iTunes Artist Holdouts Giving In

A firefighter holds the helmet of firefighter Joseph Graffagnino at his funeral Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Graffagnino was killed along with another firefighter battling a blaze over the weekend at the abandoned Deutsche Bank building next to Ground Zero.
GETTY IMAGES/Chris Hondros
Bob Seger turned the page, and Metallica finally found justice for online fans. Now, only a few remaining big-name musical acts refuse to make their songs available on Apple Computer's popular iTunes Music Store.

Analysts say the online holdouts — including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Garth Brooks, Radiohead and Kid Rock — probably can't avoid iTunes forever as fans flock to the Internet to buy music.

But the artists argue online distribution leaves them with too small a profit. And, they say, iTunes wrecks the artistic integrity of an album by allowing songs to be purchased by the track for 99 cents. Some bands, such as AC/DC have released albums on other, more flexible sites, but not iTunes.

"We've always thought certain artists put out albums that aren't meant to be compilations with 50 other artists," said Ed "Punch" Andrews, manager for both Seger and Kid Rock. "We're hoping at some point albums become important again like they were in the past 30 years."

There are other reasons bands avoid cyberspace. In some cases, various parties that own or control older music catalogs can't agree to a distribution contract. Others have avoided the Internet altogether out of piracy concerns. (Most online stores, however, use rights-management technology to protect against unauthorized distribution.)

Since record companies have realized the popularity of iTunes and other sites, many reworked contracts to give artists less money per download. Andrews said while record companies once offered artists about 30 cents for each song sold, now musicians are earning less than a dime.

Contractual issues, the fight to save full-length albums and worries about piracy have kept both Seger and Kid Rock from distributing their works online, Andrews said. Seger, however, did allow online stores to sell his new single "Wait For Me," from his upcoming September release — his first studio album in 11 years.

Seger, the legendary rocker from Michigan who entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, is considering releasing his classic 1976 album "Night Moves," but wants to make it so it only can be downloaded as an album, Andrews said.

"It's amazing how many people go there," Andrews said of iTunes. "We're hoping albums work there." Andrews said he wasn't sure if Apple eventually would allow the album to be kept intact.

An Apple spokesman declined comment.