Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Not mainstream enough

After spending probably an hour or two browsing through the iTunes Music Store, I’m still unable to find any songs in there that I actually want. I’m assuming this is because I tend to like music by the sorts of artists who are signed to independent labels, of which there isn’t much of in the store. Which is a shame – although these labels are complaining that Apple didn’t give them good enough terms, it’s not really Apple that’s put at a disadvantage, it’s them. They’re turning away people like me who are happy to buy their music and support their artists.

The more I browse the store, the more I like it. Being able to effortlessly preview songs before buying them is great, even if it has convinced me that no, I didn’t really want to buy that song/album after all.

I was also impressed by the fact that it had all 5 albums by the German artist ATB in there. A club remix of ATB’s first single “9PM (Till I Come)” was really big over here about 5 years ago, and a couple of other singles came out which were also remixed for the clubs. Unfortunately, ATB isn’t really a club music artist – his albums are more like ambient electronica, so the albums never sold well and he lost his record deal after his second album. Since then, we’ve heard nothing from him over here, so to be able to buy the three other albums that were never released here is quite cool. ATB in fact has a whole artist section over there.

Still, I just wish there was more music that I like out there…

4 Comments

  1. …although these labels are complaining that Apple didn’t give them good enough terms, it’s not really Apple that’s put at a disadvantage, it’s them. They’re turning away people like me who are happy to buy their music and support their artists.
    Whoa! ‘Fraid I seriously disagree. You seem to imply that the independent labels should be overjoyed to accept whatever scraps Apple deign to throw them, on whatever terms, in the full knowledge that major labels are getting a better deal.
    At some point they have to vote with their feet, and support download stores who can offer better contracts. If iTunes doesn’t have the music customers want, I’d suggest those customers simply go elsewhere, using a service which does ‘stock’ music they want. Brand loyalty has to be earned, and iTunes haven’t made the best start on that in Europe.
    If this ultimately means that iTunes is for those with mainstream tastes, and those who like other music simply don’t use iTunes, that’s Apple’s loss, and might even reinforce the culture of ‘alternative’ music.

  2. But surely anything they get from Apple is better than the nothing they get when someone downloads their music from Kazaa? Wippit, in my experience, has the most independent music but hardly anyone knows about it. Yet iTMS was in the national news this week. Anyone who has an interest in computing will know about it. People may well assume that, if songs aren’t available from there, they’re not available to download legally at all, and then go straight to the illegal services where no-one benefits.
    If the labels want to stamp out music piracy they need to bend over backwards to make sure that more people use services like these to download music legitimately. Any labels that don’t take part are putting themselves at a greater disadvantage than they would be if they did, even if they don’t get such good terms.

  3. I disagree, if the labels give in to whatever Apple are demanding they will be in a very weak position, giving Apple the message that they can exploit them and force them to agree to whatever terms they want. In the long term it is not in the labels’ interests to be blackmailed into accepting Apple’s terms, they’re better off waiting for the iTunes store to take off by which stage Apple will be able to afford to offer reasonable terms.

  4. Nah; I’d say a better action to take would be for the labels, and perhaps customers, to boycott iTunes, as publicly as possible, wasting no opportunity to promote its (legal) rivals.
    It really isn’t a case of iTunes or illegal; Apple’s isn’t the sole legal service in the market, and it’s only a dominant one if labels, artists and customers allow that.