Well…what is one to make of this?
ITunes’ announcement to increase prices on many hits singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 while possibly lowering the price on some older tracks below the current $0.99 threshold has created quite the stir in some circles.
Firstly, let me be clear…in all my many years in the music (and record) industry, I never…repeat…never understood how uniform pricing made much sense. That Springsteen, 50 cent, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and U2 albums and singles sport the same pricing as the latest freshly-signed hopefuls, be they folk singers, new age harp players or country and western swingers really takes some effort to explain.
Other than making industry accounting easer to administer, there isn’t much one can think of to justify the traditional distortion in terms of pricing and costs which effectively places all music of all genres on the same level playing field. Take that T.I., Berlin Philharmonic, and you too Indigo Girls…that’s right…according to industry pricing practices, you’re all the same.
Anyway…be that as it may…here comes former EMI Music exec, Ted Cohen to offer his thoughts: “This will be a PR nightmare…It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance companies”.
And here I am actually thinking of Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers bantering…. Really?
Let me get this straight.
No one in their right mind can actually discuss those AIG bonuses without being revolted by this sorry sordid mess that it is. Here was a clandestine effort to reward what appears to be gross incompetence, if not worse, using taxpayer money. Enough black eyes for anyone who chooses to get on line with this one.
But iTunes…let me see…last time we checked…this is a market, baby…here’s the price…buy, don’t buy, look elsewhere. It’s about free choice and last time I checked, there was no taxpayer money being pushed through downloads. No larceny, no horses leaving the barn…there’s exaggeration, there’s hyperbole and then there’s…this.
I have been in the room when Ted Cohen has spoken at industry panels and I have respect for him and for his up-to-now stated points of view.
So…here’s the deal…maybe he was misquoted, because to actually and knowingly compare a market decision to adjust prices (and through that decision to maybe even begin to acknowledge that music and artists are truly not created equal) with what went down at AIG, well…sorry, Ted… like you, like your ideas…but this one leaves me stunned.
With more than 30 years experience in executive positions in the music industry, Shelley Stein-Sacks has a vast knowledge and in-depth understanding of the Canadian music industry. The recent author of The Canadian Independent Music Industry: An Examination of Distribution and Access and The Business of Music: A National Training Strategy for Business Skills in the Music Industry he has also developed and is delivering a full semester credit course on Marketing, Social Networks, and CyberMarketing for the Music Industry at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.Through Brock + Chaloux Group Inc. Shelley provides strategic planning and counselling to various public and private sector clients on cultural and business issues as well as serving as a business coach to up and coming musicians.