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iTunes \"steals music\'s soul\"

updated 10:45 am EST, Thu February 16, 2006

iTunes hurts musicians

At least one indie label is refusing to allow iTunes to license any of the indie label's music, according to a report. Victory Records' founder Tony Brummel says that iTunes "makes music disposable. It makes it a faceless impulse item. It steals its soul," according to Macworld UK. Brummel asks why consumers should be allowed to "cherry pick" specific songs, thus "cannibalizing full length album sales," with an apparent impact on artist incomes, according to the report. In regards to Apple's influence in the music industry, Brummel points out that if the major labels wanted to force Apple away from the set-pricing model, they would all pull out their music from iTunes. "Focus on the 96 percent which is traditional retail. Traditional retail supports music 1,000 times more than iTunes does."

by MacNN Staff




  1. Elektrix

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me a break.....

    You'd think an indy label would recognize most of all how useful something like iTMS (or any electronic distribution) can be. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that if I walk down to my local record chain (say, an FYE or a Sam Goody or a Tower Records), I probably couldn't find a lot of smaller indy CD's. But an electronic store like iTMS doesn't need to worry about which CD's to stock, etc. And if I hear something about some indy band, I'm very likely to check out iTMS and see if their stuff is for sale, but I'm not going to drive out to the store and then hunt around in the hopes that they have a copy of their CD left. And regarding cannibalizing album sales; last I checked, there are a number of albums on iTunes where you can only buy the full album, not individual songs. If that's really the big deal, he could put his label's albums up for sale and make them album-only sales.

  1. Kajo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sounds like greed to me

    I can't think of the last time I thought all the songs on an album were worth buying. More often then not a band has to push the album based on one or two good songs. I doubt this guys "indie" recordings are much different.

  1. Michael950

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh yeah!

    Because we all know how intersted record labels are in the apparent impact on artist incomes.

  1. Norwood

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If the soul...

    isn't in each song, it sure as heck isn't going to be in an album.

  1. rubik

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Victory Records is hardly indie... they've got MTV and Yahoo Music banner ads all over their site.

    i know people who run very small independent labels and they adore iTunes.

    and as eletrix said, you can sell as "Album Only" if you want. you don't have to allow people to buy single songs.

    this guy has no argument.

  1. ScottEllsworth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tony is wrong

    With over 6700 songs in my library, all legally purchased either on CD or from the ITMS, I think I can talk with some authority about at least one music listener who buys product. That includes over three hundred ITMS songs, which include whole albums as well as single tracks.

    As an amateur musician, I can talk about the other side too - the goals of making music, getting it heard, and trying to make a living at it. I have not made a living at it, but my guitar teacher and a few ex bandmates have, and it is not an easy life.

    From both perspectives, Tony is wrong.

    The ITMS allows customers to enjoy music in different ways than a CD sale, and allows them to optimize their music purchases. Further, it lowers the costs to get that music to the customer, which allows an artists to sell just one song, or just one CD to a customer without having to set up a storefront, or convince a big chain to carry the music. This makes the customer more likely to buy music, not less.

    Further, with a cost of entry of a buck, it makes it much easier for a marginal customer to find out about you, and to buy your stuff. Your risk is small, as a consumer, which means you might try a song you do not like. I grabbed a Limp Bizkit song the other day that was not nearly as good as the preview indicated, but given that I only spent a buck, I am not nearly as vexed as I would be if I had shelled out for an album.

    For me, Limp Bizkit produces roughly 1/3 four star songs, and roughly 2/3 two star songs. Would Tony rather that I not buy _any_ of their music, as opposed to buying just the third I think is listen-able and good?

    Frankly, Tony seems to have lost sight of the customer. You are playing for an audience, either live or at the other end of a CD sale. If you do not want to do that, or think that somehow your own desires about how the music is to be done outweigh the desires of your audience, then stop producing music for sale.

    Face it, if you are trying to make a living as a musician, those fans that buy your music are supporting you. They are paying your bills, and they do it because they like the music you create. Some of them only like one song of yours, or prefer to listen to it with other songs, and that is not stealing the soul of the music, it is letting that soul commune with their own lives by putting it in a place where it can.

    So, Tony's complaint is not with the music store, methinks, but with the very idea that people are buying and selling his music.

  1. Jeff Edsell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good Job

    Nicely said, scottellsworth. I think that about covers it.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get over it

    Whoever invented pages long ago removed the soul from literature.

  1. Janus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In other news today

    Mavis Bogglesworth,the PR lady at little known independent record label Victory Records,today told founder Tony Brummel that he needed to raise his profile to be seen as a player in the industry.

    As a result Tony issued a press release stating that no artist signed with Victory Records would allow their music to be played on radio until such time as radio stations agreed to play entire albums. The cherry picking of singles steals an artists integrity said Tony. Playing music on the radio cannibalises album sales. Every time that a single is played on radio we lose an albumn sale.

    We further commit not to ever release a "Best Of" compilation album of any artist here at Victory.

    In a further move which industry insiders say is sure to prove contentious, Victory is testing a new DRM system which will disable the skip and repeat buttons on all CD players. Our new DRM system will also stop the ripping of music to MP3s said Tony, as this format allows a listener to hear the tracks as singles or out of order, thereby destroying the "completeness" of the album that we at Victory strive so hard to create.

  1. Sondjata

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In Other News

    Artists from Victory Records have apparently given an ultimatum to the label. Either they post thier songs to iTunes or the acts will break their contracts and sign with labels that do cooperate with iTunes.

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