From the Billboard to The Wall Street Journal, the debate rages on. Has iTunes killed the album? Would Kid Rock have sold more or less if he’d gone on iTunes. (LESS) Was Atlantic smart to pull the Estelle single off iTunes just as it was climbing the chart? (NO) Would AC/DC sell even more if they finally went digital. (YES, particularly if they stuck to album only)
There are three things that really bother me about this debate:
- The economy is a mess and we all should be concentrating on ways to re-build the music business; not endlessly debating if Steve Job is the devil. (HINT: He’s not a God either)
- Kid Rock is nobody’s hero. He’s a smart businessman who knows his audience. He would sell his wares from the back of a garbage truck if he thought it would reach his audience. (it might) He is NOT an industry hero.
- The folks who write these endless stories need to remember that artists and their audiences come in all shapes and sizes:
- While Kid Rock wrote a masterful single, his audience still wants the whole album. Why give them the chance to buy anything else?
- Estelle‘s audience doesn’t give a crap about anything but the song. Sell them what they want.
- Stop comparing AC/DC‘s impressive non-digital sales to The Beatles andRolling Stones. Some kids and oldsters still (amazingly) care about this band. No self-respecting teen would be caught dead buying a Beatles or Stones album.
Different sales strategies will work for different bands. Those of us that market music need to view each artist’s realtionship with their audience as unique andstop comparing apples to oranges.