iTunes Makes Weird Al Broke

If Chinese sweatshops or locking yourself into an anti-competitive DRM format aren’t enough reasons to stop you from buying songs from iTunes, at least take pity on polka’s favorite rockin’ freak: Weird Al Yankovic says he makes a lot less money if you buy a song from iTunes than if you buy one of his CDs.

    I am extremely grateful for your support, no matter which format you choose to legally obtain my music in, so you should do whatever makes the most sense for you personally. But since you ASKED… I actually do get significantly more money from CD sales, as opposed to downloads. This is the one thing about my renegotiated record contract that never made much sense to me. It costs the label NOTHING for somebody to download an album (no manufacturing costs, shipping, or really any overhead of any kind) and yet the artist (me) winds up making less from it. Go figure.

The Record Industry fucking over artists? Who’da thunk? According to this page, Weird Al is making 85% less per song if you buy from iTunes than if you buy his CD in a store. Why is it just so much more enraging when it’s noodle-haired Weird Al getting screwed?

So buy CDs, directly from the artist if you can, at a record store or through Amazon if you can’t. Rip them yourself, keep the CD. You’re giving more of your money to the artist that way and you aren’t being locked into a proprietary DRM format that, mark our words, you’ll be trading in just as soon as some company finally steps up to the plate with an iPod/iTunes killer.

Weird Al Yankovic Homepage


Edit Your Comment

  1. ModerateSnark says:

    The overwhelming majority of music on iPods was not purchased from iTunes. Just divide the number of songs sold at the iTunes store by the number of iPods sold and it’s obvious.
    A year ago the number was 21 iTunes songs per iPod.
    How much of the other music is “illegaly shared” and how much is ripped from CDs or aquired by other legal means is anybody’s guess.

    I don’t know if an iPod killer is coming anytime soon. Most people are already avoiding DRM with their iPods. And many of them may be doing it completely legally.

  2. WMeredith says:

    I’ll second that. I purchased about 30 songs from itunes before I ran into to something I couldn’t do with music I HAD PAID for, so I went back to buying CD’s, ripping them and doing whatever I want with the tracks.

  3. Rick Dobbs says:

    Let’s hope people DO buy the actual CD, otherwise we’ll just have to end up sending him money to help save his house.

  4. Ben says:

    Last time Jimmy Buffett was here they wanted about $150 a seat for a two hour show. I’m not so good at math, 40,000 fans plus merchandise and perhaps a cut of beer sales and I bet he did pretty good for a day’s work.

    Of course I also own at least 20 of his cd’s, and a dozen albums (from before CD’s were invented) so he’s made his money from me more than a few times over.

    Point? Don’t really have one. But were all the artists getting this screwed back in the days of Columbias “Get 13 albums for 1 cent if you buy two more at regular price” club days? That was back when a concert was only $8.00 and all that.

    somebody is getting rich off the scheme, if not the artist, then…

  5. or better yet, rip the CD from someone and mail wierd al 15$.

    (as if anyone has EVER done this)

  6. Ben Popken says:

    Rob writes:

    I’m not sure what sort of fucked up stuff goes into major label contracts, but for someone who runs a very small micro record label (, selling albums from iTunes gives us the most money to both the label and the artist than any other type of store. On top of that, we’re not losing any inventory of our physical copies – pure profit!

  7. SajalaJobnik says:

    That’s great and all, but it would be nice if Weird Al didn’t use weird disc formats for his albums. My PC more or less refused to rip his last album due to the hybrid CD/DVD disc format.

  8. weirdalfan27 says:

    I bought all of his CD’s, and some of the CD’s of other artists. But for other artists I don’t care about much, I just use iTunes.