Thursday, June 15, 2006

How iTunes rips off Weird Al

The king of comic rock, Weird Al Yankovic, explains on his blog that he makes less money from iTunes downloads than from regular CD sales, even though there are fewer costs involved in the download than the physical product.

Weird Al writes:

Tim Sloane of Ijamsville, MD asks: Al, which of these purchasing methods should I use in order to make sure the most profit gets to you: Buying one of your albums on CD, or buying one of your albums on iTunes?

I am extremely grateful for your support, no matter which format you choose to legally obtain my music in, so you should do whatever makes the most sense for you personally. But since you ASKED... I actually do get significantly more money from CD sales, as opposed to downloads. This is the one thing about my renegotiated record contract that never made much sense to me. It costs the label NOTHING for somebody to download an album (no manufacturing costs, shipping, or really any overhead of any kind) and yet the artist (me) winds up making less from it. Go figure.

Go figure indeed. There are thieves and pirates involved in stealing from artists, and most of them work for the record labels.

Over on The Digital Music Weblog, Grant Robertson discusses the financial arrangements between Apple, the music studios, and the artists. There is no reason to think that Weird Al has an especially raw deal:

If all of your fans bought through iTunes rather than buying CDs at the record store you'd be looking at an overall reduction in income of 85%!

Eighty Five Percent! If they cut my income by 85%, I'd be making soup from old shoes down by the railroad tracks!

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