Apple/the big five keeping out the small players?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
what does Apple's Music Service mean for independent artists and small Record Labels ?





in all the talk and hype leading up to this event i have seen scant mention of the impact on the little guy.





what's the criteria Apple is using for licensing product from the big 5 ?



will Apple now swing the doors open to small record companies on the samer terms?



how about individual writers and producers the world over ?



is Apple going to "Accidentally" become a label whether or not the Universal thing pans out in any way?



perhaps others here have information with direct bearing on this specific niche matter.



this aspect of the music service is of great interest to me and is something i believe has profound implications.



how would Apple be able to keep the BIG 5 happy while setting up a meritocracy for the unwashed masses?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    dstranathandstranathan Posts: 1,715member
    Agreed. I was hoping to see lables like Touch n Go, and Discord even, maybe? I don't wanna buy Sting or Puffy, sorry. However I understand most people do. I just wish the Music Store would "Think Different" in terms of musical diversification. I have already bought a couple songs (Slayer and Morrissey, what a combo!), but I would buy more if bands like the Hot Snakes, Jesus Lizard, etc were available. Just my opinion.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    if its going to come to the apple store it will come in time



    its very difficult to set these thigns up i believe and even harder for non so popular (but good) songs to get on these services as easily as they pop up and spread on kazaa and such
  • Reply 3 of 30
    I imagine it would be easy to add other record companies to the shop. The infrastructure is in place and all you need is to deliver the music and cover art and have a bank account.



    So musicians making the music themselves could sell it at half price at the music store, making ¢16 for themselves for every song sold.



    Will we see that or have Apple tied themselves into the big five and made an agreement that no song is sold for less than ¢99? This would be a great opportunity for the small record companies/home producers. But do you think that the "buisness model" is open for that?
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Damn. I made an "Aquafire" (sorry. Couldn´t resist ) Please add a questionmark after the title.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders the White

    Damn. I made an "Aquafire" (sorry. Couldn´t resist ) Please add a questionmark after the title.







    Re: your first question, I think it's too early to tell how open they'll be to smaller labels. I have a hard time imaging that Apple would let themselves be locked into only the big 5 unless the big 5 are locked out of doing something with competitors (ie., MS coming along and proposing something similar). We'll see, I guess. There are a lot of artists left to be gotten, even on the big labels, so I don't think we can say that if the small labels aren't included, they won't be.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    I figured this topic would come up. Somebody would complain about how "Jimmy Fish and the Blow Hards" isn't on iTMS, so the whole service sucks. Unfortunately, you and the other 5 groupies who follow the band from tiny town to tiny town may want them available on iTMS, but nobody else cares. Sorry if that sounds very insensitive, but Apple's gotta draw the line somewhere.



    Pardon my insensitivity. My brother jaded me when he once told me that he wouldn't listen to ANY popular band -- even if he liked their music -- just because they were popular. Please.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    well,



    i just figured it out:



    where Apple can "draw the line";



    they can set up a lower echelon



    much like a vanity publising teir.



    it sucks but independents will probably pay.



    whether or not the fee is rolled into the .99¢ is another story.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    I figured this topic would come up. Somebody would complain about how "Jimmy Fish and the Blow Hards" isn't on iTMS, so the whole service sucks. Unfortunately, you and the other 5 groupies who follow the band from tiny town to tiny town may want them available on iTMS, but nobody else cares. Sorry if that sounds very insensitive, but Apple's gotta draw the line somewhere.



    Pardon my insensitivity. My brother jaded me when he once told me that he wouldn't listen to ANY popular band -- even if he liked their music -- just because they were popular. Please.




    You know nothing about independent music. I have had bands for years, and have sold thousands of copies of my discs. The internet is the greatest god send for the independent artist there is, and Apple's service would be an incredible tool for small labels and independent artists. There are many incredible sites that offer independent bands who have paid out millions to their clients ( CDstreet for example ) There is a HUGE audience for music outside the major labels, and Apple could provide a great service to bands and music lovers by opening up their system.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by blue2kdave

    You know nothing about independent music. I have had bands for years, and have sold thousands of copies of my discs. The internet is the greatest god send for the independent artist there is, and Apple's service would be an incredible tool for small labels and independent artists. There are many incredible sites that offer independent bands who have paid out millions to their clients ( CDstreet for example ) There is a HUGE audience for music outside the major labels, and Apple could provide a great service to bands and music lovers by opening up their system.





    Yeah, this could be an amazing thing for indy music.



    I think of of this as iTunes Music Store 1.0. I'll be writing often to request the many bands and labels it doesn't have... yet.



    iTunes Music Store > Requests and Feedback
  • Reply 10 of 30
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    Shouldn't this be in this thread?



    I'm hoping Steve might offer indies the ability to buy into the Music Store; though the contracts with the Big 5 may be keeping otheres out.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Threads merged. Carry on. 8)
  • Reply 12 of 30
    low-filow-fi Posts: 357member
    I would be soooou happy if they got Xen Cuts (Quannum, Amon Tobin) onto it.



    I have sent feedback. Here's to hoping
  • Reply 13 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    For me, I'm concerned about Apple making money on this kinda thing, that I wouldn't buy anyway, so that tthey can reduce prices on other kinds of product that I most definitely would buy if prices were better. Marketshare is suffering badly, and it is reaching a critical point where it gets harder to make machines down to the pries they need to be at to avoid losing more hardware customers (without which there is no Apple, well not true, there's Apple, but no Mac...)



    So for the little labels? Who gives a flying fvck? Instead of "think different," Apple needs to "think popular" as in stuff peope will pay money for.



    If the 13 year old girls want christina agulieria (or however you spell it) the daddy will buy it for them.



    The more pressing concern is not how to get the small labels in, it's what has Apple Legal got in place to keep the Majors on board and exclusive to Apple's distribution platform?



    This is only as good as the amount of POPULAR music Apple can sell exclusively on line through its own system. If they lose majors, they'll get creamed.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    So for the little labels? Who gives a flying fvck? Instead of "think different," Apple needs to "think popular" as in stuff peope will pay money for.



    Well, actually, Apple needs to think different about getting people to pay for stuff, and that's what they're doing.



    Quote:

    The more pressing concern is not how to get the small labels in, it's what has Apple Legal got in place to keep the Majors on board and exclusive to Apple's distribution platform?



    No, the more pressing concern is getting as many sales as possible. The allure of the system is its ease of use, and Jobs' pitch that this transparency will translate directly into sales and take a big bite out of the market for file-sharing services. Apple doesn't have exclusive deals right now, unless PressPlay and its ilk shut down while I wasn't looking. There's no way they will. They got the contracts on the basis of the quality of their service, and they'll hold those contracts on the basis of the success of the service. I imagine that Apple Legal's role has been to dot i's, cross t's, and make sure Apple doesn't get screwed.



    And that's where the small labels and the indies come in: No, of course they aren't the key to anything, but a bigger catalog means more sales, which means a greater chance of success. Consumers don't care what label an artist is on, they just want the music. That's why it's so crucial that Apple got every one of the big five on board, and it's why adding more labels simply improves the odds for each label. Also, indie labels can sell: Creed exploded onto the scene on a small label, via college radio and popular demand, and sold millions.



    Quote:

    This is only as good as the amount of POPULAR music Apple can sell exclusively on line through its own system. If they lose majors, they'll get creamed.



    So, obviously, the trick is to expand the catalog to include smaller labels. Steve has already convinced them that the only way the service will work for one of them is if it works for all of them. Now he just has to keep arguing along those lines. If Apple can establish the iTunes Music Store as the first place you go looking for anything - as the Google of music, if you will - then all participants benefit, and filesharing will wither away.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    I'm sure apple will eventually add indie lables but their main concern had to be getting the big five onboard. It would've been considered a failure if apple got Universal, EMI and Matador as contributors and the other big three told them to eff off.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    The problem for Apple though, as with all things, is that the major labels could very well tell Apple, thanks for the ride, but jump to M$ when in 18 months M$ has an identical service out there offering them .75 cents on the dollar instead of 65.



    I think to a degree, Amorph is right, the brand could position itself to become so strong as "the" online music store of choice, that they become unassailable despite the manouvers of later competitors, in the same way that M$ can't touch the PS2.



    Mebbe good will is better than good lawyering, but I think that a little good lawyering is in order "just in case"



    I'm not against small lables or independents, money is money and choice is good, but without the big guys there is no Apple Store for Music, they absolutely have to be the first consideration at least untill the product is well established. Some of the people around here are acting like this move by Apple is some sort of abject failure because it doesn't include the music they want. That's ridiculous, they've only just launched, give them a some time, I'm sure they'll add as many label and artists as they can. In this sense, the online distribution is far easier to manage than bricks and mortar, it's not like you can get stuck with 20 000 CD's no one wants to buy. You host, if it sells, it sells, if not, changes are relatively painless.



    But for now, they've started with the music MOST people want, and that's the right play.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by InactionMan

    I'm sure apple will eventually add indie lables but their main concern had to be getting the big five onboard. It would've been considered a failure if apple got Universal, EMI and Matador as contributors and the other big three told them to eff off.



    Absolutely. In a way, it's sort of like making the service US-only and Mac-only: You have to start somewhere, and starting with the big five, one set of royalties contracts, and a platform you control is a good way to launch. This service will hit Europe, it will go cross-platform, and so I believe it will also expand to include back catalogs, smaller labels, and indie artists. Right now, there has to be a balance between the simplicity of the logistics and the quality of the service. Down the line, they can aim for quality and completeness.



    The ideal is that iTunes is the first place you look, regardless of what you're looking for. If the big labels understand how that benefits them - and it does - then it can also benefit Apple, and the smaller labels, and the indie artists, and the consumer.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Quote:

    The problem for Apple though, as with all things, is that the major labels could very well tell Apple, thanks for the ride, but jump to M$ when in 18 months M$ has an identical service out there offering them .75 cents on the dollar instead of 65.





    I thought about this as well. But then I realized that Microsoft is in a position of weakness because



    A. WM has more restrictive DRM



    B. Microsoft prefers to outsource Production etc. They don't run their own Online Store.



    B. First to Market big(ie Amazon) generally have a large advantage. Apple must entrench. The Big 5 won't turn away once the profits start rolling in.



    Boy I'd love to view a 5yr Crystal Ball and see where this is going. Trust me...the Apple of old will be a distant memory.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    defjefdefjef Posts: 62member
    Independents are vital to all who enjoy music. It's the indy labels that push the Majors to get better. Without indys creating and pushing the envelope, the Majors would fall into stagnance.

    I think Apple understands that Indy labels are necessary to push their music service forward. What I do worry about is the Major labels not allowing Apple to distribute the Indys, because the Indys are the competition.

    I'm in an indy band that never wants be part of the big 5, but we do want to provide fans with all that we can. Mp3s were a godsend for indy bands. AAC appears to offer even more promise. I wonder if there's a way that I can encode AAC files to distribute my bands music off of our own website.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    From a recent Time article...



    Quote:

    TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?



    Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great



    Yay.



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