Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Consumers want choice

It’s a real cliche, but I’m going to have to repeat the phrase “The customer is always right” when it comes to online music stores, and in particular the news that MSN Music Store has been able to get deals with some ‘exclusive’ artists because they only offer the full albums and not individual tracks for download. The artists and bands include Metallica, Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, Madonna, and “Red Hat Chili Peppers” [sic].

The artists claim that this is because they want people to listen to the album as a whole and that just listening to individual tracks wouldn’t give the same effect. But that’s just their opinion. My opinion might be that the whole album is a steaming pile of pants apart from one song which is truly excellent. To me, paying £7 for the full album just so that I can listen to one track is a rip-off.

Surprisingly enough, the blame doesn’t lie with the record labels this time – according to the comments attached to Scoble’s article the labels are more than happy to take part – the hurdle is getting the artists to agree.

Still, I wish some of these artists would be less pretentious and allow the public to buy tracks individually. Metallica have often spoken out against piracy – if they want people to pay for their music then maybe they should be a bit more flexible in future. Otherwise users will stick to using the file sharing networks to download individual songs and they get nothing in return.

And if they’re that worried about people not listening to the whole album, then why are the songs split into several tracks on the CD so that people can skip them?

One Comment

  1. “The artists claim that this is because they want people to listen to the album as a whole and that just listening to individual tracks wouldn’t give the same effect.”
    And yet they have no problem releasing individual songs as CD singles, allowing individual songs to be played on the radio, or licensing individual songs for advertisements or movie soundtracks. Furthermore, when any of these artists go out on tour, I have yet to find one of them that plays live every song from a complete album in the order originally released.
    If Apple caved to a few artists who only allowed complete album sales, then ALL artists would jump on the bandwagon and we’d be back to square one. Thanks again Microsoft. In your effort to compete with the iTunes Music Store, you’ve just set back consumer choice another decade. So typical.