Creativity Is What Should Count On ITunes

 In Media, Music, Technology

Cult of Mac brings news that in an interview with TIME magazine Van Morrison has made clear his intention to withdraw from the iTunes Music Store; giving us the benefit of such dubious bits of wisdom as “I’m not a download artist” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean…) to explain the curious decision – quite frankly I’d want my offerings everywhere possible in such tough times, especially when it appears that iTMS is operating in a pretty healthy way compared to offline purchasing in general.

What is interesting to me in all this is certainly not Van Morrison himself (who I only really know as a narky old curmudgeon who had the poor judgement to record something with Cliff Richard…) – no, it’s more his general attitude to iTMS in context of his portfolio on the Store.
Go look; he has a bog-standard list of albums.
And that’s it.
That’s his contribution to making iTunes work for him.
Lazy bastard.

If I was a recording artist who was working with iTMS, not only would I work bloody hard to ensure that all albums, singles and any kind of B-sides and bonus-y type stuff was available, I’d also be making sure I used the Store 100% to engage more with fans.
Get all the promo videos out there – and the “making of” videos. Podcasts of course – probably video ones. Why not “digital booklets” (that’s actually just a posh title for PDFs to be honest) of ongoing news and photos, of studio notes and tour diaries? Why not dust off old and rare material and get it out there? Look at digitising old live stuff that’s not worth pressing DVDs of, but which fans would download in a heartbeat? Documentaries, iCals, downloads of the winning entries from special fan-remix challenges? The potential is pretty much as limitless as your imagination.
Which in Van Morrison’s case would appear to be pretty bloody limited indeed.

As far as I can see if you’re not thinking of things like that then you’re a lazy dimwit who doesn’t deserve to succeed on iTMS. It’s a pretty sure sign that Van Morrison certainly should withdraw – I have no idea how far he’d be missed; probably not much so long as “Brown Eyed Girl” is still available on some oldie compilation album somewhere.
He’s as myopic as the record companies still tend to be.
Long live iTunes and all its possibilities for the creative artist.
And while we’re about it, let’s see a few more artists actually getting creative with iTunes…

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