Metallica and Linkin Park Block Legal MP3’s.
The main sticking point seems to be that the songs are available individually instead of having the albums sold in their entirety, according to a report from Rolling Stone. That is apparently what was behind the decision for artists such as Linkin Park, Metallica, Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers not to include their catalogs in music services like the successful iTunes, which was launched by Apple a few months ago.
The fact that keeping their songs off of “legal” services, where the artist actually make money will encourage the illegal trading of individual songs, seems to be lost on the management for these artists but not to the companies that provide legal download services. "If you fail to make songs available legally, you're basically telling people to go ahead and download it illegally," Matt Graves, a spokesman for Listen.com, told Rolling Stone. "You're shooting yourself in the foot."
According to Rolling Stone, this is a new development for Linkin Park, who recently pulled the plug on having their songs available on download services.
The Rolling Stone report asserts that, “artists and their managers say their concerns are artistic, not monetary”. They spoke with Marc Reiter of Q-Prime (Metallica, RHCP’s management company), who told them, “Certain songs might not fit on radio for one reason or another but are just as important an artistic statement. We refuse to kowtow to the fact that it's a singles market for downloads."
A representative from Linkin Park’s label, Warner Brothers looked at the issue from a slightly different perspective. "We're in an in-between phase right now," the source told Rolling Stone. "The way music is available now is going to force artists to rethink how they make it and labels to rethink how they sell it."
In order to participate in services like iTunes, these artists want their albums sold as “all or nothing.” Meaning, fans can’t choose to purchase individual tracks but must instead purchase the entire album instead. That idea goes against the grain at iTunes, who refuse to accommodate such demands because it goes against what they feel the consumer wants (and what has proven to be the case, with the success of iTunes). "People want individual songs," a source from Apple told Rolling Stone. "And we want to be consistent. We respect these artists' points of view, but we want every song available as singles."
The tide does seem to be turning but these artists are popular enough to buck the trend, at least for the time being. With that said, the success of iTunes should be a wakeup call to the industry that the new “singles” format is indeed digital downloads. According to Apple, the first eight weeks that the iTunes service was online, they sold 5 million downloads. Now keep in mind that the iTunes service is proprietary to the Apple computer operating service and iPod players, which represent a fraction of the computer marketplace. Think of the numbers once Apple (or another company using a similar model) opens their service to the Windows market.
You can fight the future all you want, but when the dust settles, you may end up being left behind.