Long post ahead, you have been warned.
$1 per song is about what you pay for a CD, so i have no problem paying that for just the one or two songs I'd actually listen to on the CD if it gets me out of paying $15 for the whole CD.
someone should sue ipod, allowing 30,000 songs on some ipods is suggesting that either every user has that much or they are allowing a device to be filled with illegal things
I have one of the older 30 gig pods, and it's only about 25% full with 1500+ songs on it - nearly all of them legally purchased through iTunes or ripped from CD in my possession, with the balance ripped from CDs I had at one point and no longer have for one reason or another. What got me hooked is both the massive selection available and the actual service itself. Probably half of what I have is music I'd either never heard of or forgot about until their recommendation system pointed it out. The only real down side is the 30 second previews, but that's what youtube is for
As for the massive 80 gig drives, my brother in law has nearly filled his, with legal music at that. Keep in mind that 30,000 assumes *average* song lengths, and doesn't include podcasts, videos, photo albums, etc. In his case it is full length symphonies, personal recordings and thesis work - he's working on his doctorate in music. One sympthony can be more than an hour long and fill more than a gig by itself.
For those about to point out I could lose my music to iTunes going away, I point out that your full collections could just as easily be wiped out by fire or natural disaster; insurance covers your computer, not the data on it. A full collection of CDs is about the only true insurance, and even then good luck proving how many you had.
The middle-man argument(s) may soon disappear by bandwidth feeds -- numerous solutions exist today -- which can very easily match consumers' needs. I-Pods are no cassette players or FM walkman anymore. Even at a tiny dollar per pop, who's to prove Cyanide (formatted to compression worst than digital mastering, in fact... which is playing right now in WinAmp on my PC) delivers a mere dime directly to Metallica, a quarter to some online service(s) and the rest to Warner for packaging & manufacturing?
I'm not sure what the actual breakdown on this is, as I'm more familiar with print than music; I assume it is fairly similar. What Warner is getting money for is marketing and risk. Sure, for Metallica the risk is minimal; they could record the band reading an instruction manual and probably make money. For a new or less popular band, it can be substantial.
It costs money to support the band while they write and record songs, or an author while he writes. The publisher gives them an advance (maybe 30-50k for a book, probably more for music) and they get a contract which gives the publisher much of the proceeds from the sale of the book/album. Once the work starts selling, the publisher keeps both its share and the artist's share until the advance is paid back. After that, the publisher gets a percent of the profits and the author collects their share as royalties. The important thing to know is that (for books anyway) about 90% of everything published doesn't sell enough for the author to ever get royalties.
What this means is that the artist is getting most of their income up front, whether the work sells well or not. The publisher is taking the risk that the work doesn't sell well enough that they recoup what they paid the artist (the break even point is well below the point where the artist starts getting royalties, but not as low as you'd think). The artist benefits by 1) getting enough money to make the work to begin with and 2) getting an assured income off the work. If they attempted to self-publish, they could make substantially more money, or they could not sell enough to cover what they spent making the work. It is less risky for the publisher, as they are making the same gamble on many bands at once. Some may fail, but their bottom line isn't dependant on any one work selling well as long as enough of them don't fail to cover the ones that do.
And they really were at the spearhead of the anti-plagiarism controversy by MP3 downloads for years.
This is a pet pieve of mine. Plagarism =/= piracy. Piracy is when people copy music without paying for it. Plagarism would be someone selling copies of Metallica's work and claiming it was their own. I'm fairly sure Metallica is concerned with the first of those issues much more so than the second.