I’ve been using Apple Music for a couple weeks now, just like everybody else. And I’m starting to think this might be the thing that finally pushes me over the edge away from the purchasing/owning/collecting mentality that has been a part of my life and identity since I joined the Columbia House tape club and got thirteen 8-tracks for a dollar. In high school I would take my dishwasher paycheck and buy a new imported Smiths 12-inch every week. I’ve got boxes and shelves full of CDs. I like physical media.
But the truth is I listen to 90% of my music via iTunes on my computer in my office through decent Klipsch speakers. I have a real stereo and the remaining 10% of my at-home music listening is divided between vinyl and SACDs through a vintage Project One amp and Advent Prodigy Towers. I listen to CDs in my car.
With new music my process has been to buy the CD and rip it to MP3 or ALAC and then add the songs to my iTunes library. I then throw the CD in my car or in a box or on a shelf. Or I’ll buy the record and use the download card. I have an elaborate series of smart playlists that help me make sure I give all new music at least four spins before falling out of heavy rotation. Higher ranked songs get played more frequently. Everything with three stars gets played at least once every four years or so. I’m anal. And this system works for me.
I rarely buy downloads, and almost never from iTunes. I think downloads are grossly overpriced for what you get: lossy files with no liner notes. I’ll happily spend $20 on a record, but I won’t pay more than $2.99 for an album download. Especially when you can usually get the CD for $9.99. CDs are not very glamorous but they’re lossless and they’re permanent.
Get ready to mix and scratch with the best of ’em. Algoriddim, the makers of the popular djay application for Mac, has ported djay over to the iPad. The large touchscreen has had people itching for a fully functioning DJ app but according to Mac Rumors developers have been stymied by iOS3’s limited audio capabilities. The new iOS appears to be better suited for audio applications.
Mac Rumors report that specific features coming in djay for iPad include:
– Full access to iPod library
– Multi-tasking: you can run djay in Automix mode and listen to a continuous, seamless mix running in the background while you surf the web, play games, etc.
– AirPlay: you can wirelessly stream your mix to your Apple TV or AirPort Express station in real-time.
– Fully leverages accelerated CPU extensions (SSE-like) for high-quality audio processing and analysis
Apple Records and EMI will be releasing remastered versions of key albums from the Apple Records catalog, including Badfinger, James Taylor, and Billy Preston.
“Each of the 15 albums in this bumper batch of Apple Records releases has been digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London by the same dedicated team of engineers behind The Beatles’ recent remastered catalogue releases of 2009.”
Wait, they’re passing over 1971’s The Radha Krsna Temple (SAPCOR 18)? That wouldn’t have happened if George was alive.
Two things: One, Digital sales of music is up 15% over last year; Two, iTunes is killing everyone out there, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon.
According to The NPD Group, “Apple iTunes leads in the U.S. with 25 percent of music units (digital or otherwise) sold, which is up from 21 percent in 2008 and 14 percent in 2007.” Walmart comes in second with 14%. CDs are still the dominate medium and account for 65% of all music sold in the first half of the year but digital is gaining fast.
It’s that gaining market that is so interesting and show just how dominate iTunes is in that arena. According to the report iTunes comprised a whopping 69% of the digital sales market, followed by AmazonMP3 with just 8%. Shazam!
According to the Financial Times, Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group “to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads…”
Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.
“It’s not just a bunch of PDFs,” said one executive. “There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”
Looking at a September launch date, apparently to coincide with a 10-inch tablet computer (essentially a big iTouch). This could be interesting. I’ve often complained that one of the things that’s kept me from giving up (most) physical media entirely is the lack of liner notes, information, etc.
Of course if they really want to stimulate album sales, releasing albums without filler would help, too. And maybe not focusing all the label’s resources on groups that are so blatantly all about the single… You know, like maybe try to promote “album artists” instead of pop stars who have the staying power of a fruit fly.
Billboard takes a look at the iTunes sales charts and determines that “the increases have hurt the sales rankings of songs given the higher $1.29 price.” Once sales fall more than 23.3%, the label starts losing more money than they would’ve made had they left the price at 99 cents. The average $1.29 song dropped “about three positions” since the price increase. A drop from #3 to #6 equals a 30% drop in unit sales, which means the label is losing money on that. Billboard has a handy graph to explain this:
Further down the chart, with lower unit sales differences between chart positions, it can work out better for the labels. A drop from #42 to #45 represents a difference in sales of “about 300 units per day,” but ends up earning almost $1,100 per day more for the label.
So who knows? I’m not an economist and I hate math, so if somebody can tell me whether or not this was a smart financial move by the labels, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.
The world’s largest music store, Apple’s iTunes, plans to boost the price of many hit singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 on April 7, breaking the psychological barrier of 99 cents in what could be the first big test of how much consumers are willing to pay to download individual songs.
Although the date for higher prices has not been publicly announced, Apple has been notifying record labels it will go into effect on that date, industry executives said.
So what do you think? You willing to spend thirty cents more for that new Flo Rida jam?
Today, Apple promised that by the end of this quarter, all 10 million iTunes songs will be DRM-free, and released at the higher-quality 256 kbps iTunes Plus bitrate. This policy change applies across the board to all four major music labels (Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and EMI) as well as thousands of independent labels.
In addition to that, Apple gave in and will finally allow labels to set the price of tracks to 69¢, 99¢, or $1.29 based on a “demand-based pricing system.” This is something the labels have been asking for since the beginning of iTunes.
Everyone’s a winner. Except, of course, for people who have MP3 players that cannot play AAC files…
Weezer and the programmers of popular iPhone application Tap Tap Revenge have teamed up to create “Christmas With Weezer” featuring six Christmas classics recorded exclusively for the game (“Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, “First Noel”, “Hark The Herald Angel Sings”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”) and two bonus tracks (“Pork And Beans”, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”). Players “tap and shake their devices to the tunes of the music” in the iPhone equivalent of Guitar Hero/Rock Band.
Paul: “We are very for it, we’ve been pushing it. But there are a couple of sticking points, I understand. So the last word I got back was that it had stalled, the whole process. They [EMI] want something we’re not prepared to give them. Hey, sounds like the music business. It’s between EMI and the Beatles. What else is new.”
EMI: “We have been working very hard to secure an agreement with Apple Corps to make The Beatles’ legendary recording catalog available to fans in digital form. Unfortunately the various parties involved have so far been unable to reach agreement, but we really hope that everyone can make progress soon.”
It’s important (and annoying) when reading this stuff to distinguish between Apple Corps (Beatles) and Apple Inc (computers, iPods, etc.).
Regardless, who cares if this stuff is ever sold via iTunes? I just want the albums properly remastered and reissued on some kind of lossless media.