iTunes Holdouts

Conrad MacIntyre tells the holdouts to call it what it is and not use the artistic excuse. Good point.



  • gjgustav

    Hit the nail on the head. I’ve heard two arguments for holding out, and both are BS:

    1. Integrity of the album: as Conrad pointed out – “Greatest Hits” nullifies that argument.

    2. Sound quality – most of these holdouts have released albums on cassette and some even 8-track. And those that didn’t, have fans that listen to them with cheap headphones riding the bus. Sound quality of AAC files isn’t even a factor here.

  • deviladv

    Excellent commentary. Classic example of how following the money leads to the answer.

  • Doctorossi

    Greatest Hits albums are typically the product of record contracts signed long before an artist has the market power to dare say ‘no’ to such a contractual requirement. These major artists not on iTunes now do have that power. The existence of prior Greatest Hits collections is not a reasonable indicator of the legitimacy of the ‘for artistic reasons, I want to sell whole albums only’ argument.

  • TeamOneJ

    FWIW, I believe the Def Leppard holdout is more about disagreement with their label: http://www.blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=176785

  • Doctorossi

    I think the band, Tool (not on iTunes) makes the ‘not on iTunes’ argument best. They talk about sound quality, album art and whole album versus singles sales, but they also quite openly bottom-line it: their residual for an iTunes album sale is a tiny fraction of that for a conventional CD sale. The only credible incentive to the band for iTunes placement is visibility, but they’re already a multi-Platinum-selling band and aren’t desperate for additional exposure at the expense of making any profit on the added sales. Ironically, it’s a very Apple-like approach (more concerned with profitability than market-share).

    • http://twitter.com/apple4ever Matthew Butch

      Well their residual for BitTorrent is zero.

      • Doctorossi

        Same as that for every artist on iTunes.

  • BC2009

    Do these artists even realize that their fans may buy the whole album for the sole purpose of ripping the songs and then listening to them piecemeal anyway?

    I’m sorry, but the whole “artistic reasons” thing is just plain stupid. Anybody buying a CD today is immediately deconstructing the album into its pieces and shelving the CD, its box, and the contained album artwork in storage. If these artists were so wrapped up in the “whole album” argument then they should be reacting as if they were painters whose masterpieces were being purchased and then cut up to make a collage for decorative wall coverings.

    The truth is that they are playing an angle for money. They are hoping for a big monetary bonus to jump on iTunes.

    • BC2009

      Two more things….

      1) iTunes can make the customer purchase the whole album rather than allowing individual song purchases. I own several albums on iTunes that required me to purchase the entire album.

      2) Artists can do a whole heck of a lot digitally with an iTunes album they sell (including bonus materials and artwork).

    • Doctorossi

      Yes, they’re hoping for a “big monetary bonus” in the form of compensation even beginning to resemble what they make from a conventional CD sale. I agree that more artists should be honest about the financial driver, but I can’t blame them for being reluctant to cannibalize their own profit-margins by converting low-profit CD sales into ultra-low-profit iTunes sales.