1. Should will.i.am be considered a credible source? Yes, he’s had wild commercial success, but he’s a product of a dying business and dying ideas. Of course iTunes scares him, the gatekeepers that manage his future don’t hold all of the keys to iTunes.

  2. Will.I.am doesn’t have the same challenges that indie artists have at this point in his career. Therefore he has no grasp on the reality of the indie artist.

  3. I agree, to a certain extent. The fact that:
    a) iTunes takes 33% of sales is not a good thing for artists.
    But more importantly:
    b) Arists have no idea who is buying their music from iTunes! No names, no e-mail addresses, nothing. Artists are unable to follow-up with their own customers, which is key to growing any business. Instead, everyone who buys music from iTunes is an Apple customer, and they get to follow-up and sell them more Apple products.
    But iTunes has created a store that people trust and enjoy shopping from, and no doubt artists are selling to some fans through iTunes that might not have found them in the first place. Which is nice, however, sharing data for those customers would go a long way in helping artists build sustainable careers.

    Dave Cool
    (Yes, that’s my real name!)
    Friend of the Indie Artist. Sometimes Documentary Filmmaker

  4. I thought services like Tunecore, get reports from apple about who buys your music Am I wrong here?

  5. William is right in both a) and b) that Dave nicely pointed out. Thanks Dave.
    Yet, I still feel somewhat bewildered that people trust and enjoy shopping from a store that can delete any album that the rights holder wants to discontinue, for it to disappear without a trace. In physical music releases, you can (almost) always get a 2nd hand copy if it’s out of print. You cannot with digital releases, and that’s tough.

  6. PUH-lease! will.i.am has had major label penis in his mouth for so long now that the major’s complete disconnect with reality has also become his his kool-aid. NEXT!

  7. I think/hope the point he’s trying to make is that new emerging artists should hold their own keys. iTunes key is worth 30%… which in this day and age is rather unacceptable.

  8. For an independent music artist with few listeners (like me), iTunes is not helping very much. The top selling artists are the ones that are displayed in the charts, just like we are used to from the analog world. I can’t see that I have any reason to complain about this. When I visit iTMS to check out some new music, I’m happy that I don’t need to filter out thousands of eager artists that think their music deserve to be visible in the same charts as Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones or the Future Sound of London. – Still, I must say that I get quite many streams (30 secs listens) in the iTMS, much more than on any other music web site. This means that a lot of people are going to ITMS to check out music, and the more I succeed with selling tracks and albums in the iTMS, the more people I will reach. I don’t know how many sales I need to have in order to be included in the Genius database. Does anybody know? Will bying expensive ads on the front page of iTunes help?

  9. The amount of hatred for will.i.am is astounding. Some are going to let a perceived image of the man totally invalidate a great point?
    Artists need to stand up and take control of how their music is processed. The fact is it’s now easier than ever for an artist to control their product from inception to release and reap all the rewards. iTunes and other distribution services are always going to take a cut.
    Why not create an artist page that allows payments, downloads and more that drives fan interaction and helps the artists get paid?
    iTunes is convenient and people go there. If you can make it convenient for your fans to go to your page and do the exact same thing you’re winning on two fronts.

  10. iTunes isn’t “the answer” but then it never was supposed to be, was it? It’s just a music shop. That’s like saying Tower or Virgin was “the answer”. At least artists can get their records “on the high street” for a commission of only 30% (plus maybe an aggregator’s cut). When you had to do it through a Major label you would dream of paying those margins.

  11. Fair enough, although my point was in talking about current/future music distribution.
    Also, the fact is that iTunes can very easily share the customer information with artists, but simply choose not to. Record stores almost never had access to customer contact information, especially with cash transactions.
    But what you could get from in-store distributors is at least a sense of geographically where albums were selling most, so at least you could market to certain areas/cities if there was a sense of a solid fan base. With iTunes, it’s a total shot in the dark.
    I love iTunes, and buy a lot of music and movies from them, but just feel they could do more to open up and help out the very people who are providing the content that drives iPod sales, etc.

  12. Like it or not to get real traction most artists need the support of many groups to get their music heard and culture experienced. iTunes puts little to no money into creating a record, supporting the artists but takes the first 30%! In reality, for the vast bulk of artists, iTunes makes more than ANYONE (artist, label, manager …) in the deal for taking no risk. While it does not seem right, until their is better access to music that will compete with iTunes, they have captured the market and the money. I look forward to the next round of innovation that will allow artists and those that truly contribute to their success to be rewarded.

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