my underwear.

Re:What? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606488)

Jobs has not raised any prices and appears to be quite willing to face the labels head on over the issue. This is a power play by the labels who are upset that Apple has suddenly become the gatekeeper of online music. They want control and are used to having it. Basically, two of the labels want a variable pricing scheme, one wants to raise prices throughout, and two others are trusting Jobs and agree raising prices would be bad.

It was always inevitable that their power would come to an end, but they're just too greedy to see it right now.

By the way, albums on iTunes are starting to include "booklets," PDFs of the artwork viewable in iTunes, as well as music videos and exclusive tracks. As for not having something tangible, I consider that a benefit! I would never have the space for a physical equivalent of my 80+GB iTunes library.

Paradigm Shift (2, Insightful)

ballsmccoy (304705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606234)

There needs to be a shift in paradigm. The simple fact of the matter is that older people have paid time and time again for the same music. They bought it on LP, Cassette, CD, DTS Disc, DVD Audio etc.

Sure, something fundamentally needs to change with the record companies and their formulaic approach to building bands, instead of finding real talent out there, but that is a different argument.

The fact of the matter is, I should be able to rip my CDs, and purchase music online for whatever price, then I am on record as purchaseing/owning the right to listen to those songs. If 5 years from now songs that I have purchased already have been re-mastered from studio recordings and are now available in lossless, DTS 5-channel, MPEG-2 10 channel, whatever... I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FREELY DOWNLOAD THE NEW VERSIONS as they represent a more accurate representation of the recording I purchased the rights to hear. The money I paid was for the recording the artist laid down in the studio. If there is a new means of transmission that more faithfully reproduces the listening experience of that recording, great, give it to me. If not, when I purchase that song, give me the reel-to-reel, or DAT tape, or whatever.

How come no one has ever brought this up?

Re:Paradigm Shift (4, Interesting)

jagilbertvt (447707) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606302)

And exactly what would be the incentive for them to release newly remastered recordings if they can't recoup the costs (let alone make any profit).

Re:Paradigm Shift (2, Interesting)

brainee28 (772585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606483)

View it the same way with software. If you buy a version of software, and there are upgraded improvements to the original software you purchased, then they normally offer upgrade pricing. The music industry should do that as well; offer an upgrade price to people who have a copy of the LP, CD, or Tape or "Licensed Digital Audio" file purchased.

Re:Paradigm Shift (1)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606511)

Why do I need new remastered versions all the time. I can't keep track of how many different Coltrane remasters there are out there......

Re:Paradigm Shift (3, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606348)

I remember reading an interview with one of my very favorite artists where she said something along the lines that digital music is theft.

And I thought to myself, that if she saw me listening to her music on my iPod she's probably be angry with me, but how many times did I buy the same album by her? I could actually count 4 times: LP, Cassette, CD, remastered "special edition" CD. The only records of hers I haven't bought more than once are out of print.

Re:Paradigm Shift (3, Insightful)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606416)

You could always buy into the subscription model of music. That is what it sounds like you want.

I find I like the original recordings better mostly. It's like Black and White movies. The artists work with whatever medium they had at the time, and got it to sound (or in the case of B&W movies, look) the way they wanted, and that was that.

I'm sure that the Beatles could have done some funky ass stuff with Dolby Surround. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds could have been tripped out big time. But they didn't have access to it. So....why would I want a DTS5 channel version of it? Did John help remix it? No.

I do like my classic jazz remastered. But anything past like 1965 or so should be left alone.

Re:Paradigm Shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606419)

No, you paid for the content you received. Re-mixes, etc are new works. The same content distributed on a different medium is, however, the same work.

(You wouldn't want to listen to what most artists lay down in the studio, anyway)

This is why Steve Jobs and Apple suck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606428)

iPod with it's DRM is just a continuation of the the perpetual LP/Cassete/CD/iTunes upgrade gotcha. When you buy iTunes, you buy into a DRM that may not be there in the future and you are locked into one vendor until then.

Sure, Apple fanbois will try and mute any criticism of their beloved worldview but the truth is that Apple's gift to the RIAA is their ability make kids go crazy to buy DRM products. One day Apple will raise the price of music and they'll be stuck.

Apple says "own it forever and a day" but apple reserves the right to change at any time you can do with music you purcase from iTunes.

No thanks Apple, I'll stick with MP3 and OGG.

Re:Paradigm Shift (5, Insightful)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606513)

"I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FREELY DOWNLOAD THE NEW VERSIONS as they represent a more accurate representation of the recording I purchased the rights to hear."

Just like you should have the rights to download OS or applicaiton updates forever? If you weren't happy with your music choice at the time you should not have purchased it, simply because it's improved later does NOT give you the right to receive a free upgrade.

"How come no one has ever brought this up?"
Because it is a stupid idea.

server dead (-1, Offtopic)

Elminst (53259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606235)

and this is only the second comment! WTF?

Mirror with $-sign and quoted punctuation fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606313)

Jobs calls music industry greedy

9/20/2005 9:50:50 AM, by Ken "Caesar" Fisher

The runaway success of online music ventures such as the iTunes Music Stores have left many wondering how the music industry would react. As I reported back in April of 2004, music executives have seen the success of the stores, and are rubbing their hands together with glee. Job's original vision of 99 cents a song and 9.99$ for an album didn't last long, with the price of albums spreading out to 11.99$ and 14.99$ in some instances. Then, late last month Infinite Loop covered the impending storm: music industry types have started pointing their fingers at Jobs, alleging that he's only in it for himself, and that his expectations are essentially irrational. Jobs has fired back:

        "If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy", said Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs. "If the price goes up, they (consumers) will go back to piracy and everybody loses". He added, "Theft is bad", and the Buddhist joked that "You dont want to burn in Hell".

It may not seem like it, but it has been more than two years since the launch of the iTunes Music Store, and that alone has the music industry brimming with hopes for price-adjustments. They also don't buy Jobs' argument that a price increase will result in more piracy, but probably not for the reasons we might assume.

I've long been of the conviction that piracy is not nearly as large of a problem as the RIAA makes it out to be. The "losses" tossed about are undeniably trumped up in the service of political aims (P2P war, the DMCA, etc.), and the industry isn't losing money to casual piracy, but organized crime--crime, notably, that generates black market profits off of consumers buying knock-offs. The executives sitting at the big table intimately know their own bottom lines, they know how much they exaggerate their loses, and they know how utterly sweet it is to charge 10$ for music sans physical production costs, only to turn around and expect 2$ for a phone ringtone to boot. I wish the music industry's problems were my problems. That's how good they have it, and almost everyone else knows it, too. This is, after all, the same industry found guilty of price fixing.

Jobs is right. They are greedy. But they don't fear casual piracy. Most people don't mind paying for music, and those that pirate it typically aren't buying much music, anyway. If the music industry is getting bullish on pricing, it's all the proof you need to see that they don't fear casual piracy. They've seen the online machine work, they've seen people drop 200$ or more for portable music players, and now they want--nay, expect--more.

Maybe because.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606378)

People are RTFA ?

Instead of raising rates.. (5, Funny)

squison (546401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606238)

Maybe they could cut costs..but, oh, I don't know.. hiring less lawyers to sue their customers.

Re:Instead of raising rates.. (5, Interesting)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606476)

What Apple should do is start it's own label. They should buy Apple (the Beatles UK company), or partner with them, and have artists who would produce music on CD through Apple (UK) and via iTunes (Apple).

I think the whole music industry needs a shaking up, and a Apple + Apple thing could be the key. Music, done right. Supporting the artists who make the music.

Re:Instead of raising rates.. (5, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606515)

Don't be silly! Their legal department probably has a better cost/earning ratio than the rest of their operation!

=Smidge=

Apple team w/ Google (4, Interesting)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606246)

Apple should partner w/ Google and the recently announced Google Wi-Fi service [google.com] . Two power houses, major distribution and mind share, not to mention the pile of cash they're both sitting on. Oh and they'd be getting free advertisements w/ 2-3 combined posts per day here on /.

I'm with you, Steve (4, Funny)

bgfay (5362) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606247)

In fact, let's really show those greedy bastards and set the per song price of an iTunes download to twenty-five cents! That way, downloading an album would actually be cheaper than buying the jewel box.

You go, Steve!

Um, he is talking about lowering the prices, isn't he?

Oh.

Never mind.

Thank Jeebus!! (-1, Offtopic)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606248)

That was a close one!

Nothing to see here, folks. You may return to your regularly scheduled Apple worship.

It's not about the price, it's the power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606250)

Music industry was not happy with Music Television back days of 1980's and 1990's, because MTV had the power to make or not make new hits. Since then music industry have pushed MTV not to show music videos, rather than crappy shows.

But now music labels are getting to piss of by iTMS, not because of the price, but the power of Apple making the decission what's going to sell...

SONY Walkman (2, Interesting)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606251)

There actually was an issue that wasn't totally different with the SONY walkman. Back then the record industry was concerned about people taping albums and there is a story about it in the NY TIMES magazine around 1981, but it never mattered.

God bless Jobs... (2)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606252)

I couldn't agree more, and I'm sure most of the /. users agree as well. They are just plain greedy and there is nothing that will ever change that. Money makes every person on the planet greedy, it can make anyone evil. I hope Jobs succeeds at rejecting their pressure.

Re:God bless Jobs... (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606423)

On human nature - you have it the wrong way around. Money doesn't make people greedy - people are greedy to start with (it's a survival instinct) and money is just a means to satisfy greed.

A different approach to the online music market (3, Insightful)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606260)

The idea that the prices of music should go up is ludicrous. There is a site out there called AllOfMP3 [alloffmp3.com] that charges a nominal fee based on the file size, and it allows you to change the format and bitrate of files you download. It is, quite possibly, the most sophisticated online music store out there. I can get a full album for 1.10$. Since the site operates out of Russia, Russian copyright applies.

It's revolutionary, and it's a model that iTunes could stand to look at. Never will I pay 99 cents a song again.

Re:A different approach to the online music market (4, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606297)

Allofmp3 is *legal* in Russia, but if you look above the law, are the right people getting their due compensation? And no, I don't mean the "right people" in the legal sense.

Re:A different approach to the online music market (1)

SteveXE (641833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606436)

Its legal but its still P2P which means fake files can be injected into the network, so what happens when you start paying for fake files?

Re:A different approach to the online music market (1)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606496)

It's not P2P at all. In fact, when I select a song, it encodes it on the fly. I want a 128kbps MP3? I got it. I was a ginormous lossless file? I got it.

This is why so few people use it, because so few people really know what it is.

Re:A different approach to the online music market (1)

WellAren'tYouJustThe (705433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606340)

AllOfMP3 is illegal. What you are doing is essentially buying stolen goods. Here's a news flash for you - If you are an American, you can't violate American laws in other countries even if the action is legal in that country.

Re:A different approach to the online music market (2, Interesting)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606454)

Try again. http://www.museekster.com/allofmp3info.htm [museekster.com]

From that article:
Allofmp3.com is an on-line music service based in Moscow, Russia. The service started in 2001.

When we first discovered this site we were convinced that Allofmp3 is some kind of illegal operation. But by investigating this service further we came to a surprising conclusion.

Allofmp3 has signed agreements with Russian copyrights holders. They can legally offer music by all artists and from all labels.

In the past few months Allofmp3 has finally been discovered by the media. Smh.com, The Register and G4Techtv and the Wall Street Journal have published articles covering Allofmp3.

Allofmp3 is (or should we say was?) one of the best kept secrets of the internet. A music service with unique features. It sets an example for every other music service.

Awarded in Europe as the best Music Service

No wonder it has been awarded as the best Music Service by the leading German computer magazine C't. Even the official Consumers' Organization in The Netherlands has chosen Allofmp3 as the best place to download music. "The best service by far" was their surprising conclusion after testing seven services available in The Netherlands.

Heres another link. Read this too, and then try again.
http://www.museekster.com/allofmp3faq.htm [museekster.com]

Re:A different approach to the online music market (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606411)

Well, yeah. The Russian Mafia certainly have fewer start-up costs involved in the production of music, and they can always supplement their income from protection rackets, "borrowing" the appropriate equipment, etc. Essentially, for them, it's a matter of buying (or borrowing) a $10 CD, and ripping it, and then running the web servers.

iTunes on the other hand has to pay record producers rather than buy a one-off $10 CD. Those record producers have to spend large amounts of money on studios, recording equipment, engineers, and, well, artists too. And Steve Jobs can't just "borrow" money from the local convenience store if he runs into problems.

I'm sure there's stuff to learn from AllOfMP3 as there is any music service. Sources of funding, and hence pricing decisions, however, are not one of them.

Re:A different approach to the online music market (2, Insightful)

wvitXpert (769356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606469)

Why don't you just pirate the music? The artists would get the same amount of money that way, and you wouldn't have to worry about who in Russia is getting your money.

Marginal cost is nearly $0 (5, Insightful)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606263)

and if what Jobs says is accurate -- that the record companies make more profit from an iTunes song than physical media -- then yeah, I'd tend to agree that they're being greedy.

As the price of reproduction drops, the price of the item should drop correspondingly. At least that's how the economic theory goes. Profit margins drop but profits are made through bulk sales, much like today's commodity ethernet cards and memory chips. It allows for many companies (or artists) to create a product, spurring competition, providing choice. All of this is good for the consumer.

Yeah, the RIAA is still trying to stick it to us.

Re:Marginal cost is nearly $0 (2, Informative)

MrAndrews (456547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606461)

The problem is that you're a few steps behind the logic curve on this issue*. I shall try and illustrate it for you:

In the beginning, music was tied to a chunk of plastic. Then, the plastic was made optional and you could buy it online (with negligible distribution costs)... but to avoid gutting the existing plastic sales, the prices were fixed similarly.

There was an initial resistance to bits vs plastic because everyone thought the real cost was in the pressing and printing and cover art... but that's faded in the past 2 years. Now that the plastic-free version has taken off and people are starting to appreciate that they're paying for the music and not the disc, the question becomes "What is the music worth to you?"

It's not relative to other plastic discs, it's relative to other pursuits of happiness. If you LOVE this song, it's gotta be worth more than $0.99.

In other words, they had trouble getting over the lack of plastic at first, and now they're so excited about "apples vs oranges" economics that they're DYING to try out selling Coldplay for $3/track. And while YOU won't do it, there are a bunch of "I gots me an AOL" folks who WILL, and that's all you need to make it worthwhile.

I agree with Jobs on this, and I agree with you, but I think everyone underestimates how astoundingly greedy the RIAA can be.

* in all fairness, if you weren't behind the curve, you'd likely be a bad person

Pressure from Pepsi? (5, Funny)

kosibar (671097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606264)

I never bought a song on iTunes - I've gotten them all for free with Pepsi caps.

I don't usually drink Pepsi, but when I see those yellow caps, I tip the bottles, find a winner, then get a Pepsi (instead of the Coke I would buy otherwise) and get my free song.

So I think this is in response to pressure from Pepsi. If you pay more per song, you'll be more likely to buy a Pepsi for a chance to win a free download.

It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

Re:Pressure from Pepsi? (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606341)

"I never bought a song on iTunes - I've gotten them all for free with Pepsi caps. I don't usually drink Pepsi, but when I see those yellow caps, I tip the bottles, find a winner, then get a Pepsi (instead of the Coke I would buy otherwise) and get my free song."

No kidding. I got my 200 song credits in this past Pepsi promo. It helped that there was also the chance to win an iPod with each point as well throughout the duration of the promotion.

However, with these Pepsi promotions, I found myself having to switch to Diet Pepsi for obvious reasons. Of course, now all I buy is Diet Pepsi because I cannot stand the taste of Diet Coke, which is the exact opposite reaction I have to their non-diet counterparts. So unless I'm having a soft drink at a restaurant with my food, Coke has lost me as a loyal customer.

And now, its all about getting those Xbox360 points! :)

Fake Piracy (2, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606265)

Everytime I hear of music piracy, I always think of the quote that I believe Justin Frankel said in relationship between Napster and iTunes. The basic philosophy was that the music industry really screwed up by not catching Napster soon enough. By the time they offered the pay for download services, people already knew they could download free music. This meant that every time someone bought a song from iTunes, in the back of their head they were saying "I can definitely get this song for free somewhere." To this day, that's what really is driving the P2P downloaders, however many of them are left.

The music industry is just greedy and they're completely out of control. Someone needs to shut them down and quick. However, without their money many artists probably wouldn't get their albums published, so it's kind of a necessary evil that we have to deal with.

Re:Fake Piracy (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606432)

If you are a new artist, you are probably better off without a major record label.

Look at Aimee Mann. Her career has certainly gone better since going independent.

Re:Fake Piracy (1)

mr_gerbik (122036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606495)

Look at Aimee Mann. Her career has certainly gone better since going independent.

Aimee who?? Yeah, her career is really taking off since going independent.

Re:Fake Piracy (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606516)


The music industry is just greedy and they're completely out of control. Someone needs to shut them down and quick. However, without their money many artists probably wouldn't get their albums published, so it's kind of a necessary evil that we have to deal with.


This is the kind of BS that keeps these guys going. You can record a CD in your bedroom (home recording gear/software has progressed a LOT.) You can burn your own CDs. Record stores are disappearing (noticed how many of them have closed in the last 5 years?) Distribution is going online. Almost anyone can sell CDs on Amazon (their distribution terms are very favorable to smaller labels; look at the revolution in the book publishing industry for precedent.) No longer are the major publishers in control.

Once bands figure this out (and they already are) everyone stands to benefit. No more dealing with DRM on your discs, best yet, you can own your own songs. The big kicker with most record contracts is that you have to sign over your rights to your music to the record company. It's not like you can argue the terms of a record contract if you're an up-and-coming band; if they don't sign you they'll sign the next band that will agree to their terms.

With the RIAA cartel, the artist has no say in HOW their music is published. The RIAA will still pump out CDs, but I already get much of my music from bands who chose not to go with a major label. These guys are dinosaurs, evolution will take its course.

It's about time (1)

cwalk (899502) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606271)

Finally someone in a power position stands up against the RIAA. However, IMHO $1 is still too expensive. Anyone know how much artists get from that $1? "No more record company pimpin'" - Ice Cube

Re:It's about time (2, Interesting)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606391)

"Finally someone in a power position stands up against the RIAA. However, IMHO $1 is still too expensive. Anyone know how much artists get from that $1? "No more record company pimpin'" - Ice Cube"

Probably around 10 cents. The group that gets the largest cut (supposedly) from each song sold on iTunes at 99 cents is the RIAA. Reportedly, the RIAA gets 30 cents, which is even more than the actual music label.

RIAA too greedy? (1, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606277)

And this come from the man that prevents ITunes music from running on anything other that an IPod and prevents Real from releasing DRMed music for the IPod.

Next he'll be saying that the movie industry is charging too much for all the product placement.

Re:RIAA too greedy? (2, Insightful)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606455)

"And this come from the man that prevents ITunes music from running on anything other that an IPod and prevents Real from releasing DRMed music for the IPod."

The music industry does not pay the bandwidth cost of the iTunes Music Store. Apple pays for that from the profits generated from iPods sold.

Why are you championing Real? Did Real pioneer the concept of buying music online? No, they were the main force behind MusicNet, which was a music rental system. It was totally unsuccessful.

Real also went ahead and broke the Fairplay DRM, which arguably is a violation of the DMCA. So again, how is Real the good guy here?

Macslash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606291)

This item belongs to macslash [macslash.org] , the source of Zonk news.

what's wrong with you Zonk??? are you in apple payroll?

WTF!?! (5, Insightful)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606294)

Job's original vision of 99 cents a song and $9.99 for an album didn't last long, with the price of albums spreading out to $11.99 and $14.99 in some instances

Ok. First of all, I don't know exactly what they're talking about - online or Pressed CDS. But, selling a song for $.99 or $9.99 an album WITHOUT HAVING TO PRESS A CD, MAKE COVER ART, have a jewel case, and truck it to the stores, is pretty steep. I was part of a survey a couple of years ago asking "how much would you pay to download a song?" I answered, "$.25" Asked why, I answered, "Because the music publishers do not have any media costs other than bandwidth and royalties. Excluding the royalties (which are a constant), bandwidth is MUCH cheaper than jewel cases, CD, physical distribution costs (trucking of the CDs, etc...) and the artwork."

In short, I think Jobs is right on the money here.

Re:WTF!?! (4, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606385)

The music companies aren't even paying for the bandwidth! Or paying to administer ITMS! The biggest problem they have is signing all the checks Apple sends them.

Re:WTF!?! (3, Interesting)

spadefoot (908522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606386)

I agree wholeheartedly. That's why I use http://emusic.com/ [emusic.com] . The albums are all indie label, the songs cost a little over $.25 each (if you buy the higher sub)and are in high-bit-rate, non-DRM'd .mp3 format. I've complained to my friends and co-workers for years that $.99 a song is a rip-off, not a "Good Deal". I buy all my music from Emusic now, and couldn't be happier with it.

Re:WTF!?! (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606460)

"In short, I think Jobs is right on the money here."

On the money? Oh, how true.

There was a great signature I saw once that went something like this: "Information wants to be $7.99" (or some other figure like that. At least I thought it was funny.

Maybe naive (5, Insightful)

1nhuman (597328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606301)

But why not cut out the middle-man? We don't need "the music industrie" for on-line music do we?

Artist -> Online shop -> Customer makes more sense to me.

The online shop (iTunes for instance) could take care of the marketing as well.

Re:Maybe naive (2, Insightful)

Doc Ri (900300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606463)

Maybe naive

Maybe a little. Depending on the style of music and their training, the artists might need some quite expensive equipment and trained personnel to come up with a production that you actually would enjoy listening to.

That does not mean your point is entirely wrong. But you might want to insert a producer in the production chain.

Re:Maybe naive (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606521)

I feel compelled to mention Magnatune [magnatune.com] .
We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music. Listen to 418 complete MP3 albums we've picked (not 30 second snippets). We let the music sell itself, because we think that's the best way to get you excited by it. Our selection is intentionally small: we never waste your time with mediocre music. If you like what you hear, download an album for as little as $5 (you pick the price), or buy a real CD, or license our music for commercial use. Artists keep half of every purchase. And unlike most record labels, our artists keep all the rights to their music. No major label connections and no venture capital. We are not evil.

Monopolistic practices... (1)

infiniter (745494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606305)

I buy a lot of music from iTunes... I have an iPod, and the price is fair. Raising the price would, in my mind, make it unfairly high.

It seems logical to me to think that if a retailer wishes to sell songs for a dollar, that's their right. What is forcing a retailer to raise prices, if not price fixing?

The music industry needs to be thoroughly investigated. Everything they do lately smacks of anti-trust behavior.

De-legitimization (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606312)

It's clear that the RIAA doesn't want Apple/iTMS to be dominant... and to be able to squeeze every last penny from their victims^Wcustomers. How best to get both of these to happen? Glad you asked:
  1. Reduce popularity of iTunes w/r/t the othery crufty online music stores
  2. Make licensing complex so that profits can be maximized (ie, now you can pay $X for a limited-license piece of music, or $X+Y for the same song, "full rights enabled")... note these are the same tricks used by software industry giants (MSFT, ORCL, etc).
Obviously, the best way to acheive both of these is to apply monopoly/cartel power against Apple, and see if you can topple/suppress the king of the hill. RIAA's wet dream: all your online music licensed like Yahoo's model (bonus: subscription price increases every year, once there are no viable alternatives!)

Ars server problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606321)

They have been having some weird problems all morning. They are aware of the situation and working on it. It happened before this post though, just FYI.

Piracy Is A Big Problem.... (1)

lordsony (916205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606329)

RIAA: Alert! At this time, we have no back-up excuse for the horrible sales rate of CD's... (The Cd's sales rate is of course in no way related to the blown-up wannabe-stars--because-i-got-to-be-in-american-ido l-even-though-i-can't-compose-sing-play-a-instrume nt-or-be-creative)

Re:Piracy Is A Big Problem.... (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606413)

A couple of years ago on MSNBC, there was a RIAA spokesman who said that they had numbers that proved that piracy is affecting their members' sales. Where do we get these "numbers" you ask? Got me. But here's a suggestion for a /. interview: An interview with a RIAA spokesperson. Also, have him show us their numbers and their study.

"Hey, what do with this golden goose?" (5, Funny)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606332)

"What does it do?"

"It lays golden eggs."

"Do we own the goose?"

"No, but we get half the eggs as long as the goose uses our nest."

"We ain't got to do nuthin' and we still get half the eggs?"

"Yep."

"But we don't own the goose."

"Nope."

"I say we kill it!"

- Crow T. Trollbot

higher price = better quality files? (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606333)

While I disagree with any price-raising for iTunes tracks, if they do proceed to to raise the price, they should at least upgrade the file encoding from 128kbps to 192kbps or more.

There is no such thing as a FAIR price... (4, Insightful)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606344)

Just look at the current spike in oil prices! Yes, I know that we are approaching peak production and such and that the days of cheap oil are over, but the current spike in gasoline prices is just a matter of pure greed...
The seller of a product will usually set the price of a product to a level that he thinks the market is able bear without turning to alternatives (theft, competition, abstinence, etc.). If the good ole' boys over at the RIAA think that $9.99 for a downloadable album is not enough (and trust me - they do!) then they'll explore every nook and cranny if they can get away with charging a few bucks more! Businesses have no sense of 'fair', 'good', or 'evil' - they produce a product and will try to squeeze as much profit out of their customers as possible. If the profits are less than expected than they will try to 'instill demand' (think advertising and other types of brainstorming) to somehow part Joe Shmoe with part of his earnings.

At the end of the day, it's a voting game - they rise the prices, we go back to piracy. Trust me, economic consequence is the only language they understand. Companies are by default pathological entities that have no compassion, vision (in most cases at least), remorse, or concience. It will squeeze you for all you got - that's why it is a commercial entity! The democratic mediator is the consumer and obviously most of the responses on this thread (it just started and I'm an early poster, but let me just guess ;-) will be against a price hike. If nothing else the RIAA is looking in the wrong direction - as competition brews I believe that these prices should come down, not go up. After all, there is no physical media involved and selling bags of bites is a great business to be in...

Flat pricing on iTunes (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606350)

The problem I have is that all songs are the same price, which is fixed. Why not allow more variable pricing? I'm sure they can hire a few pricing gurus to figure out the price for each song to maximize profits, based upon numbers of units sold -- this will make them happy.

What's the advantage to consumers? Lower prices for less popular tracks -- although legacy or hard-to-find tracks might be more expensive.

If they set the pricing too high, the black market grabs a larger share.

Price-fixing is not the right way to operate this market, IMO.

Prices need to go down not up (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606366)

99 cents for a track is hardly a bargain when to purchase a full CD costs you 75% - but without any of the rights that go along with owning a physical CD such as being to sell it on.


And of course for non-chart music, you could probably pick up the actual CD for less just by scouring eBay, zShops or even a sale in a regular bricks & mortar store.

He left out (3, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606380)

"calling the music industry greedy"
Shitheads from the end of that sentence...

this is bad (4, Insightful)

humina (603463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606403)

I am going to argue that this is a bad thing. An industry that is controlled mostly by the RIAA will constantly try to control your music with DRM and increased prices. Apple didn't deal the RIAA a blow here. Apple merely bought some time until the RIAA will put pressure on them again. Since alternative distribution and licensing will only come when the music is priced at the levels that the RIAA likes, I think this is a blow to better music, better licensing, and better distribution systems. I said it and I meant it. I think music should be released under the creative commons [wikipedia.org] . With the itms, all music will be licensed with the most restrictive terms possible.

I'll probably get modded as a troll for not saying "apple R0X0RZ", but whatever.

On a semi-related note... (1, Informative)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606408)

... why is it that so many songs are missing from iTunes? I recently ordered an iPod nano and so installed iTunes to prepare for its arrival: I was browsing the store to buy some songs I've always wanted but for some reason I wasn't able to find basically anything I wanted:

= Nothing by George Harrison
= Nothing by Queen
= Jamiroquai albums are mostly missing as well

what's up with that? yeah, Jamiroquai might be a little niche, but don't tell me that Queen and George Harrison are.

Re:On a semi-related note... (4, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606466)

Nothing by George Harrison

See "Apple Records vs. Apple Computer".

Abroad... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606410)

I have bought 2 cds in my life, the only one I can remember was a weird al yankovic. It was pretty good, but pretty much all other american music sucks. Whats the point of it all? Pay tons of money to listen to somethign that sucks, rehashed from the same old formula, and have drm crawling all over it? I've moved into listening to toechno and music from other countries. Places like japan, and all over the world have stuff that sounds much better and is cheaper.

To the RIAA, get your act together, make some good songs then your record sales will go back up. You aren't losing money to filesharing, your losing money because your producing crap.

Re:Abroad... (0, Flamebait)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606427)

Any one how thinks that "Weird Al" Yankovic is "pretty good" has NO right to judge ANY music. None. Nada. Zip.

Good Luck With That (2, Interesting)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606417)

I mean does the RIAA really HAVE to allow apple to sell music? What's to really stop them from dictating terms.

allofmp3.com (1, Informative)

kihjin (866070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606418)

No, I'm no advertiser.

http://allofmp3.com/ [allofmp3.com] does it right. Not only can you select what format you want (MP3, OGG, FLAC, many, many, others), the prices are based soley on the size of the resulting file. On average the price is $0.02 USD per megabyte. I purchased 5 songs last night for only $0.54. However, I could have gotten the same 5 songs in FLAC format for only $2.50.

Why couldn't iTunes do the same?

Re:allofmp3.com (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606517)

Why couldn't iTunes do the same?

Because iTunes isn't operating out of the ex-Soviet-Union.

Is it legal to download music from site AllOFMP3.com?


All the materials in the MediaServices projects are available for distribution through Internet according to license # LS-3-05-03 of the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society. Under the license terms, MediaServices pays license fees for all the materials subject to the Law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights". All the materials are available solely for personal use and must not be used for further distribution, resale or broadcasting.

Users are responsible for any usage and distribution of all materials received from AllOFMP3.com. This responsibility depends on the local legislation of each user's country of residence. AllOFMP3.com's Administration does not keep up with the laws of different countries and is not responsible the actions of non-Russian users.

Why, perchance, they doth protest too much. (3, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606424)

A friend of mine had a book on producing movies from the library. When visiting her place, I cracked the book open and found an eye opening fact.

Industry associations like the MPAA (and, I presume the RIAA), take a cut off the top from producers. About half of that cut goes, supposedly, to anti-piracy efforts.

So, they need to make it look like they're fighting piracy. What better way to get headlines proving you're fighing piracy then to go off suing a bunch of 13 year-olds??/

Then, of course, there's the fact that, if they can legally squash fair use, then they can ultimately charge and track people for each time they listen to a song. More money for less work. It's almost like printing the stuff.

sick and tired of the "piracy" word (-1, Troll)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606433)

With all due respect, piracy is where you board a ship and murder people. Yes I know, technically it describes illegal copying too, but technically "niggers" is just an ordinaly descriptive adjective that describes people with dark colored skin. The bottom line, it is that the word piracy says a lot more about the ignorance of the people who use it than the morality of those who copy information at their disposal freely.

No, piracy is a problem. (3, Interesting)

dougman (908) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606447)

I've long been of the conviction that piracy is not nearly as large of a problem as the RIAA makes it out to be.
I assume that when you wrote this you were thinking "kids downloading songs" == piracy. I agree that it isn't a huge problem and furthermore believe that it could be proven to increase sales due to the additional exposure to new music, the desire for clean copies and so forth.

However, organized crime (particularly in Asia, former Soviet Union and now offshore on boats in international waters [read: no law], there is a very large problem. Anything that exists on disc (music, games, software, movies) is subject to theft and distribution. Traditional Organized Crime via physical goods is still more profitable than electronic business.

I believe the RIAA could make a great deal of headway in its piracy campaign if they would focus attention on the real problem. They would "pick up" the little guys they claim to be the problem and would sway public opinion (who dispise organized crime other than the Soprano's).

I'm hardly advocating for the RIAA here or suggesting that increasing levels of encryption is the way to go (this will never will work with any media that can be heard or seen imho) but don't ignore the fact that you can find any movie (including ones that have never been released to DVD) on the street in NYC. That guy with the blanket full of discs isn't a small businessman - he's working for organized crime.

No worries. (4, Insightful)

ryantate (97606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606473)

I am sure this is a casual comment by Jobs, because he is in the catbird seat and has no reason to worry. He has the power here.

What are the labels going to do if they don't like the terms of iTunes music store? Go to another store? No.

1. No other store has near the volume or reach of Apple's. No one else has the brand recognition or ease of use.

2. By far the number one music player is the iPod, and only the Apple music store can sell protected music files that work on that player. The labels could try and sell unprotected MP3 files but this seems unlikely.

So going above 99 cents per track means either convinving Jobs (not likely) or moving music off the Apple music store -- which means lost sales and possibly more piracy. Not going to happen. Jobs is in a great position.

Prices Should be Lowered Not Raised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13606499)

Since the record companies don't produce any physical product iTunes sales are more profitable. If anything all they supply is permission and for it get a buck a song. Drop the price to $0.25 per track and you create a tiered price system, CDs for the big purchase, iTunes singles to supplement, not replace, the music you purchased on CD. In the end they will make more money. The proof is the movie industry, which has a tiered price system between the box office and DVD rentals. DVD rentals are much cheaper, yet DVD rentals generate more revenue and profit than first run theater receipts. Sell cheap downloads and make your money on volume.

RIAA: Sure! Piracy Is A Problem! (1)

lordsony (916205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13606520)

RIAA: Alert! At this time, we have no back-up excuse for the horrible sales rate of CD's... Of course these are in no way related to our quality "muscians": Seriously, most of today's "Stars", are "Stars" even though: -they can't sing -can't play an instrument -can't compose a single song -can't be creative (you know that funny feeling doing something "original", yeah you heard it "original") -don't even look good Instead they are stars because: -They look good -Have a great pr-manager, hence an "interesting" image (remember tatu, the russian lesbians?) -have a great songwriter -slept with someone important -got a porn video "accidently" floating around -are rich -went to american idol and so on... No wonder I usually only buy cd's of of indie labels, where imho the "real" artists are...(just discovered cocorosie and notwist, great stuff by the way!)
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