The iTunes Fiasco

How can so many be so dumb.

Or, should we just send everybody in the music business back to school for remedial math classes?

We live in an accelerated news cycle.  It’s not that the news happens faster, it’s just that everybody gets it and the word comes out SOONER!  Not only with big stories, like tsunamis and hurricanes, but with smaller ones, like music downloading.  Turns out that the jig is up.  In the past seven days, "The New York Times", "The Washington Post" and other lesser media lights have told the story…digital downloads are PUTTING THE LABELS OUT OF BUSINESS!

We’re not talking about P2P piracy here.  We’re talking about legitimate sales of singles, primarily through the iTunes Music Store.

You don’t have to be a brainiac to figure this out.  Instead of buying an album, of TEN tracks, that costs TEN times as much as a single, people are just buying the track.  So, it’s as if the New York Yankees were losing a player every year.  I mean it’s tough to compete, tough to stay alive without a full team.

The majors’ solution to this?  RAISE THE PRICE!

God, I know the chairman of one of these companies is a high school dropout, but are these guys really that math-impaired?  That they can’t see that two times one-tenth is now ONE-FIFTH?

Let’s even say sales of singles increase.  That more singles of a hit track are sold than albums would have been.  How in the HELL do we get to a replacement business?  How in the HELL do the numbers add up?

It’s very clear.  They don’t.

All of these fucking idiots who’ve concentrated on paying off radio and fucking their stars’ asses in the royalty department are completely clueless to math.  Is it a stretch to believe they’re clueless when it comes to the Internet too?  I mean if they can’t do simple addition and subtraction, can they download P2P, rip a CD, load their own iPod?

You’d be surprised, they can’t.  And if you don’t know the game, your ignorance will cause you to lose.

This is just like the dot com scenario.  When all the dot coms folded half a decade ago, conventional wisdom was the Internet was a ruse.  That it was for techies looking to make a buck.  It could never replace brick and mortar.  But it turned out the TECHNOLOGY wasn’t bad, just the ideas laid atop it.  Now, Internet retailing is BURGEONING!  The Net is transforming entire businesses.  Like the MUSIC BUSINESS!

Let’s go back to the year 2000.  People said record stores were dead.

But, indie stores continued to hold their own, if not THRIVE!

Now, half a decade later, reality has finally hit.  Musicland goes bankrupt and Rhino and Aron’s and their brethren disappear.

This ain’t no fantasy.  Suddenly, the labels are gonna wake up, and I mean SUDDENLY, and they’re barely going to be able to give away a CD.  THEN what are they going to do?  Sell singles on iTunes and DECIMATE their bottom line?

This is the next story.  We’ve had enough of the IFPI pronouncements about the legitimate growth of the online market.  People are going to stroke their chins and say THE ONLY WAY WE CAN MAKE OUR NUMBERS IS BY SELLING A BUNDLE!

The labels don’t realize that the French P2P license is their SAVIOR!  Don’t get people to pay for one track, get them to take TEN, or a HUNDRED, or a THOUSAND!  Sure, they might not pay a buck for each, but they’ll pay more than a buck for the entire BUNDLE!  So that revenue will be replaced.  And, with more people consuming music, labels will ultimately make more money and artists will thrive.

But this is a different business model.  And the same fucks inured to MTV/radio airplay and selling hard discs are as afraid of it as you were of jumping in the water at summer camp.

I’d say they’re as afraid of it as you were of your computer, but today’s consumer was NEVER afraid of his computer, he saw it as his friend.  Until the major labels and their Mafia-style enforcement agency the RIAA enter the present there’s absolutely no way they can win.  Sure, a fiftysomething executive thinks a CD is just fine.  But there are octogenarians who still believe radio dramas are better than HBO.  Then again, seemingly all the oldsters have cell phones.  Why can’t the record business oldsters get hip to computers?  Why can’t they understand the immutable rules of math?  Why do these guys INSIST on putting themselves out of business and saying IT’S OUR FAULT!

When All the ‘Greatest Hits’ Are Too Many to Download

Downloads Make Singles a Hit Again

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