Image Credit: Janet Mayer/PR Photos; Solarpix/PR PhotosMetallica were the first to cave, in mid-2006. In November of 2007, Led Zeppelin followed; in June 2008, Radiohead finally said OK, computer. And yesterday, of course, was the day the Beatles pledged “I Will” to iTunes.
But there are, famously, a few very firm holdouts–artists who refuse to parcel their music for the digital marketplace. Below, the main players, and the reasons they’ve given:
AC/DC: Two years ago, Angus Young explained to the New York Times that they could not abide breaking up their albums for individual track sales: “It’s like an artist who does a painting. If he thinks it’s a great piece of work, he protects it. It’s the same thing: this is our work.”
That same month, frontman Brian Johnson told Reuters, “”Maybe I’m just being old-fashioned, but this iTunes, God bless ’em, it’s going to kill music if they’re not careful … It’s a…monster, this thing. It just worries me. And I’m sure they’re just doing it all in the interest of making as much…cash as possible. Let’s put it this way, it’s certainly not for the…love, let’s get that out of the way, right away.” (Walmart, however, is all about the love.)
Garth Brooks: Last year, the semi-retired country superstar told writer Lisa L. Rollins, These [Apple] guys are sweet guys, but they’re businessmen, so they understand. … They truly think that they’re saving music. My hat’s off to them. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. And until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only [downloads], then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there—with all the love in the world. That’s nothing that they haven’t heard, either.”
Kid Rock: In a 2008 EW feature, he said ”I just don’t like being told what to do. I don’t have a beef with Apple, or iTunes, or any of them. I do have a beef with that it seems kind of socialist of them to charge the same price for every song. What if every car cost $4,000, you know what I mean? A song from my neighbor’s garage band is not the same value as Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run.’ I just want to decide how my product gets sold with the people who sell it.” (Kid’s rep confirmed to us today that his views have not changed.)
Also still unavailable: The Smiths (aside from their greatest hits, and a few soundtrack one-offs), Tool, Def Leppard, Bob Seger, and the bulk of the Black Sabbath and Frank Zappa catalogs. (iTunes declined to comment for this article.)
Tell us, readers—are these artists hurt by their absence, or is their integrity worth its weight in iBucks? Is the notion of that integrity misplaced? And are fans genuinely affected by the lack of digital availability, or is uploading physical discs into an online library merely a brief chore for a rainy day? Let us know in the comments section below.
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