I think the iTunes and Amazon user agreements allow you to burn "personal copy" CDR's from your
downloads. Now you and I both know that "up-converting" from lossy low-rez files is non-ideal, but
it's a way to put download-only material on physical CD's. I'm not sure if this "personal use"
agreement covers libraries, it would be interesting to see what Amazon and Apple officials would say
if put on the spot in a public forum!
In general, I too decry the disappearance of CD-format material because the alternative download is
generally audibly lower quality, which is a step backward in my opinion.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nelson-Strauss, Brenda" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2011 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital download stats
"The only cases I know of where something is released for download-only with no ability to buy a CD
(or LP or 45-single) because none were printed, would be very-indie self-made albums and special
I'm seeing a much bigger drop off in popular music. I assume younger buyers are the most likely to
purchase MP3s and forego CDs entirely. Tom is correct that a lot of indie stuff and one-off singles
are download-only, though I wouldn't go so far as to say "very-indie." And unfortunately this is the
stuff that's the most "collectible."
This year (oops, I mean, last year) there was a definite shift - and I'm wondering if labels have a
formula - i.e., we don't expect this artists to sell over x copies, so we'll just release MP3s.
Conversely, artists who have very high sales figures are more likely to have several versions of
albums released (deluxe ed., etc.). I was just notified by a publicist that the forthcoming album
by conscious rap artist Talib Kweli will be "digital only in North America - all formats the rest of
the world." That was a huge blow as normally I would collect all of his albums. More and more of the
music I would normally purchase for the archives is not available to me since 1.) libraries can't
legally download from iTunes, Amazon, etc. and 2.) we lack the infrastructure.
Archives of African American Music and Culture
2805 E. 10th Street, Suite 180
Bloomington, IN 47408
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