I-Tunes Pricing - Problems For Independent Artists?

The volume of complaining about the price changes at I-Tunes starting on April 7th is getting louder as the day approaches. Some say that a price increase for popular songs to $1.29 per song will mean fewer sales. Give me a break. People are still spending more than $5 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The real concern is I-Tunes initial idea of lowering the price of independent artists songs to 69 cents to supposedly make them sell better. Here is something to consider.

If you are dealing with I-Tunes directly (which most independent artists are not), you will receive 39 cents out of every 69 cent download. Most artists who are going through other companies to place their songs in I-Tunes will be getting approximately 30 cents. Since I-Tunes is lowering the single song price they will naturally want to lower the album price appropriately. This means you will be selling your album for $6.90. Using the same method as above, you will be receiving approximately $3 for each album sold. Considering recording cost and the amount of downloads you will have to sell to break even through I-Tunes.

So with that in front of you, let me bring up a couple of interesting points. One, I-Tunes is a store. Their job is not to promote your music but to only fulfill the orders of the people you send over to them! If you can sell downloads through your website, why are you giving up such a large percentage of the sale that you created? If you stop and think about it, isnπt this what music artists went through with Amazon when they wanted more than half of their CD sales?

Two, if your sales through I-Tunes are not generated by them but by your promotion, what are you doing to "brand" yourself online and off? What are your plans to generate more attention for your music? Promotion is the key to creating the sales you want! You must investigate where online you can promote yourself to a new audience and what different resources and tools are available and more effective than MySpace and Face Book. Then you will need to devise a plan of how to capture a new audience in your home area and how that can be used to generate other streams of income from CD/download sales, to shows that actually pay and sponsorship deals with local companies.

The problem is not with I-Tunes! They are merely a store you can choose not to put your songs in and actually make more money. The problem is in the promotion you are currently doing and the need to learn new ways to get a new fan base that will support you.

In June, I will be teaching music artists new methods of how to "brand" themselves and the "new subscription" model I am working with major artists on that will allow them and you to make a lot more money and help them move away from online store that want too much for just fulfilling an order that you created!

If you would like to move your music to a new level and especially the amount of sales you are getting, register to join us at www.MusicStrategies2009.com.

Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."

Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".

Tim Sweeney