iTunes prices should be lower, labels “don’t get it” | iLounge News

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iTunes prices should be lower, labels “don’t get it”

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Monday, May 3, 2004
News Categories: iTunes

“But some popular albums are inexplicably higher. Buying all 14 tracks on Jessica Simpson’s “In the Skin” on iTunes cost 13.86. The physical album, including a bonus DVD with scenes from her wedding, is $13.39 from Amazon. Sheryl Crow is perhaps the artist who has most aggressively promoting legal downloading. Her 2003 greatest hits album has a song missing on iTunes; buying the 16 others will cost you $15.84. The physical CD with all 17 songs cost $9.99 on Amazon.

This is crazy. Online prices should always be much lower than physical CDs. The economics of downloading favor high volume. CDs have to be pressed, warehoused and shipped, but in the online world, you transmit a file to the vendor and just collect money. When a super popular artist like Norah Jones emerges, forget about convincing a hundred thousand people to download it at $13-get a million people to make the mouse-buy for five bucks. It’s nice to sell 100,000 Norah Jones albums online at $13, but even better to sell 2 million at five bucks a pop.”

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Comments

1

that’s right. online music should cost much less that real CD’s, because:
if i purchase a digital album I will only have the songs, no booklet, no images, no text, no extra contents; if I want to put them on a cd i will have to buy a CD-R; the quality is much lower than CD’s.
if things remain like this I will never use the ITunes Music Store, simply it’s not a good value for money. 

Posted by andre_guinness on May 3, 2004 at 8:06 AM (PDT)

2

I agree.  Especially since the quality is much less.  If I buy the CD, I get high quality uncompressed audio, which I can compress at whatever level I choose for my MP3 player.  With the dowloads I get vastly inferior 128Kbps compressed.

I’ve bought my share of iTunes music.  But never anything I really care about.

For some (aparently not many!), quality still does matter.

Posted by Steve Martin on May 3, 2004 at 8:29 AM (PDT)

3

At first I thought there must be some mistake out this information, but I just checked those albums and yes, those prices are correct (another example, Coldplay’s new album is $10.89, with 11 songs).

It seems that a new pricing scheme is taking effect: you pay 99 cents per track, regardless if it’s the full album.  It is possible that this may only affect hot new albums, but it’s still a sad departure from the $9.99 for any full album in the store.

Since the iTunes Music Store is not a big money maker for Apple and it’s been said that it basically exists only to sell iPods, that leads me to think that this price hike is coming from the record companies.  In that regard, I agree with the article.

As stated in the article, the ITMS isn’t competing with Wal Mart’s music store, or Napster 2 or whatever.  It’s competing with free file sharing applications.  Why should people use the ITMS when they can songs free from Kazaa, etc.?  Competitive pricing was a key motivating factor.  Getting a 16 song album from a hot artist for ten bucks isn’t bad, considering the same album would go for $14-16 in brick and mortar stores.

But what happens when people realize that they have to pay $14-16 for a downloaded album that: A. includes Digital Rights Management complications (wait, so you mean I can’t play this song on my iRiver?) and B. doesn’t sound as good as a regular cd (not to mention no liner notes)?

There are three ways (or combinations thereof) a company can sell a product: they can make or market it better than the competition, they can produce it faster than the competition or they can sell it cheaper than the competition.

If the ITMS prices rise too high, they definetely won’t have the “cheaper than the competition” edge over cds or the “better than the competition” edge over file swapping.

Posted by Zim on May 3, 2004 at 8:33 AM (PDT)

4

The record companies are trying to sqeeze every cents they can from honest consumers to compensate for illegal downloads. it only ensures that people only buy a few songs from their albums. My friends and I all are now only buying the songs that we feel will stand the test of time (~3-4 songs per album). I’m sure we’re not alone in this. It just isn’t worth getting a whole album. 90% of CDs the record companies put outm contain a few good songs anyway.

Posted by Starboard on May 3, 2004 at 8:48 AM (PDT)

5

I love how the article points out that Apple may not have the consumer or music fans best interests at heart when it comes to interoperability or usage restriction. You can play that song here but not there type of stuff.

The pathetic Apple fanboys on this site who constantly spew their “Think Different” mantra but then argue against Apple or Jobs doing the right thing and opening up FairPlay to be licenses or the iPod to play other formats have not a brain cell to rely on.


Why would consumers argue in favor of getting ripped off or closing down options on their ability to use material they purchased?

Don’t ask me I wouldn’t know. But the hundreds of Apple fanboys on this site have no problem paying homage to the almighty Jobs as if everything he says makes utter sense and isn’t driven by the bottom line. Wake up!!

Posted by sure on May 3, 2004 at 8:49 AM (PDT)

6

Price isn’t always based on manufacturer’s cost.  Remember when records stores sold cassettes along with CD’s?  CD’s were cheaper to make, but priced a lot higher because it was the new thing and the stores knew consumers would pay more for it.

iTMS is going to try to convince consumers that they should pay more for the convenience of not having to leave their homes, or having to rip the CD themselves. 

Pay Apple $5 more to download it instead of actually owning the physical CD… no way am I going for that… I don’t ‘think that different’.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on May 3, 2004 at 9:44 AM (PDT)

7

APPLE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. 

iTMS IS NOT THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD. 

LABELS AND THEIR GREED ARE NEVER GOING TO END.

STEVE JOBS WILL FAIL… AGAIN.

SHARE MUSIC FREELY AMONGST YOURSELVES.

USE OPEN FORMATS.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on May 3, 2004 at 9:46 AM (PDT)

8

Sure,

Of course everything is driven by the bottom line, I agree. This is not a centrally planned economy. Prices for things like CDs and online music are influenced solely by the laws of supply and demand. Customers exercise their rights by not purchasing ill-priced products. iTunes Music Store is destined for the dung heap if record companies don’t respond to consumer requirements.

But after all is said and done, I still think the poor RIAA, even using the courts and the marketplace to stem the rising sea of troubles, cannot forestall the inevitable: the future of recorded music is copyright-free online trading.

Posted by oxhead on May 3, 2004 at 9:48 AM (PDT)

9

Big Sid - you are a dipshit. People like you are an endless source of entertainment to me. You spout of idiotic crap like “Steve Jobs will fail…again’, yet you are on a site that is based on an Apple and you obviously own an iPod.

And BTW - exactly when did Jobs ever fail the first time? For all you dipshits like Sid that think just becasue Apple only holds a 4-5 % market share, just remember one thing - APPLE IS STILL HERE AS THEY HAVE BEEN SINCE THEY WERE FOUNDED!

Apple has never folded, declared bankruptcy, or stopped producing product. All they have done is inovate the computer business on a regular basis since they were first founded.

Go away Apple naysayers. You are fools.

Posted by Chris on May 3, 2004 at 10:38 AM (PDT)

10

What is coldplay’s new album Zim??

Posted by arsenalmad10 in UK on May 3, 2004 at 11:00 AM (PDT)

11

I know there are people who will gladly bow down and worship Steve Jobs, but he is not God.  He’s just as susceptible at making mistakes and does just like everyone else.  Not to mention, he may be largely influenced by the stupid record companies.

Both he and these execs have things to learn like anyone else in this new online music sales industry.

If you can buy the CD for less than you can when buying only the songs online, then certain people (and not saying it’s just Steve Jobs) are making seriously stupid mistakes - to the point of retardation.

Consumers are not stupid and will not buy online when they can get the entire physical CD with Jacket insert and so on for a few or several dollars less.

iTunes is going to be playing a muuuuuch smaller role in the near future.  Especially when I see huge mistakes in pricing like this.

When are these industry leaders, record company suits going to pull their dusty heads out of their hind-ends?

LOWER THE PRICES!  YOU CANNOT CHARGE CONVENIENCE FEES AND PREMIUMS FOR ONLINE SALES!

Posted by Z on May 3, 2004 at 11:07 AM (PDT)

12

“exactly when did Jobs ever fail the first time? For all you dipshits like Sid that think just becasue Apple only holds a 4-5 % market share, just remember one thing - APPLE IS STILL HERE AS THEY HAVE BEEN SINCE THEY WERE FOUNDED!”

In 1980 Apple was the #1 personal computer company in the world with staggering margins. Partly due to some amazingly bad moves by Jobs, they began a precipitous decline in sales and revenues until today they are a marginal player.

They had a chance in the mid-80s to penetrate the home market with the Mac but Steve Jobs forbade the Mac to be associated with any video games or other “cool” applications. He focussed it on the office and productivity apps, with the result that as the Apple ][ faded from homes, there was no Apple Computer successor to replace it and the Mac become uncool for entire new generations of kids and parents. As a result, Apple lost the K12 market.

Under Steve Jobs’ weird compulsion to build cubic products, Apple in the late 1990s launched the Mac Cube - one of the worst disasters in Apple history.

I could go on, but I doubt you are amenable to reality-based facts. Nobody is perfect.

Posted by Jobs Failed on May 3, 2004 at 12:02 PM (PDT)

13

In most cases you buy a cd in a store for $11-14 and get: a cd with pure uncompressed audio that you can rip 500,000 times if you like,a case,a booklet w/ lyrics sometimes,pictures and often times now you get a video or a bonus dvd of live crap or whatever.

For almost the same amount,give or take a $1,from itunes you get a didgtal copy of the album at a lower quality (that can only be used on an ipod) with NO extras and,if a disaster happens before you have made a back-up your music is gone.

I,for one,only buy songs from itunes…if I want the full cd I will go to wal mart or best buy. I love itunes because in todays music I rarely love an artist…I like songs and w/ itunes I can buy the songs I want. If my favorite band makes a cd I just buy it in a store. 

I agree, albums should be cheaper but if you use itunes for full albums then that is your choice….you have the option to buy the cd used at a second hand store or at a place like best buy. Half the time itunes only has partial albums because the record lables hold back the hit song…itunes is made for individule tracks IMO,the fact they offer albums is nice but it’s a rip off.

Posted by justmesilly on May 3, 2004 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

14

Like I said in one of the other topics, when the price difference is only in the $1 - $3 range, I will not use the iTMS, Ill buy the CD. Its simply not worth paying for a CD from iTMS and be restricted on my use of the songs and small quality file, when it can be $1 - $3 more or less at the store.

Right now I only use the iTMS for the one track single I may want every once in a while. But the day that they charge me more than .99 cents for that one track is when I uninstall iTunes and get the song elsewhere.

Jobs and Apple created a very good service, but I feel its the RIAA that will turn it into a very poor service with restrictions and inflated prices.

Sometimes the price of the CD is to great, and when you factor in how much actually goes to the artists, its an insanely small amount. Leaving one to just download it elsewhere and give the artists $15 directly, which is more than they would ever get from the sale of the CD. And yes I have done this twice already, once with Death Angel and once with Metallica.

Posted by jack handy on May 3, 2004 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

15

“In 1980 Apple was the #1 personal computer company in the world with staggering margins. Partly due to some amazingly bad moves by Jobs, they began a precipitous decline in sales and revenues until today they are a marginal player.”

Let me ask you, what computer companies are currently making a profit on hardware? Apple & Dell are the only ones, thats who. While every other company is desperately trying to cut their bottom line while pushing inadequate $399 machines they are driving themselves into bankruptcy. I would much rather hold 3-5% of a market with 20% profit margins than hold 5-8% of the market like sony with negative margins.

Posted by Xander on May 3, 2004 at 2:33 PM (PDT)

16

“Let me ask you, what computer companies are currently making a profit on hardware? Apple & Dell are the only ones, thats who.”

Apple doesn’t make any meaningful operating profit on computer hardware. Not for the past several years anyway.

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/78/jobs.html

“Where Apple was once one of the most profitable companies in the category, its operating profit margins have declined precipitously from 20% in 1981 to a meager 0.4% today, just one-fifth the industry average of 2%.”

Posted by False Prophets on May 3, 2004 at 4:12 PM (PDT)

17

“iTMS is going to try to convince consumers that they should pay more for the convenience of not having to leave their homes, or having to rip the CD themselves.”

That, and not having to endure the local Tower Records checkout girl’s unsightly eyebrow piercings!

Posted by The Raven in USA on May 3, 2004 at 5:09 PM (PDT)

18

Oops!  Forgot one thing…Steve Jobs rules!

Posted by The Raven in USA on May 3, 2004 at 5:11 PM (PDT)

19

A few posters here have picked up on what is really going on—iTMS is aimed at people who like one or two songs on a CD and want to buy only those singles. For those people, iTMS is cheaper, more convenient, and quicker than driving to a store or ordering through the mail a whole CD to get only two songs you want. Some people also feel better about getting their music legally rather than illegally.

That’s their business plan and there’s nothing evil about that.

The reason the music companies embraced iTMS is that they saw it as an alternative to Napster, Kazaa, etc., which, if you ever tried them, were a bit of a nightmare if you wanted a whole album.

Hopefully Apple will realize that there’s also a smaller market of people who would like to download full albums with higher quality files. But don’t be surprised that their first step has been going after the hamburger market. Later when they want to expand their business, they’ll aim at people who like filet mignon. Welcome to capitalism.

Posted by PD on May 3, 2004 at 5:26 PM (PDT)

20

If they were smart, they would offer a discount, bonus “points” or some kind of rebate for those that buy the whole album. That way if you download a few songs & love ‘em —you can go for the whole album at a reasonable price but if you dont like them or only want singles - then you are only out a few bucks.

I RARELY pay more than $10.00 for a CD - and there is NO WAY I am paying $10.00 for just the songs - particularly at 128K. $.50 a song, $5.00 an album. That’s the magic numbers for me. Then it would not be worth it to hassle with Kazaa or even ripping my own CD’s

Don’t believe the RIAA when they if people keep downloading music, the industry will fall apart and there will be NO MORE MUSIC. Never going to happen. Oh the music INDUSTRY as we know it may crumble to the ground….but there will ALWAYS be people that make music for the love of music and you know what? There will always be a way for them to make money from their fans. No RECORD INDUSTRY? GOOD! No more crappy overpriced music. No more cookie cutter bands/singers all in it for nothing but the cash. No more wasting money on marketing the crappy bands & lining the pockets of huge people in huge corporations that couldn’t care less about music. Who needs the record industry to make money? For the bands that I really love, I will (and do) pay to see their shows, buy their CD’s (that they can create for nearly nothing and pretty much on their own now), buy their t-shirts etc. In the end, the better bands will make MORE money….and the crappy one’s will starve without all of the marketing and payola BS.

As a music fan, that sounds more like a dream come true than the nightmare the RIAA is ...so excuse me while I “steal some music.

Posted by TheRecordIndustryMustCrumble! on May 3, 2004 at 7:59 PM (PDT)

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