“Let There Be Rock…” but not on iTunes says AC/DC, the classic rock band that formed in 1973 and is still going strong today.
The band is part of a handful of major music artists, including country music’s Garth Brooks and progressive metal band Tool, that continue to shun the popular online music store because they believe in preserving their music in the context of full albums rather than piecing them out into singles. But are the artists actually proving anything by standing by adhering to that mindset, or are they simply depriving themselves of revenue?
“I know the Beatles have changed but we’re going to carry on like that,” AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young told Sky News. “For us it’s the best way. We are a band who started off with albums and that’s how we’ve always been. We always were a band that if you heard something (by AC/DC) on the radio, well, that’s only three minutes. Usually the best tracks were on the albums.”
“If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album – and we don’t think that represents us musically,” Young told The Telegraph in a 2008 interview.
Country music artist Garth Brooks made similar comments in 2009, and is still an iTunes holdout to this day.
“iTunes won’t do what (it) needs to until (musicians) find a way to join together, and show them what an iPod sounds like with no music,” Brooks said in an interview with USA Today. “They truly think that they’re saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. Until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there.”
But according to some sources, music artists who are shunning the behemoth force known as iTunes are missing out on possibly millions of dollars in potential profits from their work.
An infographic done by Information is Beautiful shows that most musicians make between 30 cents and $1.00 on each album sold for $9.99 in retail outlets. However, if that album were available for digital download on iTunes, the cut would be about 94 cents, while single downloads from iTunes make an artist about 57 cents, a significantly larger cut.
And then there’s the fact that fans are going to get a hold of the music in the format they’d like one way or another. A simple isoHunt search turned up several pirated copies of AC/DC’s albums on BitTorrent sites. Of course, the band makes nothing off of these.
In the end is the artists’ decision as to when and how they release their works to fans. Fortunately though, iTunes hasn’t killed music yet, and probably won’t any time soon.