Derek Sivers discusses CD Baby & iTunes Matt 20 Jun 2005

12 comments Latest by Joe

Baby Love is an LA Weekly interview with CD Baby founder and “hippie-capitalist” Derek Sivers. He discusses Steve Jobs’ goal of getting every piece of recorded music up at the iTunes store.

A month after they launched iTunes, we got a little invitation thing saying we’d like to talk to you about getting the CD Baby catalog up on the Apple iTunes music store, and I went up to Apple’s office thinking that this was going to be a meeting with, you know, a marketing guy. And then Steve Jobs himself walked out, saying, “It’s really important to us to get every piece of music ever recorded available in the iTunes Music Store.” Since we’re not talking about physical product, there’s no reason not to. There were a few other indie labels there, and he was saying to them, “Even if you have an album that’s out of print, that isn’t even worth you pressing up a thousand copies anymore, let’s just get a digital master of it and make it available to the people that want it.”

12 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Prime 20 Jun 05

CD Baby would be a fool to go along with it. Same for the other indie labels. The people who buy the majority of online music are not those purchasing 50 Cent or Mariah Carey on iTunes for a few bucks. They’re fans of quality music that are willing to pay in time, effort and money to acquire independent, interesting music. That’s something that Apple can’t have, and something the major labels don’t get.

pb 20 Jun 05

I’m not sure I understand you’re reasoning for why CD Baby would be a full to (continue) going along with it. Are you saying the music would be *too easy* to find and acquire on iTunes?

pb 20 Jun 05


james 20 Jun 05

prime - that’s such elitist bs.

Elizabeth 20 Jun 05

Yeah, Prime’s argument, as presented, makes no sense. The only way I can fill in the gaps to end up with something semi-sensibile is if s/he’s saying that because these people are willing to invest so much, that the indies would do better milking them for higher prices through physical formats thus yielding better profits.

If Jobs is right in that demand does not justify re-pressing some items, then electronic distribution would yield revenue (which likely has a high profit margin) that would otherwise not exist, significantly undermining the point I think Prime tried to make.

Michal Migurski 20 Jun 05

Prime, I disagree. I like finding strange, new or underground music, but you won’t find me rifling through the CD racks at Amoeba every weekend - I’ve got better things to do with my time. If Apple can make it easier for me to acquire music once I know what I want, then I will reward them with my money. I think it’s important that the purchase technology is a totally separate issue from *knowing what to want in the first place.* CD Baby’s job is getting the word out, Apple’s job is providing an easy way to acquire music when you know what you want. Seems like a good match.

Noah 20 Jun 05

So “fans of quality music that are willing to pay in time, effort and money to acquire independent, interesting music” should not have access to it though something as big as iTunes? What??

That’s the indie spirit! We don’t want our pure music corrupted by the mainstream. We don’t want our artists exposed to people who might buy their albums and generate revenue for labels to use for other promotions or tours and help support these bands’ ability to make their living off their art. We like our artists starving, thank you very much.

Wesley Walser 20 Jun 05

Noah and I will be heading up the “starve the artists” campaign next month in NY, we will be located right next to the virgin records building.

Darrel 21 Jun 05

When I was 19, in college, and could easily skip class for the afternoon to sit in the used CD store hunting for an obscure release, yea, then I could have agreed with Prime. But only then.

My 3-year-old likes to borrow my iPod on long car rides. The wife suggested that I fill up a playlist with some kids songs he likes. So, off to iTunes to buy some music.

The first song was there, but I had to buy the entire album to get it. Crap. Ok, second song. Damn, no preview available for it (so I didn’t know if it was the song my 3-year-old was singing). Skip that one. Next song. Hmm…not on iTunes at all. Not on Amazon. Not anywhere. Well, crap.

So, that’s what Jobs is talking about. People will buy things *if* it’s out there. There’s still this massive blind spot where the industry can’t comprehend the simple act of emailing an MP3 to apple and letting the world be able to access it.