Major labels are again questioning iTunes’ importance in selling music (or pushing for tiered pricing or “album-only” pricing at the store) after Kid Rock’s Rock ‘n Roll Jesus moved 1.6 million copies without the benefit of digital sales.
Discussions of tiered pricing or labels pulling music out of iTunes have popped up almost every year iTunes has been available, but the Kid Rock case has made Atlantic more willing to try yanking music; the label removed Estelle’s debut more than four moths it went on sale there, in order to “promote long-term artist development.”
It’s unlikely that if iTunes actually introduces “album-only” pricing for newer albums that it will turn profits up for music labels. Or that Kid Rock’s anomalous success could translate to artists not in country music or without an already present fanbase.
Plus, it seems inconceivable that a true iTunes competitor will emerge soon enough to challenge the company and help the labels out with profits to the degree they want it to. For now, it appears iTunes’ structure will remain the status quo. [Wall Street Journal]
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