iTunes' variable pricing coincides with plummeting sales


Initial reports from major labels are suggesting that the switch to variable pricing on iTunes has been a failure. According to ‘numerous sources’ sales decreases have been seen across the board since variable pricing was implemented at Macworld back in January.

But lets remember the statisticians’ mantra – correlation is not causation. Just because sales decreases have been seen alongside the implementation of variable pricing, it doesn’t mean that the latter is causing the former.

Just as likely is the effect of services like Spotify on consumers’ music-listening habits. Although the streaming service is unavailable in the States, where these figures are mostly likely from, there are plenty of other similar applications that consumers are beginning to explore.

As people shift from ownership of music to being happy with just access when they need it, sales will decrease. On the flipside, licensing revenues skyrocket, so the same amount of cash is still floating around for music creators – this isn’t the death of the music industry.

(via Digital Music News)

Ireland gets 'three-strikes' policy for music downloads


Meanwhile, over the Irish Sea, the four major music labels have just come to an agreement with Eircom (Ireland’s equivalent of BT) to cut off persistent downloaders after two warnings – the famous “three strikes” approach to music piracy.

Ireland joins France in being the only countries in the world to implement the system, which alienates ISP customers, especially as people get accused of things they’ve not done on a regular basis. The labels say that they’re going to take “all necessary steps” to get other ISPs to follow suit, though I anticipate there’ll be a considerable amount of resistance, especially when they see customers deserting Eircom in their droves.

(via Irish Times)

Related posts: MEPs vote in favour of new telecoms law, could lead to universal “three strikes” | Digital Britain

NOISE GATE: 6 Tenets for a New Music Industry – Conclusions


It’s okay, you can open your eyes again. I’ve reached the end of my Six Tenets series. I hope it’s proved interesting and perhaps even useful. The way people consume music is changing very fast right now, faster than it ever has done before. At the end of it, will there still be the same infrastructure we have now? I highly doubt it. So, in full then, here are my recommendations:

  1. Music must be sharable – word of mouth is more important than ever
  2. Revenue must come from multiple sources – if one bit of the industry becomes obsolete, it shouldn’t sink the whole ship
  3. New technologies are to be welcomed and understood, not feared and litigated against
  4. A&R can be crowdsourced, but remember the long tail
  5. “Added value” is key – give people a reason not to pirate things
  6. Your artists are your most important spokespeople updates website, still awesome


Quick recap for those of you not familiar with Slicethepie: it’s a site where you can invest in bands. Artists upload tracks, reviewers get paid to review them, and the highest-rated artists go through to a ‘showcase’ where anyone can ‘invest’ in the band.

When the investment reaches a certain level, the band go to a studio and make an album. In return for investing in an artist, you get free tracks, as well as a share of their album’s commercial success. It’s a simple concept, and a great alternative to the traditional ‘try and get signed’ approach for bands.