iTunes goes retro with digital 45s

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
As a throwback to the old days of the two-song 45 rpm vinyl record, the iTunes Store launched a new “D45” section Tuesday, featuring discounted prices on packs of two digital song downloads.



Just like old 45s, the iTunes D45 selection includes a popular single accompanied by a B-side song. Prices on the D45s range from $1.49 to $1.99.



“iTunes is bringing this concept to a new age with D45s – two great tracks at an equally great price,” the iTunes Store reads.



Music company EMI announced Tuesday that the release of D45s marks the 60th anniversary of the 45 single record. The digital bundles will be sold exclusively by iTunes through July 27. After that, they will be available for purchase from “all major digital service providers.”



“More than 35 digital singles will launch the campaign,” the EMI press release states, “including original 45 single A-sides and B-sides and top hits by Coldplay, David Bowie, R.E.M., Poison, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dean Martin, Duran Duran, Nat King Cole, Blondie, and Billy Idol, among others.”







The D45 section represents another opportunity for record labels to to restructure pricing on music sold on the iTunes Store. Last year, through negotiations, the record companies leveraged flexibility on pricing.



Then, earlier this year, Apple removed restrictive digital rights management fingerprints from all of the songs it sells, allowing consumers greater flexibility as well.



This year, Apple began charging for music based on what the music labels charge Apple. Songs are available at three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. Most albums are priced $9.99.







Artists included in the new D45 selection range from Foreigner to Rod Stewart to the recently-deceased “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson.



The Van Morrison “Brown Eyed Girl” D45 includes the title track, as well as the B-side, “Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye).” Purchased separately, the title track and B-side would cost $2.28, but the D45 will run customers $1.49.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,585member
    Cool, the return of B-sides.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    so it's just an album that contains 2 songs?
  • Reply 3 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post


    so it's just an album that contains 2 songs?



    Essentially, you get better pricing than for 2 singles.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post


    so it's just an album that contains 2 songs?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    Essentially, you get better pricing than for 2 singles.





    YES

    NO

    You get the old style > B < SIDES . Some 'B' sides never made it to the albums so they got lost. Pink Floyd has a bunch of these.



    9



    Apple keeps on trucking
  • Reply 5 of 37
    mitchelljdmitchelljd Posts: 154member
    this is a great idea. 45's were two great songs for a neat price.



    also, it will give people a good deal on exploring more of an artist than just a single song. often times in the past, there were gem's as b-sides. also... once in a blue moon a b-side would become a classic favorite of fans in concerts.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    Neil: I believe it was the studios that convinced Apple to allow variable pricing, not the other way around. As AI reported previously, Apple only agreed to variable pricing in exchange for DRM-free songs. Since the beginning, Steve had been pretty adamant about everything being fixed at 99 cents, if I remember correctly. It was the studios that wanted different (higher) prices for certain (popular) tracks.



    Here's that article.



    Quote:

    Around the same time, Universal Music Group and Apple were in a showdown over fixed 99-cent pricing as the chairman of Warner Music Group stated the labels' position (speaking about their own artists) that "not every song, not every artist, not every album is created equal." The labels wanted to price hot new tracks at higher prices to maximize profits at the height of their popularity. When Apple refused to budge, Universal threatened to pull its songs once the contract expired.



  • Reply 7 of 37
    go amazon.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 141member
    The article has one fact wrong:

    It was the record companies that finally convinced Apple to offer variable pricing.



    Apple fought hard to keep the single-price for all music. They finally caved due in part to other online music stores came online (namely Amazon), as well as the labels weren't letting Apple let go of DRM without the variable pricing, etc...
  • Reply 9 of 37
    tbstephtbsteph Posts: 83member
    There is nothing new under the sun. For you young ones, 45 records were the major way artists released new material from the 50's until the advent of 8 track and cassettes. (Replaced 78's if you curious.) Personally I like the idea.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Interesting. Hopefully a new way to try different music, etc. But the key difference is in the days of the 45s, you couldn't buy just the A side. You essentially bought the A side and the B side was free, like the prize in the box of Cracker Jacks (sometimes you got a cool prize, sometime you got garbage). But now you can just buy the A side.



    So it will be interesting to see how many people, when given the choice, will either just buy the the A track for $1.29 or pay a little extra to get the B track, too.



    Of course, they could stop selling the A track as an individual purchase and only offer it in conjunction with the B track package. Which gets us to the "bundling" that Apple always fought so hard against.



    We'll see what happens...
  • Reply 11 of 37
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    How could they misspell "Billie Jean"?
  • Reply 12 of 37
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


    How could they misspell "Billie Jean"?



    Because they were probably popping pills just like the 'king of pop'.
  • Reply 13 of 37
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    I guess this is a neat idea for some of the older folks, but it strikes me as an obvious marketing gimick.



    To me, it's a shame that this is generally being reported as some kind of "new format" instead of what it really is, which is a way to get older folks onboard the big iTunes train by appealing to their nostalgia.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    This is a great idea for modern artists too...because it gives them the opportunity to release non-album tracks (b-sides) packaged with album tracks...sometimes the B-sides end up being great. It allows the artist to keep the integrity of the original album, while at the same time getting some alternative tracks out there.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    I guess this is a neat idea for some of the older folks, but it strikes me as an obvious marketing gimick.



    To me, it's a shame that this is generally being reported as some kind of "new format" instead of what it really is, which is a way to get older folks onboard the big iTunes train by appealing to their nostalgia.



    On the contrary, I think it's a way to get the younger "folks" to have a better and broader taste in music. To play something other then brown eyed girl for the millionth time and maybe move into an artists back catalog.



    See, like my mom, this marketing ploy goes both ways.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    YES

    NO

    You get the old style > B < SIDES . Some 'B' sides never made it to the albums so they got lost. Pink Floyd has a bunch of these.



    9



    Apple keeps on trucking



    Last time I checked $1.49 < $2.28, So yes you DO get better pricing buying the D45 than the songs separately.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    Last time I checked $1.49 < $2.28, So yes you DO get better pricing buying the D45 than the songs separately.



    The b sides were sometimes great long lost songs . Like sleeping on the ground .. blind faith
  • Reply 18 of 37
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dadsgravy View Post


    On the contrary, I think it's a way to get the younger "folks" to have a better and broader taste in music. To play something other then brown eyed girl for the millionth time and maybe move into an artists back catalog.



    See, like my mom, this marketing ploy goes both ways.



    Your missing the obvious here in that "singles" and "EPs" and similar formats have been available on iTunes almost since the service started. They also perform that function. However, while the "EP" is a nostalgic format from the 80's and 90's, and the 45 is the nostalgic format from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. That's the only difference.



    Further, the EP was the prevalent format for this kind of thing when iTunes first started up so there is some logic to continuing with it, whereas the 45 was already 20 years obsolete at that point. This is the resurrection of an artificial format into the digital realm, that does nothing different from digital formats that already exist, and only for the purposes of nostalgia.



    For most of the titles I looked at, it seems like they are recreating particular 45 records from the past complete with the B-Side, even if the B-side never sold very well. Almost all the titles seem to be between 35 and 50 years old. It's great for collectors, and a boon to the older folks but this is not something intended for the kids at all.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member
    But are the b-sides the same songs that were actually on a vinyl release of an old single? Historically accurate, in other words? And what do you get for artwork?
  • Reply 20 of 37
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,529member
    First you seeing the generation gaps between the people here on this subject. In the old 45 day it was away for record companies to make money on a artist who might not be able to crank out a whole album or who had an album that was not selling well but had one good song on it an people were willing to buy that one song, If you did the math that one 45 cost you more per song than entire album of songs cost you. Many times the b-side suck really bad since they need to fill the space and it did not cost extra to make the b-side since the press both sides at once anyway.



    Every once in awhile there was a charm on the b-side or because people played the a-side all the time then would listen to the b-side and begin to like it or see the value in it.



    What it looks like apple is doing is take those song in the catalog which are not selling making it a b-side and mark the price up more for the a-side song and make you think you getting more. It just another way for apple and the record label to make money on idle assets sitting on their servers not making money for them.
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