VERLYN KLINKENBORG of the NY Times hopes iTunes can remain independent from the machinations of the major labels:
- This new innovation is almost certainly going to set off a surge of new buying. Some of us will be filling in the CD-size gaps in our collections, but a lot of us will be going back and buying only individual songs. Why buy all of “Wheels of Fire” when you can buy “Crossroads” for 99 cents?
In its all-out war against file swapping, the recording industry has done itself a lot of damage. It has alienated its ideal audience – young people who live and breathe music – by being way behind the technological curve and by repeatedly sounding as if its main job was law enforcement rather than selling music. You don’t have to be a 19-year-old college student to sense that there’s something indecent in the concentration of the recording industry over the past decade and in the homogenization of its products.
Once the iTunes Music Store starts selling CD’s from small, independent labels, it stands a fair chance of increasing competition for the giant labels. The question is whether the giants will know a good thing when they see it and whether they can keep themselves from pressuring Apple to limit its music listings, as well as the freedom of consumers to copy what they download. The success of this service will ultimately depend on keeping it as independent as possible, serving music listeners, for once, instead of only the needs of the recording industry.
And as to his question about Wheels of Fire: the answer is “White Room,” “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Spoonful” and “Toad.”