iTunes - WP - More Artists Steer Clear of iTunes Apple's...

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DOW JONES REPRINTS This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit: www.djreprints.com . See a sample reprint in PDF format . Order a reprint of this article now . Getty Images AC/DC hasn't licensed its music to iTunes, staying with album sales, which are more profitable. August 28, 2008 More Artists Steer Clear of iTunes Apple's Online Music Store Sells Lots of Singles, But Labels Seek Higher Profits of Full Album Sales By ETHAN SMITH and NICK WINGFIELD August 28, 2008; Page B1 ITunes has been the runaway hit of the music business, selling more than five billion song downloads since it started five years ago. But a growing number of record companies are trying to steer clear of Apple Inc.'s behemoth music store, because they say selling single songs on iTunes in some cases is crimping overall music sales. Kid Rock's "Rock 'n Roll Jesus" album was kept off iTunes' virtual shelves. It has nonetheless sold 1.7 million copies in the U.S. since its release last year -- a sizable number for the depressed music industry. Sales of the album have increased in 19 of the past 22 weeks, according to Nielsen SoundScan, vaulting it to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 sales chart. After witnessing the album's performance, his label, Warner Music Group Corp.'s Atlantic Records, last week yanked an album by R&B singer Estelle from the iTunes Store, four months after it went on sale there -- and the same week that one of its songs entered the top-10-selling tracks on Apple's download service. Avoiding iTunes runs against the conventional logic of the music industry, where it's now taken as an article of faith that digital downloads will eventually replace CDs. But there is growing discomfort with the dominant role iTunes already plays: The store sells 90% or more of digital downloads in the U.S., according to people in the music industry. At the start of this year, iTunes become the largest retailer of music in the U.S., surpassing Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to research firm NPD Group Inc. Label executives, managers and artists chafe against the iTunes policy that prevents them from selling an album only. ITunes, with few exceptions, requires that songs be made available separately. Consumers strongly prefer that, though Apple also typically offers a special price for buyers who purchase all the songs on an album.
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