I have a friend who manages bands and musicians. He is one of the best managers in the business. And he hates downloading, even legal/paid downloading, because it encourages the consumption of singles and does not promote the purchase of albums. Its an economic issue for him and his artists, but its also a creative issue for him and his artists.
He wants Apple to take his artist’s music in album-only format. Apple won’t do that. So he keeps his artist’s music off iTunes. That’s bad for me and you because we like his artists.
So how does this issue get resolved? Well I think that albums at $9.99 and songs at $0.99 is a bad pricing model because you’d have to like 10 songs in order to justify buying the album. And I also think that you should get a credit towards an album if you buy the singles on the album. And finally, I think the hit singles should be priced at a premium.
Think about one of my favorite bands, Fountains of Wayne. They have a new album which is great. It’s called Welcome Interstate Managers. If you like alternative rock music, you should go get this album. I love songs like Hackensack and Valley Winter Song. But they aren’t the singles. The first single is Stacey’s Mom. It turns out Stacey’s Mom is the #1 downloaded song on iTunes. I bet it would still be popular at $2/download. My kids and their friends love this song. The Stacey’s Mom video should also be available on iTunes for $3. It’s available on Kazaa, so why not put it on iTunes? And there might be another single from this album, which should be priced at $2. But the songs I like which aren’t going to be singles should be $0.99. And if you buy all of that stuff, you should get the rest of the album for free. That’s the way it should work.
I’ve told my friend the manager this. He’s not so sure. So I’d like someone, maybe Apple, to start doing it this way and show him and the rest of the music busines a new way to make money with music. And then we’ll have all the music we want on these paid services and life will be great.