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April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?" 
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Post April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
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Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:10 pm
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
I refuse to buy anything from Apple because of their DRM policies.

http://www.yearwithoutdrm.com/


Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:27 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
When you come up with a way of defining comfortable profit, we can really start this conversation. If iTunes had started out at $1.50, you would praise this move. This is not about economics. It's about about psychology. The right price is the price that the market will bear. Only time will tell about this one.


Last edited by BamainBoston on Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:28 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Wow. This is weird. First we agree on Patton being our favorite movies & now this. Not often that I read an opinion article from someone & agree with it entirely, but it's happened here.

I used to be a "downloader", with a a little vengeance monkey on my back, but once I found out Amazon was offereing mp3's at 99 cents, I changed my evil ways. Heck, that's what I used to pay for a single when I was a kid in the 70's - and it came on media that would eventually wear out. What a deal this was. Was. If the prices go up 30% on Amazon as well, I might be tempted to put my black hat back on. I DO buy hundreds of songs per year from Amazon - mostly whole albums - and the new price point would have me back into "is it worth it?" territory.

Greed. It was only a few days ago I posted an article on one of our more popular forums explaining how price gouging & greed are one of the root causes of this situation we're in. Know how many responses I got? Zero. Lots of other talk about people blaming the democrats, blaming the republicans, the president, the oil companies & the list goes on. What nobody mentions is the futures buyers in the oil market who drove our gas prices up to where all those people with shaky home loans couldn't afford them. Our local gas prices tumbled, but now that there's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, they're on their way up again. Same as the rising costs of itunes downloads - is this really necessary?

I too am all for capitalism, but if we can't control our excessive greed, then there needs to be limits put in place - be it high taxes, new laws - whatever.

Brian.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:44 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Some facts need to be added in here

1) Apple has been campaigning to get out of DRM
2) The record companies insisted that in exchange for DRM free music Apple introduce a tiered pricing policy after Apple had fought them not to increase from 99 cents

Sorry to spoil the party :-(
Rob


Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:47 pm
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Robert Holloway wrote:
Some facts need to be added in here

1) Apple has been campaigning to get out of DRM
2) The record companies insisted that in exchange for DRM free music Apple introduce a tiered pricing policy after Apple had fought them not to increase from 99 cents

Sorry to spoil the party :-(
Rob


If you notice, I did not once blame Apple. The blame is squarely on the record companies for precisely the reason you state - they are the ones that forced Apple to raise the prices.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:12 pm
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Will Amazon follow suit with their MP3 downloading service? They already have a tiered system though prices max out at $0.99. If they maintain this, there's more incentive for iTunes users to consider Amazon more seriously.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:18 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
new_xieland wrote:
I refuse to buy anything from Apple because of their DRM policies.

http://www.yearwithoutdrm.com/


Apple converted virtually all of their tracks to 256kb DRM free versions a couple of months ago. The conversion is not yet 100% complete, but I would say over 98% of the songs for sale are DRM free.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:06 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
James Berardinelli wrote:
If you notice, I did not once blame Apple. The blame is squarely on the record companies for precisely the reason you state - they are the ones that forced Apple to raise the prices.


Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with the music industry forcing Apple's hand to raise prices. After all, the iTunes music store has been around for 6 yrs and raising the price of some songs to $1.30 isn't a bad deal at all (especially if many other songs can still be bought for $1 or 70 cents).

As a person who grew up in the 80s, I'm surprised at your POV. I remember shelling out $4.99 for a 12" single back in the mid 80s and feeling like that was an OK deal because the alternative was to buy the album for $11+ to get just 1 or 2 songs that I liked. And this was in 1980 dollars which means I was paying about $10 in 2009 dollars for a single and $22 for an album. Now, THAT was gouging and that led to the huge backlash against the music industry and the wide spread use of Napster, Kazaa, et. al. when technology made it possible to illegally download music.

I think $1.30 per song a la carte is a GREAT deal compared to the past. It's pathetic how so many of the younger people (not you) who grew up w/ free downloads pitch a bitch fit over Apple and Amazon charging for downloads or for daring to raise prices and stating they would rather steal the music for free instead.

Now, with virtually all music on Apple's iTunes music store being DRM free, it's an even better deal as I can easily transfer the music to all my computers, all my iPods, my PS3 and any other devices I use in the future.


Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:20 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Maybe this'll drive people from ITunes to Napster. You get, for your 99 cents, a high quality 256 kbps mp3, untethered, whether you're a member or not. And if you ARE a member, paying $12.95 a month for the regular service or $14.95 per month for unlimited streaming to an mp3 player, you can buy "track packs" of 15, 25 or 50 songs at savings of 5 to 10%. You can also buy albums in their entirety for the average price of $9.95 (with some on sale for $7.95) ... I've bought thousands of songs through Napster over the years in my work as a music critic, and have reviewed hundreds of albums each year for about $200 a year, rather than the $10,000 or so* it would have cost me to buy every album I wanted to listen to and write about.

The kicker: Napster accepts albums from artists via CD Baby, a program where an indie act can pay $50 or so to have their album promoted to the online sites. When I buy an indie artist's CD at $9.95, under the CD Baby plan 50% goes to the band, and 50% goes to CD Baby, with Napster getting a percentage off the top of CD Baby's half. So every $10 purchase gets a band $5. Not bad, considering a CD purchase at Wal-Mart for $14.95 might (after overhead) give a band 25 cents. If they're lucky.

* And before you say I'm using hyperbole here, here's how I got my $10,000 total. I REVIEW about 120 albums a year, and listen to maybe 200 NEW albums a year (I'm not counting older albums). Since napster doesn't charge me to stream most albums, I've been able to listen to probably 1,000 albums on the site that were new (I'm not counting classic albums) since joining in 2005. At $10 per album, that's $10,000 I would have had to spend to buy the albums on ITunes (aside from hearing 30 second clips). Each year I spent $179.40 for my subscription, and then bought albums / songs on the side if they were from bands that were independent and therefore unable to offer the free streaming. Not bad at all, considering ;)


Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:08 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Quote:
When I buy an indie artist's CD at $9.95, under the CD Baby plan 50% goes to the band, and 50% goes to CD Baby, with Napster getting a percentage off the top of CD Baby's half. So every $10 purchase gets a band $5.


Actually, my band sells our CD through CD baby. http://cdbaby.com/cd/freestaterevival (good chance for a plug ;) ) CD Baby is a terrific service for indie artists. They keep only 4% of money from downloads and $4 per physical CD. The band gets the rest of the money, paid weekly. I think our initial fee with CD Baby was only $35 and they take care of everything for you.

I'll be honest, I'm an illegal downloader, because I simply can't afford to sustain my music habit. In regard to movies, I've never pirated a movie... yet. Here's the interesting thing, when a band like Radiohead, for example, allows you to choose your price, via a website purchase, I've always paid some amount of money, even if it was considerably less than $9.99. But, something is better than nothing... right?

The inevitable question of how I would feel if someone was "stealing" my music can be answered thusly: People buy CDs from independent artists because they want to support the band. We sell our discs at shows for $15 each, and people are more than willing to pay it, and often pay more voluntarilly. Independent artists aren't feeling the piracy pinch the way major label acts are. This is interesting in its implication for music. Maybe piracy will lead to a purity in music that has been all but lost on the major label scene. Maybe the record company's insistance on raised prices will contribute a quicker demise and be a positive move in regard to the kind of music being produced. That wouldn't be so bad.


Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:56 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Greed is only a small part of the why we're in the situation we're in. Alot more of it has to do with stupidity and taking advantage of stupid people who desire nothing more than to live above their means. As much as I dislike iTunes hiking the price, I am a legal music downloader, and I will find another service where they don't hike the price. That's how capitalism works. It's not like iTunes has a monopoly on the music industry. If you really want something to be incensed about, try the new "sin" tax hike of over $1.50. STEALING people's hard earned money is wrong. If the companies want to raise prices, fine. But to find new and interesting ways to tax one's citizens leads down the wrong path, all because we feel the need to bail out said stupid people.


Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:59 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Brivan wrote:
I too am all for capitalism, but if we can't control our excessive greed, then there needs to be limits put in place - be it high taxes, new laws - whatever.

Brian.


High taxes does not promote capitalism. Especially not capital gains tax. In fact, what you said is pretty much the opposite of capitalism. The last thing this country needs is higher taxes and more government interference. This dependency on the government is probably even more unsettling than the raising of taxes, tho the 2 are similar. Socialism is just around the corner, and people are welcoming it with open arms, especially if they are the ones who get all the benefits of the money that is taken from people who make it. Two words: Fair Tax.


Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:07 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Quote:
I too am all for capitalism, but if we can't control our excessive greed, then there needs to be limits put in place - be it high taxes, new laws - whatever.


Excessive greed IS capitalism. The whole point is to maximize profits. This means to charge as high a price as the market will bear. In truth, "excessive" greed is good as Gordo says because it inspires competition and eventually drives down prices.

I disagree with James. Gouging is good. It maximizes net benefit because those who are being "gouged" clearly desire the item more than those who didn't pay the "gouging" price.


Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:37 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Some facts need to be added in here

1) Apple has been campaigning to get out of DRM
2) The record companies insisted that in exchange for DRM free music Apple introduce a tiered pricing policy after Apple had fought them not to increase from 99 cents

Sorry to spoil the party :-(
Rob


If you notice, I did not once blame Apple. The blame is squarely on the record companies for precisely the reason you state - they are the ones that forced Apple to raise the prices.



James

My comment was aimed at the first response re DRM, which was factually incorrect as has since been discussed. Sorry for any confusion

Rob


Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:19 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Jim, come on,..
"...there are more than three reasons, but I have limited space for this column,..."

Its your column isnt it? who is limiting it other than yourself? We'll read it if its a 5000 word piece :-)

Agree with the post, but methinks the gentleman doth protest too much... i believe Apple may have been driven to it by the studios. For me personally it does not matter... i dont have an mp3 player, No any Apple gadget, I dont buy CDs (in my life i have bought about 20). Oh yes I like music. There are enough stations in internet, FM, TV (radio stations in TV), so i can listen to music whenever/wherever i can.. and with mobile phones nowadays you can *almost* listen what you want.

But with DRM free music, if you really love a song and want to have it.. maybe that price is worth the investment - trouble is --as in Jim's post..those who are buying because they want to stay 'legal" might be tempted to go "download", because of the ease to do that...

oh well... lets not have a golden egg everyday.. lets have it all NOW!!


Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:49 pm
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
I_Am_Not_Herbert wrote:
Excessive greed IS capitalism. The whole point is to maximize profits. This means to charge as high a price as the market will bear. In truth, "excessive" greed is good as Gordo says because it inspires competition and eventually drives down prices.


Actually, no. The definition of capitalism is simply an economic system based on private ownership of capital. Excessive greed is your interpretation of what it means, and the whole point is not to maximize profits. (In a workable capitalist environment, some of that revenue has to be reinvested to avoid stagnation. If you're maximizing profits, you are not re-investing. The U.S. telecom infrastructure is in such a piss-poor state precisely because money that should have been invested in R&D was instead taken out in profit. The RBOCs will pay the price for this in the near future with huge drops in revenue from what they could have had itf they weren't so short-sighted.


Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:36 pm
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
new_xieland wrote:
I refuse to buy anything from Apple because of their DRM policies.

http://www.yearwithoutdrm.com/


Apple's been fighting the DRM policy from the beginning. Hell, Steve Jobs has gone on record to state how to get around it (burn the purchased tracks on CD, and re-rip them; doesn't work on video, though).


Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:21 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
Something else I wanted to touch on while we're at it. I know the RIAA has thrown in the towel as far as taking individuals to court over piracy of their copyrighted works, but back when this was going on, I had visions of suing them over having to pay relicensing fees every time I bought something I already owned in a different format. We've seen the progression from LPs to 8-track tapes, to cassette tapes, to CDs. If I purchased a copy of the Beatles White Album on 8-track, & some years later I decided to upgrade my copy to cassette format, guess what? I had to pay for media + licensing fees all over again. Same thing happened if I wanted to buy a copy of the LP or upgrade that to a CD a few years later.

Why is it that every time I simply wanted to upgrade the media that my licensed copyrighted media was on, I had to pay for the media plus the license to use it all over again....and again....and again? Where was the offer by the record companies to trade in my old media for new media at a reduced cost beings how I had already purchased the rights to private usage of the music?

Can you imagine the breadth of a lawsuit such as this? Same thing applies to video. Anyone's thoughts on this?

Brian.


Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:44 pm
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
A.M. wrote:
... Actually, my band sells our CD through CD baby. http://cdbaby.com/cd/freestaterevival (good chance for a plug ;) ) CD Baby is a terrific service for indie artists. They keep only 4% of money from downloads and $4 per physical CD ...


Okay, so I was mixing up the "physical CD" fee. So it's even BETTER than I'd expected when it comes to digital sales :)


Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:44 pm
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