Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Albums only = more money

News is coming out that the record labels want online digital music shops to only sell albums.

How interesting.

I made the point ages ago that with the advent of buying by the song, the filler (aka "album tracks") that usually creep onto an album will never be bought and it will harder and harder to justify signing acts to record anything more than the chart-centred songs that actually sell.

Sure, diehard fans will buy the album tracks, but the average fan (read as: those who only buy Now 55 and the like) won't. The only reason they buy a bnad's album at the moment is... well, I'm not sure. I'd buy a single from a band if I only liked one song - at least you get a b-side or a remix or something.

Under the new regime, I can really see the days of the album and the Greatest Hits compilation being well and truly numbered. Obviously, so can the labels who are putting pressure on Apple's iTune Store and others to scrap song-by-song purchasing.

The register make some salient points on this argument:

If people are to get into the habit of owning an awful lot more music, then it is essential that playlists drive the model, not albums. Customers want "type" or "genres" of music to sit together to create mood. They do not want all of a recording artists' work played in one block, and they don't want to be forced to buy it that way either. And what seems ridiculous to us is that all music, regardless of age, should be charged at the same rate.

The distilled point you can take away from this argument is that as long as the record industry has something the consumer wants, they'll try as hard as hell to screw the consumer over.
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