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Pink Floyd wins ruling, bans single-song downloads

updated 10:00 am EST, Thu March 11, 2010

Pink Floyd decision may pull music from iTunes

Pink Floyd in a UK court on Thursday won a key ruling in its case against EMI for allegedly breaking its contract terms. The quick turnaround would prevent the music label from selling any Pink Floyd songs as individual downloads without permission from the band. In his findings, Judge Morritt determined that the key clause preventing per-track sales was meant to "preserve the artistic integrity" regardless of format.

EMI had tried to argue that this part of the contract only covered physical media and not downloads. Critics of this model had said it was being used to avoid paying full royalties for the online sales of many bands.

The legal victory also tackles the question of royalties relating to sales, but EMI previously won a minor ruling that would keep the number secret as a competitive secret.

Pink Floyd's win potentially removes its content from most online music stores, including Amazon MP3, iTunes and most any store that allows customers to buy songs individually. The group can potentially keep its content on the stores as-is by granting permission, but it may have difficulty persuading some stores to agree to such terms. Apple in particular has often insisted that all songs under 10 minutes must be available individually and may be more likely to pull content outright than agree to a compromise.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969



    down go sales of the second-most-valuable song catalog in the world.

  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Does it matter?

    Eh, I put Pink Floyd in the same category as the Beatles: I already have the full catalog so it doesn't affect me, and they're successful enough at this point that I don't begrudge them the right to dictate how their music is sold. Besides, anyone who likes Pink Floyd realizes many of their songs outside of the context of their album really do lose something, so I respect if they are trying to maintain that cohesion.

  1. DougAdams

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey, hey

    It ain't the Floyd unless its on VINYL.

  1. facebook_Don

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2010


    comment title


    Comment buried. Show
  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who cares?

    This kind of stupidity goes way beyond dumb. It's about like a book publisher banning sales on the Internet because he's more comfortable with brick and mortar book stores. Also similar to a company requiring that all interoffice communications go via typed and printed memo via the company's mail system rather than email. It amounts to passing a rule against forward progress.

    The bottom line is that someone who wants a Pink Floyd song will no longer head for iTunes. Now they'll head for Bit Torrent, Limewire, or some other file sharing service. They'll still get the Pink Floyd song but Pink Floyd won't get any money. The one thing they won't even consider would be buying an entire CD just so they can get the one or two songs that they like.

    By the way, did Pink Floyd ever have a good song? I can't recall one.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not the point

    I really don't understand what the big confusion is over here. It has nothing to do with Pink Floyd being good or not (btw, I am over 40, and I think they are GREAT...but this is beside the point).

    The nature of the record contract is NO SINGLES. You cannot sell just a song. Period. They are the creators, it is their right. You don't have to transfer the whole thing to your iPod if you don't want to. Why is this so hard to translate to digital media.

    Same thing with books. Ebooks are fine. I like them. However, if I buy an ebook that has rights managment, I cannot make unlimited copies for my friends. I can transfer my ownership to a friend, but no copies.

    If someone opts to put something online they can prevent downloads or limit simultaneous connections (simulating 5 copies, for example). OR allow unlimited...but it should honor whatever the contract is.

  1. JoeSubling

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Your comments show a complete ignorance of Pink Floyd. They're an iconic band, and one of the most iconic albums they created, The Wall, would be completely artistically compromised if it were sold track by track.

    The fact that you can't even remember a good song by Pink Floyd shows that you have no reason to be speaking on the subject of Pink Floyd.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Don't be ridiculous - talk about getting all huffy over nothing.

    There is no other possible ruling in this case. Pink Floyd wants its music to be available as album-only, and it's in their contract, so that's their right. Whether you like their artistic vision or not, they should be in control of how their music is presented. They are part of the lucky few, who have any say at all about what their record label does.

    If a band won't list on iTunes because it only wants its music presented as full albums, or if it won't sell lossy compressed music, good for them.

    Oh, and Dave - is there anyone in this world who cares what you think about Pink Floyd's music? Don't be so pompous.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Aaaand

    down go sales of the second-most-valuable song catalog in the world.

    Let's see. People complain and moan about all the c*** music out there and how so many are in it for the money, and the labels are out to suck artists dry.

    Now here comes an artist who obviously isn't in it for the money (since, as you say, sales will drop). Does this artist get respect? No, of course not. They get blasted for NOT being in it just to make money.

    Or maybe they are in it for the money. Do they get credit for standing up to their label and insisting that they abide by their contract (in a possible attempt to get the label to make a new deal and send more money to the artist)? Nope.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No big deal, if I cant find the individual songs I want on sale online I can just pirate the ones I want. The only loss is to EMI/Pink Floyd.

    I am of the opinion they just want all there filler songs in between the hits to turn some form of profit as well. Its nothing to do with Artistic merits because they cant control which songs I listen to and in what order. The Artist ability in dictating that kind of control only comes from concerts where people dont have the ability to fast forward, skip and pause. All forms of personal media players means the control is in the hands of the listener not the recorder.

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