Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,572
16,676



Apple's iTunes chief Robert Kondrk met with record label executives during Grammy Week in January about the potential of more exclusive album releases, like Beyoncé's iTunes-exclusive album last December, according to Billboard.

beyoncebig.png
Apple Inc.'s music chief Robert Kondrk has been pressuring major labels for releases similar to last year's Beyonce exclusive, excluding services like YouTube and Spotify to help shore up slowing download sales, according to music executives familiar with the conversations.
While digital music track sales fell from 1.34 billion units to 1.24 billion units in 2013 due to the rise of streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, Beyoncé's album sold 1 million copies globally in a week iTunes alone.

Kondrk is using the album's success to sell label executives on the prospect of exclusively releasing albums on digital storefronts like iTunes. He told executives the exclusives don't have to be limited to iTunes as long as they weren't on streaming services like Spotify. The move would be to preserve sales on digital storefronts.

Finally, Kondrk asked executives if they could lock down individual track sales until after a certain window of time, which would then allow users to purchase individual music tracks and listen to albums on streaming services. This is in stark contrast to Steve Jobs' sell of unbundled legal access to music when the iTunes Music Store was introduced in 2003.

In January, it was reported that digital music sales declined year-over-year for the first time since the opening of the iTunes Music Store as more users opt for streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Article Link: Apple Pushing Record Labels for More Exclusive Beyonce-Like iTunes Albums
 

GregAndonian

macrumors 6502
Jul 31, 2010
344
0
I know a lot of people use iTunes and like it a lot, but I really don't like the idea of exclusives like this, even if I do have an iPad now. I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
iTunes feels like more of a dinosaur than AOL did by the early 2000s. AOL at least tried to keep up with the times for a while.

Apple's problem with services is rooted in the way they approach products in general. It takes Apple an enormous amount of time and resources to come out with a product. When they finally come out with it, it's well-polished. But it never really changes after that. Apple lets the product waste away, and eventually it's supplanted by something else. With iTunes you can see that Apple has tried to make updates, but those updates have turned iTunes into a mess, and the core iTunes Store experience hasn't changed. I would say it's gotten worse. Searching is incredibly unwieldy across apps, books, and music, and can't compete with the convenience of streaming unlimited content. Apple has never gotten Internet services. They've shuttered all the online services they've ever created except for iTunes. They didn't improve .Mac; they shut it down. They didn't improve MobileMe; they shut it down. They had to send out OS update discs just to get people to migrate their e-mail to iCloud. Who else has an e-mail service that is reliant on a particular OS?

It seems like iTunes is a chore to them and has been barely kept alive in order to remain compatible with all the devices they sell. If Windows is Microsoft's legacy product it has to maintain for past compatibility, Apple's equivalent is iTunes. But the original iTunes and original iTunes Store were both amazing. It just seems that Apple can't do things well until they scrap something and start over.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
5,340
27,830
It'd be interesting if they tried something similar with app developers…

yHVaG2a.png
 
Last edited:

wikiverse

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2012
569
407
I know it's been said before and will be reiterated a few hundred more times in addition to this post, but c'mon, Mr. Kondrk. Come over here and sit down next to me, so I can tell you something…

We don't want exclusive content from artists (some of which we couldn't care less about), we want an exclusive experience. We'd rather have a program that's light, fast, and intuitive like no other.

'Like no other' is a trademark of the Sony corporation.

Anyway, iTunes is horrible. I have deleted it off every mac I own and avoided purchasing an iPhone until it could be used independently of iTunes.

Also, if I were a label exec, I would give them exclusives but I would expect a higher percentage of profits and an upfront exclusivity fee and a minimum amount of marketing penetration from apple. Exclusivity deals lock a label into only one revenue stream for their content, so the deal must be more financially rewarding than selling the music to every other platform.
 

bpeeps

macrumors 68040
May 6, 2011
3,465
3,784
I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over anything. Monopolies hurt the consumer.

You mean a monopoly for 7 days? That's how long Beyonce's album was exclusive to iTunes.

Exclusivity deals lock a label into only one revenue stream for their content, so the deal must be more financially rewarding than selling the music to every other platform.

You mean like the exclusivity ATT had on the iPhone for years? Exclusivity brings in money short term, then you open yourselves up to other platforms to gain money long term. Pretty sure Apple knows what it's doing here.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,325
5,463
Apple has never gotten Internet services.

Never is an exaggeration. Apple has done well from time to time. The iTunes store when it first launched a great way of finding and buying music online, especially compared to what preceded it. The Apple website is very well organized. The App store, when viewed from an iOS device, is quite good. The iCloud apps are also pretty good. I wish Apple would let me sync arbitrary files and let me organize by folder, but that's my only real gripe with iCloud (oh, I also dislike the inane amounts of data iOS tries to automatically backup to the iCloud.)
 

Lazy

macrumors 6502
May 27, 2003
305
335
Silicon Valley
iTunes feels like more of a dinosaur than AOL did by the early 2000s. AOL at least tried to keep up with the times for a while.

Apple's problem with services is rooted in the way they approach products in general. It takes Apple an enormous amount of time and resources to come out with a product. When they finally come out with it, it's well-polished. But it never really changes after that. Apple lets the product waste away, and eventually it's supplanted by something else. With iTunes you can see that Apple has tried to make updates, but those updates have turned iTunes into a mess, and the core iTunes Store experience hasn't changed. I would say it's gotten worse. Searching is incredibly unwieldy across apps, books, and music, and can't compete with the convenience of streaming unlimited content. Apple has never gotten Internet services. They've shuttered all the online services they've ever created except for iTunes. They didn't improve .Mac; they shut it down. They didn't improve MobileMe; they shut it down. They had to send out OS update discs just to get people to migrate their e-mail to iCloud. Who else has an e-mail service that is reliant on a particular OS?

It seems like iTunes is a chore to them and has been barely kept alive in order to remain compatible with all the devices they sell. If Windows is Microsoft's legacy product it has to maintain for past compatibility, Apple's equivalent is iTunes. But the original iTunes and original iTunes Store were both amazing. It just seems that Apple can't do things well until they scrap something and start over.

.Mac turned into MobileMe which turned into iCloud, so completely wrong about those being shut down. Now if there's a point to make it's that they got bad enough to need rebranding twice.

I'm too lazy to identify specifics in your other exaggerations, but you've also got a point about iTunes.
 

Blakjack

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2009
1,800
311
[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png]Image[/url]


Apple's iTunes chief Robert Kondrk met with record label executives during Grammy Week in January about the potential of more exclusive album releases, like Beyoncé's iTunes-exclusive album last December, according to Billboard.

While digital music track sales fell from 1.34 billion units to 1.24 billion units in 2013 due to the rise of streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, Beyoncé's album sold 1 million copies globally on in a week iTunes alone.

Kondrk is using the album's success to sell label executives on the prospect of exclusively releasing albums on digital storefronts like iTunes. He told executives the exclusives don't have to be limited to iTunes as long as they weren't on streaming services like Spotify. The move would be to preserve sales on digital storefronts.

Finally, Kondrk asked executives if they could lock down individual track sales until after a certain window of time, which would then allow users to purchase individual music tracks and listen to albums on streaming services. This is in stark contract to Steve Jobs' sell of unbundled legal access to music when the iTunes Music Store was introduced in 2003.

In January, it was reported that digital music sales declined year-over-year for the first time since the opening of the iTunes Music Store as more users opt for streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Article Link: Apple Pushing Record Labels for More Exclusive Beyonce-Like iTunes Albums

Of course they are
 

fruitpunch.ben

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2008
597
174
Surrey, BC
iTunes feels like more of a dinosaur than AOL did by the early 2000s. AOL at least tried to keep up with the times for a while.

Apple's problem with services is rooted in the way they approach products in general. It takes Apple an enormous amount of time and resources to come out with a product. When they finally come out with it, it's well-polished. But it never really changes after that. Apple lets the product waste away, and eventually it's supplanted by something else. With iTunes you can see that Apple has tried to make updates, but those updates have turned iTunes into a mess, and the core iTunes Store experience hasn't changed. I would say it's gotten worse. Searching is incredibly unwieldy across apps, books, and music, and can't compete with the convenience of streaming unlimited content. Apple has never gotten Internet services. They've shuttered all the online services they've ever created except for iTunes. They didn't improve .Mac; they shut it down. They didn't improve MobileMe; they shut it down. They had to send out OS update discs just to get people to migrate their e-mail to iCloud. Who else has an e-mail service that is reliant on a particular OS?

It seems like iTunes is a chore to them and has been barely kept alive in order to remain compatible with all the devices they sell. If Windows is Microsoft's legacy product it has to maintain for past compatibility, Apple's equivalent is iTunes. But the original iTunes and original iTunes Store were both amazing. It just seems that Apple can't do things well until they scrap something and start over.

You have quite a good point, at first glance.
Only, when I look at all their existing product lines, there's a pretty solid argument that they're all currently at the top of their field. Macbook Air, iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 5S. There's been nothing revolutionary about them since they were released, no. But you cannot say Apple is "not doing things well" as you have.
The only argument you might have is that Apple started 3 years ahead of the game (as Jobs boasted in 2007) and companies like Samsung and Google have very nearly caught them. So they have slowed in innovation maybe. But they're still at least on top of the game, if not ahead of it.
Internet services from Apple has never been amazing. It's only ever been adequate, which is a shame considering it's been rebooted a number of times!
They only thing that works with your argument is iTunes. But many many people have made that argument for years now. iTunes is bloated. It's nothing new
 

SeaFox

macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
2,583
895
Somewhere Else
I know a lot of people use iTunes and like it a lot, but I really don't like the idea of exclusives like this, even if I do have an iPad now. I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.

It would help a lot if Apple would drop the iTunes-required storefront and allow people to buy/download tracks through any web browser like Amazon. With iTunes Plus being DRM-free and AppleID's now universal across all Apple service/websites there is zero reason to require people use Apple's iTunes software to access the store. This would also open up the store to potential customers who use Linux-based OSes.
 

vomhorizon

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2013
952
68
I know a lot of people use iTunes and like it a lot, but I really don't like the idea of exclusives like this, even if I do have an iPad now. I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.

Isn't this essentially what record labels do? iTunes is available on all iOS which is a huge huge club..iTunes is also available on PC and MAC and apple TV. This is exactly the same thing as HBO having a mini series for their own customers but iTunes is accessible to many many times more audience.
 

petsounds

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
1,483
497
We should push iTunes to be more like Spotify/Netflix.

"We"? Who is we? People who don't want to pay for music? Because most music artists are suffering under this Spotify era. You think Beyonce did her iTunes exclusive just to be different? I just talked to the singer of a mid-level indie band today who is planning to do exactly what Apple wants with their next album. Not because of pressure from Apple, but because since they started releasing their albums on Spotify the same day as digital stores their album revenue has dropped tenfold. Their next album will have a period of exclusivity on digital stores before going to Spotify.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68040
Dec 31, 2007
3,176
2,925
Milwaukee Area
Apple should ready the heavy artillery, and start signing artists themselves and revolutionize that horrible wildly unethical side of the business FOR the artists.

The rate at which these crappy pop acts fade out, it won't be more than a few years before Apple would have all the artists, and the miserable labels would vaporize.

Do it for the lulz Apple. Violent revolutions are fun.
 

eagles2214

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2009
49
4
Philadelphia
Kid Cudi just dropped an "iTunes Exclusive Album" and it has been number 1 on iTunes all week (it's really an amazing listen so check it out!). I really think artist can benefit from indusrty album leaks this way.
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,081
324
I will always buy over streaming. If Apple get 7 day exclusives then good for them. About time Apple joined the exclusivity game, it sucks but as every other company does it Apple and it's customers have been losing out
 

dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,810
4,889
"We"? Who is we? People who don't want to pay for music? Because most music artists are suffering under this Spotify era. You think Beyonce did her iTunes exclusive just to be different? I just talked to the singer of a mid-level indie band today who is planning to do exactly what Apple wants with their next album. Not because of pressure from Apple, but because since they started releasing their albums on Spotify the same day as digital stores their album revenue has dropped tenfold. Their next album will have a period of exclusivity on digital stores before going to Spotify.

I doubt a mid-level indie band is going to enjoy a whole lot of success with purchase only exclusives. Beyonce succeeded with it because she's Beyonce. Lesser known artists are not going to sell blind to anything more than the loyal fans who probably would buy their music anyway to support them.

Most bands realise that if they want to make money today in the industry then it comes from merchandising and putting on live shows. The recorded music is a promotional vehicle for the live events that allow them to make a living doing what they love.

You can't turn the subscription model tap off and expect everyone to go back to paying for all your music. Those days are long gone. You'll just go back to competing against piracy all over again. And if the music fans wants starts dropping off subscription services, those subscriptions get cancelled and replaced with... illegal downloads.

iTunes Exclusives can work well in some limited form for the mega artists like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, etc. But for everyone else, take your dimes from Spotify and get on the road.
 

sshambles

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2005
740
1,071
Australia
I don't speak for many, a huge music lover and I own a lot of vinyl. I love the fact I can OWN music. Subscription based music only interests me in the way of finding new music, but I won't subscribe to it, so iTunes Radio has helped keep up with others.

Exclusivity is fine by me. People will acquire it however they want anyways. :apple:
 

Solomani

macrumors 601
Sep 25, 2012
4,233
9,127
Slapfish, North Carolina
I know a lot of people use iTunes and like it a lot, but I really don't like the idea of exclusives like this, even if I do have an iPad now. I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.

The exclusive content doesn't stay exclusive for more than a few weeks. It's not the end of the world.

That Beyonce thing.... Apple's iTunes exclusive debut was for a mere week or two. After that, I believe even WalMart started selling the same damn thing to the WalMartian proles.
 

WaxedJacket

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
624
977
[hipster alert] I've switched over to physical vinyl lately and I don't see myself going back to iTunes :eek:[/hipster alert]
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.