Saturday, January 01, 2005

On The iTunes Music Store Pricing Approach

by Tom Bozzo

I've always wondered why the pay-per-song model of Apple's iTunes Music Store is doubted by various industry participants. It's the subscription model that's as yet unproven for music sales.

Once upon a time, the record industry routinely sold millions of "single" songs at 2 mid-to-late '80s dollars a pop — admittedly a pre-downloading, no-DRM price — less only if the "B-side" was good.

Of course, they did sell somewhat more than just the music. The singles often came in visually interesting wrappers. (The following were selected for a combination of nostalgia value and probability that some readers may have heard of one or two of the acts.)

That hair!

The music was OK, too.

Young and serious.

Not so serious.

Pop music history note: The Timelords record was actually a #1 pop single in the U.K in 1988. The "I'm a car, and I've made a record" line was a sendup of late-1980s British flash-in-the-pan pop acts selected by their promoters for looks (distinctive if not always attractive) over musical ability. If they only knew...

The Timelords subsequently published an autobiographical manual describing in detail the process of making a number one single. Fame, fortune, and sex sold separately.

Additional background: the 45 RPM record adapter disappeared in the move, so I have little to do with my big-hole 45s than to photograph them until I find a new one.
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