hypocracy of artists/record labels...

Discussion in 'Community' started by jxyama, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    with the recent thread on iTMS' rising album prices (Thread ), i was thinking about the hypocracy of artists/record labels on the issue of albums...

    when the concept of iTMS - mainly the requirement that songs had to be sold individually - was introduced, a lot of artists and labels opposed this for two reasons:

    1) labels argued that the album sales will be awful.
    2) artists argued that they didn't want to "break up" their creation - because they are creating albums as a whole and not just throwing together their music to make an album.

    #1 has been proven somewhat incorrect, with almost half of iTMS sales coming from album downloads. in addition, i imagine that hit singles have sold to more than make up for any loss of album sales.

    #2 is where i see the hypocracy. if musicians really are making albums as a whole, why should there be any correlation at all between the number of songs in an album and the album price? i believe one of the justifications given to high album prices on iTMS is the number of songs. it is somehow thought to be ok to charge $20 for an album if it contains 30 songs.

    i don't get this. if album is the expression of musician's creativity, it should take the same amount of creative effort to record a 5 song/30 minute album as a 30 song/90 minute album. does it take more time? yes, but artists are not paid by the hour - they are paid for their creative effort.

    if painter was asked to paint a piece, he/she won't get paid by the amount of paint used or the size of the painting. if painting as a whole is the expression of artist's creativity, the resulting size is just a mere consequence of his/her creative idea. however big or small it takes to "correctly" express his/her idea...

    i think we, the consumers, are correct in what we've been saying for a while - that many albums are full of fillers. that artists/labels want to put in filler music to inflate the number of songs in an album so they can charge us more...

    any thoughts?
  2. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    I don't know the facts on this, but I'll take your word for it that almost half of the iTMS sales have been from album (and not singles) sales.

    I doubt that the artists have much say in the retail price of the album.

    I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that you believe it takes the same amount of "creative effort" to write five songs as it does to write thirty songs? Regardless, it is my understanding that most of what you're paying for in that $20 album price is the marketing and production costs (plus a hefty profit for the record company). I don't think the amount of creative effort exercised in creating the songs has much at all to do with the album's final cost.

    By the way, if the album price were solely based on the amount of creative effort put into its creation, what would be an appropriate price? What is the going rate on creativity these days?

    I think you're right here. It may well be the case that the artists and/or their labels put additional "filler" songs on an album to make it appear that you're getting more for your money, thus justifying higher prices. If you feel that strongly about it, vote with your pocketbook and don't buy their products. :)
  3. jxyama thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    well, one of the reasons some musicians and labels didn't like iTMS is because of ind. song sale policy. they argued that the artists made an album and it wouldn't do their creativity justice to break it up, that they are meant to be enjoyed as an album and not "merely "as a collection of songs.

    what i'm arguing is that if a musician conceives of an album as a whole, then the number of songs and length of the album is a mere consequence of expressing their creativity. some may be able to express their creativity in a 5 song/30 min. album. some may require a monstrous 40 song/2 hour album - just like some paintings are one square feet and some others are 100 square feet.

    so i feel that the prices should NOT be correlated at all to the number of songs or the length of the album. if picasso painted a one square inch painting, it should be worth more than a joe-schmoe's 100 sq. feet painting - because artists should be paid for their creative expression and NOT for the size of their creation.

    so i found it hypocritical of musicians and labels to base the prices on the length of the album. it directly supports the notion that fillers are made so they can charge more.

    well, i've been voting with my wallet - i only buy albums from artists i like and don't buy or listen to other music i don't feel worthy. (i *used to* have much wider taste - because music was relatively more affordable and i could justify dropping money on more of them.) but the record labels are being slow to come to realization that their golden age of continuous ripping off of consumers is over - even if it was realized by illegal music sharing...
  4. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    The real hypocrisy is that the same bands who complain that allowing their albums to be downloadable as individual songs "violates the creative integrity of the album's concept" are the same bands who feel perfectly free to put singles from that album on the radio, where they are played ad naseum for free, then release Greatest Hits albums of those singles. :rolleyes:

    On any given album these days the execs want to see at least one or two songs that can be put out as singles so that they can hook people into buying the full CD. The rest are where the band can get away with stuff that may not be radio-friendly or have any mass appeal. Of course, that means that for most of us, those songs will be filler, but to the band's fans, or to a few others, those "filler" songs may be some of the better songs on the album.

    People's musical tastes vary pretty widely; it's very difficult to produce an album-full of songs that EVERYONE's going to like. I really doubt that bands deliberately and knowingly make stuff that even they think is crap and "filler". Some might have more greed-based motives than others, but overall they're not sticking something on an album that they think sucks. That doesn't have any bearing on how much consumers will like a given song.

    And how do you figure that it takes the same amount of creative energy to make 5 songs or 30? Each song requires a new combination of ideas, and is therefore a creative act (well, debatably in some cases, but still) requiring its own amount of creative energy. It's not just a factor of time....in other words, the song is the creative unit, not the album.
  5. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!

    To get Queen's Greatest Hits 1&2 on iTMS it costs $33.66 (34 songs x 99¢)

    Wal-Mart physical CD set costs only $18.99.

    At Wal-Mart and other physical CD seller locations CDs are all priced based on the popularity of the artist and recentness of the release. Shouldn't album sales at iTMS be based on that too and not number of tracks?? If anything kills album sales it will be this inconsistency not the availability of single tracks.
  6. jxyama thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    ha ha, so true... you know the band is in "trouble" when greatest hits start coming out...

    so i guess it's the beginning of the end (if it hadn't ended already, that is) for Guns 'N Roses... :( :D

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