One of the hottest issues has to do with how much of that 99 cents per song the actual musicians get, versus the slice that Apple and the record companies collect. Apparently, the musicians get very little. According to the conversation, it’s reported that Apple gets about 35 cents per track purchased, and the record companies get the rest. The musicians are paid from the cut the record companies collect, and it probably isn’t more that a few cents a song. I’m not trying to report the actual numbers here; I’m trying to frame the conversation. Maybe we’ll get hard numbers from someone in the know.
This is a conversation that merits discussion. Apple is not changing the music world. They are working with the existing model. In essence, the Music Store represents a new access point for consumers, and hopefully more sales for artists and their labels. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. I think Apple has brought a degree of good Karma to the music scene. But I also think it could be the start of even better Karma.
If Apple is smart, and I think those in charge are, they will listen to both sides of this discussion. Because, even though the Music Store represents a new, but somewhat conservative way to purchase music, it could become a powerful engine for independent labels who want to treat their artists differently (aka better!) than the big five.
Talking about thinking differently. If Apple were to offer this service to artist-friendly companies, and let everyone compete side by side in their Music Store, then we could see a true revolution in music distribution. What would happen if indies were to offer their songs for 45 cents in the Music Store versus the big five’s 99 cents?
My heart races at the thought…