I updated the original article I posted on October 19th.
Maybe I am missing something, maybe I don’t understand why territory restrictions still need to exist. I guess thinking of the world as the territory is wrong.
Maybe my feeling that fans will buy music if you make music available the moment they want it, at a fair price on whatever device they use is just wrong. But right now trying to buy music actually can drive a fan to steal music.
I am a fan of the band The Rasmus, from Finland, and I am trying to buy a digital download of New World the solo album by Lauri Ylönen the lead singer. The album was released overseas earlier this year. I don’t want to buy the cd and pay for shipping and wait, I want the music now and I want to pay for it.
Guess what, I can’t buy it. The album is available in iTunes Finland, but not the US. That is the problem.
Consumers don’t understand or care about territories, regions, license agreements… the internet broke down those barriers, it is just the world now. The album has been released and I want to buy it. This is what every musician wants, someone who wants to by their music. I am surely not the only person who has encountered this problem, not the only person ready to buy some music, but is told you can’t, we don’t want your money. What do you think that sort of action results in? My guess is the fan then begins to look for any option to get the album, including illegal download. A quick jump to Google and you can locate a download. Hey record labels you are driving them to do it. I have posted on Twitter and Facebook as well as emailing Lauri’s management asking if someone can help me buy a digital copy. Within 12 hours I heard back from Lauri’s management…
As Lauri’s album is distributed only in a few territories in Europe, iTunes US doesn’t let you download it. We have the same problem with a lot of US stuff here in Europe…
They did go on to say they would send me a CD.
Two weeks later I ran into this exact same problem again. I read that Gene Simmons’ record label in Canada was signing the band Kobra and The Lotus so I was curious to hear what they sounded like. A video clip I found was not bad, so I decided to track down their debut album, pre Simmons Records. My first stop was iTunes. No results. Next stop was Amazon. They have a import CD available for $31… sorry, no way am I that curious. Then I hit the band’s website. They have a iTunes link so I click it, it takes me to a iTunes Canada page and since I am in the US I can’t buy the album. Really, again! I am ready to buy some music and because I am in the US I am not allowed to buy. Nothing like making the purchase process a pain in the ass. Guess what, I can do a quick Google search and find the album to download… for free.
Is this Apple’s fault? It is the fault of the record labels and their license/territory agreements. A record deal signed in Finland or Canada does not allow the music to be sold in the US. When will they stop making it difficult to buy music? When will they realize the internet has made the world one single territory. I don’t suspect the artist is saying, I only want to sell my music in one country, I don’t want my fans around the world to buy this. I am sure they would love nothing more than make their music available to everyone. Another case for releasing your own music and avoiding a record label.
This all seems so simple to me:
1. Music is released.
2. Fan wants to buy music.
3. Sell the fan the music.
As with any commerce purchase, if you put a road block or obstacle in the way of that purchase you risk killing the sale.
Record labels don’t want you to steal the music, they want to sell it to you. They will even go as far as trying to sue you if you steal it. But when you want to buy the album they won’t take your money because of the country you live in. But, don’t go steal the music.
What is a fan supposed to do? Why is it so difficult to buy music? Is this the fault of the fan? No! We just want to support a band we like.
Posted By: Michael Brandvold (Michael is a 20 year music marketing veteran who has worked with unsigned indie bands and international superstars. Michael owns Michael Brandvold Marketing a site dedicated to providing tips and advice for musicians.)