Gone are the days of envying music fans in other countries who get their hands on new albums before the rest of the world: In an effort to cut down on piracy, representatives of the music industry say they’ve come to an agreement to release new albums on the same day worldwide, Friday, instead of different countries releasing music on different days of the week.
MP3newswire.net browsed through not-quite-hits from past decades on the iTunes Music Store to see where these fabled 69 cent music tracks are hiding. He tried the Katydids, Camper Van Beethoven, the Lyres, Rock and Roll Trio, but found nothing below 99 cents. Then he went back to be-bop and blues recordings of the ’40s—nope. Finally, he looked at songs from Ada Jones, a recording artist from 1893 to 1922. Everything was still 99 cents.
Say what you will about Apple’s dominion over the music industry, but for a while now they’ve maintained an artificially low market for music tracks by forcing labels to sell songs for 99 cents each. That era is over: in exchange for moving to a higher bitrate and going 100% DRM free (hooray) iTunes has officially introduced “variable pricing” (boo), which means each track may cost 69 cents, 99 cents, or $1.29—it all depends on the song and the label. It looks like Amazon has introduced variable pricing as well, although it’s mostly holding to the 99 cents threshold for now. Amazon’s tracks, by the way, have always been free of DRM.
Trent Reznor and Radiohead have been dealt a serious blow in the tiered pricing war for album releases. Josh Freese, a member of Devo and A Perfect Circle who’s also played for NIN, Sting, The Offspring, and more!, has just released his solo album today. Aside from the free single or vanilla $7 album download option, you can pay anywhere from $15 to $75,000 for increasingly more bizarre package deals.
TechCrunch has published a damning rumor accusing the social music site Last.fm of helping the RIAA find users who downloaded leaked copies of U2’s new album. Relying on a tip, TechCrunch claims that the Last.fm, a subsidiary of CBS, handed over a “giant dump of user data to track down people who are scrobbling unreleased tracks.”
Laura used Picasa to share photographs of her mastectomy with members of her support group, as well as family and friends. Now they’re gone, deleted without warning because some anonymous jackass flagged them as inappropriate. [Update: Pics are back up! Google apologized and reinstated the entire album, along with comments.] The first problem with this is that it’s hard to figure out which category of “inappropriate” surgical pictures fall under: obscenity, pornography, promotions of hate, incitement of violence, spam, malicious code, or viruses?
Radiohead may have moved 1.2 million copies of its new album “In Rainbows” when it was released last week, but according to industry analysts, over 500,000 copies were downloaded through old-fashioned file sharing networks, eroding the perceived success of the distribution plan and possibly hindering similar release plans for other artists in the future.
Until yesterday, iTunes users who bought a single song, and later decided they wanted the whole album, ended up paying for the same song twice. Not anymore!