Thursday, August 28, 2008

Estelle's album falls off the Apple tree

Emboldened - or emstupidened - by the sales of Kid Rock's album without appearing on iTunes, the majors are once again trying to pressure Apple into letting them dictate the retail terms for iTunes.

Atlantic have pulled a four month old Estelle album from iTunes as some sort of statement - although since not even major label bosses would believe that Kid Rock's album sold because the kids liked the "not available on iTunes" cachet, it's hard to see what the point is.

The labels dislike that Apple allows cherry-picking of tracks rather than bundling the rubbish fillers up with the few decent songs. This, though, explains why the non-appearance of the album on iTunes didn't overly hurt Rock's sales - had it been available there, people would have just bought the single and left the sludgey gloop of the rest of the record unwanted on the virtual shelves. Rock could probably have sold a million more copies of the single through iTunes, but it's unlikely he would have shifted many full sets of tracks from the album session.

Actually, I'm thinking we should encourage the labels in this new pursuit - for what better way of having it flagged that nobody would want most of the tracks on an album than deciding it's not worth bothering letting people buy them individually. The sticker might say 'not on iTunes'; it could be read as 'stick to the single - or wait for Now That's What I Call Music'