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Victory Records hates iTunes

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:22 pm
by Jake
Tony Brummel of Victory Records agrees with all you iTunes haters:

4) It is important for people to experience the entire album. Not just a track(s). The artist went into the studio and created a body of work. If you were buying a painting from Picasso, would you have said, “Look Pablo. I like this painting man. But I only like that corner part with the tree and the guy’s finger. How about you chop off that corner and I give you $1 instead of $10 for the painting? Is that cool? I really do not care about the rest of what you were trying to convey in that piece of work.” The artwork, the lyrics, the sequencing of the album typically tell a very important story. It is a work of art! If people are being conditioned to not listen to albums in this way, they are nullifying the entire musical experience…at least in our genre as a rock label. As the owner of a label, my favorite tracks are never the singles! Often, it is the most esoteric songs on the album that have the most depth and meaning (musically and lyrically), and you typically are not exposed to that song until you have played the album through 15-20 times. Great songs take time to sink in and you have to be exposed to them in order to make that happen.

iTunes makes music disposable. It makes it a faceless impulse item. It steals its soul.

Seems a bit reactionary. Obviously, both experiences are valid; i.e., the single and the album. But whatever. This guy is obviously a mutant.

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:26 pm
by LionIndex
Emerson Lake and Palmer were on Victory. That explain it?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:32 pm
by Dawg
"How much for just one rib?"

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:40 pm
by vitas
i disagree with tony brummel. on a lot of things beside just this one particular item. i believe it comes down to personal preference. plus, anytime an artist creates a piece of work it's subject to interpretation of the public. what if i were to create an album, but i believe it can only be fully appreciated if the listener smoked a lot of pot, drank five cans of mr. pib, and sat facing northwest at 6pm? if you fall short of that you'll never appreciate it in the way i've intended. a little extreme? sure. though, it's not up to the person creating the art or the person pressing it on a slab of plastic and marketing it to define how i should appreciate it.

now, the stuff that victory puts out being referred to either music or art... that's another thing. i really don't care for it. but what does my opinion matter to a 13 yo hard core kid that gets off on the revolution that tony's selling him? not a thing. and that's exactly the way i reference his opinion as it relates to me. it don't mean shit.

if someone makes an album that can hold my attention the entire time it's on, more power to them. if you put out an album with only one or two tracks that i like, we'll too bad.

just thought of another thing. if tony doesn't want to interfer with the artist original concept for the song and how it fits into an album as a body of work, why the hell does victory put together compilations of the artist on their label and use them as marketing tools or for sale to kids to give them a taste of what the labels puts out? seems a little hypocritical.

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:43 pm
by LionIndex
It certainly appears that I'm thinking of a different Victory Records than the one this guy works for.

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:21 pm
by Sugarcubes Forever
LPs were as much a product of the technology of their times as they were artistry. Prior to the 1970s popular music sales were heavily centered around Singles, which in turn were driven by payola and Radio play. In a sense, digital technologies have brought mustic back to a type of hyper Singles market.

The way I see it now, if you like to experience an entire suite of songs, you can buy a the whole slate of tunes and listen to them in the order that the artist arranged them. If not, it seems crazy to me that anybody wouldn't want to sell their songs. I've never been able, for instance, to find written opinions from songsters of the 1970s arguing against the sale of 45rpm Singles! Oh my gosh, Singles are killing the Long Play album!

As the technology changes it allows the music consumer to choose. The good musicians, I think, will continue to find a market for their sounds. If not, they'll have to settle for the love of their craft and get over it.

Personally, I just really like holding an old LP jacket or CD booklet in my hand, drinking a really good beer and kicking back to a new CD. But, I'm over 30 years old and therefore completely untrustworthy!

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:27 pm
by DJMurphy
FWIW, the mid-90s Victory which was label home to ELP and Yes (among others) was a rather splashy failure started by former Atlantic Records hotshot Phil Carson and distributed by PolyGram. From what I heard, despite all the money that was thrown into it, it quickly died an ignoble death, and ELP got their catalog back. Conversely, I've heard nothing but stuff to admire about the current Victory Records

Secondly, about the current Victory Records, I completely agree with LABEL FOUNDER* Tony Brummel in principle (album as its own artform needs to be preserved despite a la carte download setups), right up to the point where he refuses to sell on iTunes. The fact of the matter remains that digital music distribution is here to stay, whether it's iTunes or a thousand other companies. By choosing to not sell through them, he's cutting off his nose to spite his face. To truly make his point, he needs to find a hook to get the iTunes users to buy the record anyway, using some value-added content that you just can't get from iTunes.

By refusing to distribute his tunes digitally (in any form), he's just ultimately gonna hurt his artists, as well as deny himself an ultimately valid distribution channel.

I can't comment on his aspersions he casts on iTunes' monetary setup. Jake and Derek (as label heads) might be able to either confirm or deny that it's a raw deal.

*not meant to pick on you, LionIndex, but it's a somewhat important distinction to make from merely "someone who works for the label", which is technically true but doesn't catch the nuance that he started the shebang. ;-)

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:49 pm
by Jake
DJMurphy wrote:I can't comment on his aspersions he casts on iTunes' monetary setup. Jake and Derek (as label heads) might be able to either confirm or deny that it's a raw deal.

Through July 2005, Apple paid labels 65 cents a song. After that, it's gone up to 70 cents a song. Tiny indies like GLONO get our stuff up on iTunes via our deal with CDBaby. CDBaby then takes 9% of what Apple send them (acting as our umbrella label).

The other digital distribution services are weird. Sites like MusicNet and Rhapsody pay us (via CDBaby) each time someone streams one of our songs. 2 cents and 10, respectively. I find that so...odd (paying for streaming). But if you subscribe to one of those services, feel free to put a Riviera or Quasar album on "repeat" before you go to bed, and I'll buy you a beer next time I see you.

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:55 pm
by DJMurphy
I just read the entire editorial, and Brummel does provide digital distribution for Victory bands via their webstore, albeit not iTunes. Those rates that iTunes pays out for a PURCHASE of a song don't seem to be much more than what ASCAP or BMI might send to an artist for airplay. It doesn't seem to be that fair... or am I reading it wrong? It certainly doesn't offer the artist that much financial incentive to sell on iTunes if they're gonna see such a reduced cut of what a CD sale could potentially bring.

But then again, I might be talking out of my ass again... in which case, I sincerely apologize.

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:06 pm
by Jake
DJMurphy wrote:It certainly doesn't offer the artist that much financial incentive to sell on iTunes if they're gonna see such a reduced cut of what a CD sale could potentially bring.

iTunes pays $7 for a ful-album download. A label clearing $7.00 for a cd sale is pretty good, really. Labels typically sell their stuff to distributors for approximately 50% of the list price. For example a $15.98 list CD might be purchased by the distributor for $8. So it's not really that far off.