City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

iTunes Music Store UK feels bit empty

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Notes on a 3-song iMix submitted by a user to the Apple iTunes Music Store UK yesterday:

"iMix notes:
I thought I was going to get a whole load of music, but in fact most of my faves are on independent labels. Can you guys please sign a better independent music deal please? The Music Store needs those tunes."

Quite so. It launched; it all works seamlessly; I managed to buy a track within seconds (Sonic Youth, "100%", from Dirty, for the record); but the shelves feel rather empty due to the breakdown in talks between Apple and AIM, the Association for Independent Music (who represent the Beggars Group, Warp, Ninja Tune, V2, XL, Snapper, Gut, Ministry, Telstar amongst 700 others).

This is a real problem, reminiscent of launching a games console without a decent spread of games – no matter how good the platform, if the content isn’t there it’s going to struggle. This feels exacerbated in the UK due to the comparatively higher profile independent labels have here (25% of the market), and I would imagine much of the success of iTMS is predicated on the breadth of music therein (the ‘tail’ of the power law …). Hmm.

MediaGuardian: Welcome to music’s online future
BBC News: Europe launch for Apple’s iTunes

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