John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

For Those About to Purchase Overpriced, Album-Only Downloads–We Salute You

andthentherewasrock.jpgAs digital music deals go, AC/DC’s with Verizon Wireless isn’t so much a fan’s road to aural riches as it is a highway to hell.

Announced this morning, the deal gives Verizon exclusive rights to sell the band’s entire back catalog through March 2008–but not in the way you might expect. Verizon is selling AC/DC’s 18-album catalog, not as wireless “over-the-air” downloads, but as straight-to-PC downloads through its V CAST service. And with the exception of one song, “You Shook Me All Night Long,” the band’s music is available only in full-album format. Oh, and Verizon’s priced the albums at $11.99 and the single as $1.99–a bit steep considering that Apple’s iTunes charges $9.99 for a typical album and $.99 for a single.

Even with AC/DC riffs as firmly embedded in the rock subconscious as they are, it’s hard to imagine fans storming V CAST to overpay for full-album digital downloads. “Who’s advising AC/DC?” asks JupiterResearch analyst David Card. “How many things are wrong with this deal?

  • Albums are overpriced–$11.99;
  • Only one single is available, everything else is album only;
  • It’s an eight-month exclusive with a phone company;
  • But that’s a U.S. phone company;
  • I’m not sure, but I don’t see any ringtones or other bundles.

… I hope they got some serious coin upfront.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work