Downhill Battle brilliantly critiques the financial model of the iTunes Music Store, noting that they’ve blown a great opportunity — they could have leveraged internet distribution to give the artist a much larger cut of every song sold. Instead, iTMS is just another iteration of “the man” abusing the artist. The site challenges iTMS to post the artists’ cut for each song right there in the UI. Similar discussion going on here.
First of all, Apple gets 3 times as much money as musicians from each sale. Apple takes a 35% cut from every song and every album sold, a huge amount considering how little they have to do. Record labels receive the other 65% of each sale.
Interestingly, Apple recently removed the claim that iTunes is “fair to the artists” from their web site. Downhill Battle claims this change as their victory.
And yet, Apple is losing money on ITMS, according to CNET.
My take: The solution proposed by Downhill Battle (download from free services, then donate money directly to the artist) puts wayyyy too much faith in humanity (reminds me of libertarianism’s fatal flaw – sounds ideal on paper, but no way could it ever work). Hate to sound so negative, but really — what percentage of people are going to have a download festival on Kazza and then go donate money to the artist through a separate channel? Bzzzzzt. Ain’t going to happen.