In his latest post on his Huffington Post blog, Island Records Urban Music president Jermaine Dupri commends Jay-Z for refusing to sell his album in single tracks on Apple’s iTunes Music store. He goes on, in a detailed rant, to explain why digital music sales sites like iTunes are disrespecting the people who create the actual music. He raises a lot of interesting questions about how the industry is adapting to (or in this case, resisting) the changes that digital, internet-based music consumers are forcing on them. According to Dupri, the consumers have too much control now, and the corporate music entities need to regain the upper hand:
More artists and producers are gonna take back control of how their art is sold because [Jay-Z’s] strategy has paid off. Maybe Hova coulda sold another 100,000 to 200,000 units by playing it iTunes’ way, but he still had the number one album last week. He STILL sold 425,000 units. Even more, he’s proven you can still sell an album without those guys.
Jay made everyone realize that iTunes taking what we give them and doing what they want with it isn’t the way it has to be. He put the light on and made other people realize, “Oh these guys are just selling our music, they ain’t making it.” If anything, WE made iTunes. It’s like how we spent $300,000 to $500,000 each on our videos and MTV and BET went ahead and built an entire video television industry off of our backs. We can’t let that happen again. These businesses exist solely because of our music. So if we as artists, producers and label executives stand up, those guys at Apple can either cooperate, or have nothing for people to buy and download on their iPods.
Apple thinks that’s never gonna happen. They think that we as the record industry will never stick together. But Universal sells one out of every three records. All it’ll take is for Warner Music to say, “You know what, I’m with you,” for us to shut ‘em down. No more iPods! They won’t have nothin’ to play on their players! We can take back the power if we’re willing to sacrifice some sales to make our point.