Charles Edison

"Economics, politics, and personalities are often inseparable." - Charles Edison

Monday, August 29, 2011

Indie Record Stores Fire Back

On August 8th of this year Jay-Z's and Kanye West's much anticipated collaboration album, Watch the Throne was finally released. It was first digitally available on iTunes. Four days later it was released at Best Buy, who had the exclusive rights for the physical copies of both the regular and the deluxe versions of the album. While the album was breaking iTunes' first-week sales records and reaching gold certification in the first full week of both digital and physical copies up for sale, independent record store were hurting. They were only allowed to sell their copies of the deluxe version 10 days after Best Buy. The indie stores were outraged and penned an open letter to both Jay-Z and Kanye West stating that their exclusivity deals were putting many stores out of business. As many of their regular customers would have to go to a "mainstream giant" to get one of the year's biggest releases.


Smith said...

Do you think the artists' exclusivity is fair? Why would they release it on iTunes first? Based off the factors of production, do you think it's a cheaper way to produce the record by releasing it on iTunes?

Deven P. said...

I think artists should be able to do what they want. However I also believe that the artist or artists need to understand that they would not be where they are right now if it weren't for the independent record stores. The big stores such as iTunes, Walmart, and Best Buy may get you higher sales but that will get you so far. Exclusivity hurts the indie stores more than it helps guys on top, if iTunes and Best Buy didn't get the exclusive it's not like it would put them out of business but if they do than it undoubtedly be another step in the extinction of indie record store. By helping out the indie stores the artist or artists will create a bigger loyal following which will keep them in the music industry much longer such as Jay-Z's 13 LPs and Kanye West's 6 LPs and producing many others.
They released on iTunes first to minimize the likeliness of the album leaking before the album was officially released, which it did, but I don't know how iTunes exclusivity helps with that.
By putting out the album on iTunes it just means the distribution company and the stores that sell the physicals gets less money. Also the the photographers and anyone involved with the making of the actual jewel case also gets less of a cut. The only overhead other that the usual (producers, engineers, vocalists, the artists themselves and any collaborators, and the label) is the 30% that Apple takes.

Victor L said...

I believe artists have the right to choose who gets their music. It is their music; It is their music for them to issue. They get to decide who gets it. It is not the indie shops place to decide when they get the music to sell. The artist of the work chooses who gets its first. Toe deny them from this right would be wrong.