Ex-Floyd manager: iTunes an album sales ‘disaster’

One time manager of Pink Floyd, Sincere Management’s Pete Jenner slammed iTunes for its effect on album sales at a UK music industry event this week.

Speaking at a MusicTank conference, he said Apple’s music store has “had the disastrous effect on the record industry of debundling the album.” He complained cherry-picking tracks from albums means consumers now “buy the two album tracks that are worth buying,” Music Week informs.

Other acts Jenner has managed include, but are no means confined to: Syd Barret, Roy Harper, Marc Bolan, The Clash, Billy Brag, Ian Drury, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and many more.

Simon Wheeler, digital chieftain of mighty indie label, Beggars Group also criticised Apple’s service. “iTunes set a level that took power out of rights holders. Whether it’s right or not, it has set the price for a la carte downloads,” he said.

Jenner’s voice, incidentally, can be heard at the start of Pink Floyd’s 1967 “Astronomy Domine”, the opening track on the album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

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30 thoughts on “Ex-Floyd manager: iTunes an album sales ‘disaster’

  1. BP

    I recommend that everyone make a personal note not to ever download anymore floyd albums from iTunes, but to use bit torrent instead. It’s cheaper that way, and I think pink has enough money by now. Great band, but the recent albums?

  2. Jonny Post author

    Hello BP: Well, I’m not sure I recommend downloading all Floyd’s tracks off of Bittorrent just cos of what their ex-manager has to say. I would say that I spoke with Jenner a few years back – he’s a very charming man, and he has a good outlook for digital music. I’m not sure I agree with him here, of course – fact is that selling two tracks legally is still better than seeing all of them stolen, so support the legal alternative.
    Also I don’t think music fans are ready to be forced into album downloads without a choice – right now it’s got to be about helping honest people stay that way, then it is the band/industry job to convince people who like a band enough to buy one track to buy more by the band.
    I don’t know, as we say in our about page, we’re pro-artist and pro-consumer, realistically all companies involved – including Apple and the labels – need to focus on enabling the relationships between artist and fan,
    Anyway, enough of my blather.

  3. Hair

    “He complained cherry-picking tracks from albums means consumers now “buy the two album tracks that are worth buying,””

    That sucks…oh wait, I’m a consumer not someone trying to get rich on other people’s artistic work.

    Seriously, if there was ever a band where the album sell would be worth it, Pink Floyd is it. However, even then, people know to buy the whole experience of the album, or may in fact only like one or two songs.

    Show me a band with a significant number of successful albums that hasn’t released a greatest hits album. Even Pink Floyd has *several* greatest hits or compilation albums.

    Sorry, but the days of paying $15+ for one or two songs is long since over. Get used to it.

  4. Michael

    Hey Pete,
    It just sucks when the gig is up, eh?
    The Goliath is dead. No longer do we have to buy loads of crappy songs (i.e. ‘not worth buying!) just to get one or two goods ones that are stuck on an over priced ‘album'(code word for: tons of money for us music industry lushes).

    You had a good run, now let the consumer have a good run. Sell the songs for a reasonable price and you’ll make more money. Keep associated with the music gestapo cartel, and all you’ll do is piss off your real customers.

    The Internet is here. You don’t need the music cartels to distribute your music anymore. So sad for them.

    Get over it. Think of some other industry you can dominate and take advantage of customers so you can horde money.

    Regards.

  5. Solo500

    If the work is exciting, the fans will actually go out of their way to collect every last crumb by the artist.

    iTunes? Are you kidding? DRM free ONLY, please.

  6. Joe

    When Gilmour complains I’ll listen.
    What;s more, when I have bought Floyd from iTunes, I have bought the whole album. As much as I like Dark Side I hated “Money” but bought the whole thing anyway. Bought “Wish You Were Here” in its entirety. But there are a few of their albums where I do cherry pick.
    He may be a charming guy, but I think he is wrong here. In addition, I believe if you look on iTunes many of their songs are “album only” so you MUST buy the album.
    Love the Floyd, always have, but this is silly.
    Miss ya Rick –

  7. Anthony

    With just that little quote taken out of context here it is hard to get at exactly what Pete’s point was and what his take on it is. It seems generally accepted that he is “slamming iTunes”, however you could interpret what he is saying quite differently.

    Was he “Complaining” that people have the right to only buy the songs that are worth buying? Or was he being sarcastic? If he was serious why would he say anything to suggest that only two of the tracks are ‘worth buying’ – that in itself suggests that he didn’t think the album was ‘worth buying.’

  8. Jonny Post author

    Anthony – know what, I’ll try to ask him,
    Peter, if you’re out there and still have a number for me, do try to drop me a line, otherwise, chat with Sam aim, he can put you in contact. I’d be interested to let you say what you really think – and to publish it here..

  9. E.J.

    If every album was as worthwhile as ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, then iTunes might bear some responsibility. However, when most albums are trash wrappers for one or two decent songs, iTunes is just letting consumers express how they feel.

    If you want to sell albums, create an album full of songs worth having. If I hear from a trusted source that a particular album experience is worthwhile, I’ll but it, but I doubt there are any truly great albums that haven’t sold because of iTunes.

  10. Scottm

    I don’t see what the big deal is. Buy the whole album if you think it’s worth it. Pink Floyd’s classics are. But the contemporary music they release today (Pop Hits) aren’t made to be listened to in album format. They’re just endless singles hoping for a #1 hit song. So, buy the album that is designed to be heard as a whole, buy the pop you want as a single, why the big deal? And if you don’t want all of Dark Side of the Moon, but one song and miss out on the whole experience. Freedom.

  11. Ace Deuce

    So far, my music purchases from iTunes have consisted of whole albums only, but I think that it is best that individual songs be available separately. I don’t think we as consumers owe anything to the “record industry.” To the artists, yes.

    “He complained cherry-picking tracks from albums means consumers now ‘buy the two album tracks that are worth buying,'” Uh, that’s ridiculous. Consumers are mostly buying what they happen to have heard and liked, which obviously accumulates to what is popular. Personally, I find the most popular music is often boring and unimaginative, so such tracks are the opposite of “worth buying” to me.

    Finally, if an artist feels an album must be consumed as a whole work of art, it could be sold as one track, albeit very cheaply. But even classical music suites and symphonies are generally sold as individual movements on iTunes, because they’re worth buying as a collection and belong together artistically. A good coherent pop or rock album will sell itself as a unit just as well.

  12. Balazs

    Anyone who buys individual tracks from a Pink Floyd album is a lunatic. PF albums have to be listened from the beginning of the first track to the end of the last one.
    I use iTunes only to cherry pick from artists who cannot make a decent album that is worth buying.
    Since every single Pink Floyd album is a masterpiece, cherry picking tracks from them is non-sense.

  13. Scott

    It use to be that a consumer could purchase a single + the “B side” at there favorite record store for less than $1.00. This format was known as the 45 RPM. What is the difference to what iTunes is doing?

  14. Scott

    It use to be that a consumer could purchase a single + the “B side” at their favorite record store for less than $1.00. This format was known as the 45 RPM. What is the difference to what iTunes is doing?

  15. Marc

    He just voided his argument with this one sentence: He complained cherry-picking tracks from albums means consumers now “buy the two album tracks that are worth buying.” Well then, I suppose the artists and their managers/producers/distributors should work harder on putting together full albums that people want opposed to one or two songs.

  16. James Robinson

    A bald-faced argument for extortion. How novel.

    Mr. Brenner: If you want more than two tracks downloaded from each album, release albums with more than two tracks worth downloading. If you don’t want two tracks to be vastly more popular, don’t violate the sanctity of your precious album by releasing radio and video singles. Make the DJs play the whole thing, front to back.

    The hubris is just baffling. Is this one song the one that your band has to learn for the bride and groom dance? Tough. Buy the album. Is this the song that you and your girlfriend first kissed to, and you want it as the soundtrack to an iMovie? Tough, buy the album. Is this the song whose video you saw on MTV? Tough, buy the album. Is this the one track that was recommended to you by a friend even though you don’t like the band? Tough, buy the album. Are you pinching pennies in this rough economy, but you still want to support the band as you are able? Tough, buy the album. How petty. How pathetic.

    It’s a real glimpse into the mindset of the music industry that they feel they have every right in the world to charge album prices for singles.

  17. Kyle

    The business model he decries IS the current business model, just as the album WAS the business album at Floyd’s height of fame. Who want’s the crappy tracks when they can pick the ones they want? I can’t tell you how many albums I bought for a song or two only to find out the rest were utter garbage. The music industry sucked the public dry for years and lined the pockets of executives while artists got taken to the cleaners, most ending up with nothing. Smart artists are now marketing directly to the public. Screw the music “industry.” When did artists make money off of their albums anyway?

  18. dahveed

    Yes, he was happier when the consumers were forced to purchase an entire album to get the 2 good tracks and skip over the 10 crappy ones. I guess he would like to have to purchase a 12 pack of beer, and have to drink all of them to find the 2 that were actually good. I guess if I was only capable in producing 1 in 6 quality products I would like it if my customers were forced to my my lesser efforts too. Unfortunately for me, no one buys my poorer efforts and I have to provide a warranty as well…

  19. dave

    Let’s leave Floyd out of this…utilizing their name in the headline is sensationalistic. Jenner managed the band for about a year or so, when they 1st started. He had no faith in them once they removed Syd from duty. PF has nothing to do with his comments today!

  20. droe

    Hay Pete remember the 45 or are you to young for that. Was that cherry picking, think not. Consumers have the right not to pay for junk. Most of my Itunes purchases are singles because most of the albums are filled with junk and why should I pay for junk.

  21. Jonny Post author

    One thing I believe is that artists should be paid. Mr Jenner fights to ensure his artists are. We need people like Mr Jenner to not think everyone on the internet hates people who try to get artists paid. He is not a record label that continues to include breakages elements on digital contracts. So why not convince him why he may have only half the truth with some good arguments, rather than being horrible to the guy? Surely our musicians are worth a positive debate with?

  22. Michael

    Some of you need to grow up. “I’ll never buy another Pink Floyd album..waaaaa”

    Puhlease.

    Floyd isn’t like most bands in that they aim for the complete album experience. DSM or Wish are mean to be heard as 1 large story.

    The fault I see in Jenner’s remark isn’t with iTunes, its with the industry as a whole. The days of the mega=star are over. The U2’s, Madonna’s, Pink Floyd’s are gone…replaced by one hit wonders. Thats what the labels want, thats what they are getting….the irony is iTunes allows you to and pick up the radio single for said artist and leave the rest out….where traditionally you were kinda stuck with al of it and the label made 15 on you for basically 1 track.

    I think iTunes does it right by offering a dicsount on grabbing the entire album together, but the music climate doesn’t favor albums like it does singles.

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  24. Hello I'm Paul

    What kind of moron uses itunes?! There’s Piratebay.org, isohunt.com, and btjunkie.org that have millions of free torrents unlike that Bittorrent bullshit where you have to pay.

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