Soul, R&B Music Label Says iTunes Match Legitimizes Piracy

Soul, R&B Music Label Says iTunes Match Legitimizes Piracy

Apple’s new iTunes Match functionality is an incredible boon to music lovers, effortlessly matching your local music to Apple’s cloud servers, but it doesn’t happen by magic. Instead, iTunes Match is the product of numerous inked deals between Cupertino and music publishers: no deal, and iTunes Match can’t mirror tracks from that label.

So bad news, soul and R&B fans. Numero Group has just vocally drawn a line in the sand: iTunes Match legitimizes piracy, and they won’t be part of it.

Numero Group’s statement on the matter reads:

“We feel that a great risk is being taken by Apple and the major labels that have accepted the terms of this new product wholesale with not a thought beyond the 150M those so-called “big four” will probably divide and pay to their top executives. By that, we mean that laws that protect compositions and copyrights for songs are, more or less, being trampled under these agreements.”

What’s strange to me is it seems like the smallest specialty labels have the least reason to fear iTunes Match’s “legitimization” of piracy, given how few people illegally pirate forgotten soul gems, or old jazz tracks. Even if it does, surely, making pirates turn legit is what you want.

Even so, if you’ve got a bunch of Numero Group tracks in your library, don’t worry about it: iTunes Match will still let you manually upload these tracks to the cloud. Apple doesn’t need anyone’s permission for that.

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  • Tallest_Skil

    Well… yeah. It does. But at least you (the labels) are getting SOME money out of it, as opposed to nothing.

  • Yasaswy Nagavolu

    Exactly.. buck of idiots whining about everything these days.. Actually match is a huge gamble thats going to work.. initially people might have tons of songs to match but later… I guess it reduces.. and on the whole 25$ should be fine..

  • rsbell

    One more short-sighted record label to be relegated to the trash pile of history because they refuse to let go of the business model and methods of the past.

    Bye-bye, Numero.

  • davester13

    Doesn’t make a difference to actual performers or writers.  They won’t get a significant fraction of the money paid to the labels as part of iTunes Match.

  • Matt

    Insightful morons. iTunes Match is a way to actually make a profit from pirated music. It does not legalize it, it accept the presence of piracy and tries to counter it, instead of whining about not being able to buy a third limo. This situation may just be the perfect example of why the music business is ultimately doomed.

  • Mike google

    Pirates will never buy their tracks anyway!  I think it is a smart move from apple. But I do not know, how the system will work After you upgrade your music.  For example if you grab some pirated music do they automatically upgrade it, threw the year?

  • brandon

    obviously this tiny label knows how to run a business better than universal, sony, etc.

  • lwdesign1

    This is ridiculous. Yes, there may be some piracy involved with some folks, but my library contains at very least 300+ albums ripped from legally purchased CDs I’ve amassed over the years before iTunes. Some of those are soul and R&B. I’m not a proponent of piracy, but to deny iCloud abilities to everyone, including those who’ve legally bought their CDs is punishing the majority to spite the minority.

  • zzzoren

    Song can’t be matched? OK, I’ll just upload it to iCloud. No matter what, it’ll be up there for me… but if the label doesn’t let me “match” it, THEY GET NOTHING!

  • Dayne Linx

    Wow. what a bunch of Tosh! So what would I do with all the Vinyl I legally paid for with my hard earned cash and decided to rip with a USB record deck so I can have them digitally too? These guys are so short sighted and obviously thought about it for a whole 10 seconds! There is a lot of classic stuff not on iTunes. 
    Well Said Soren and Thisisasticup

  • cleversoap

    I didn’t major in business (so I may be missing something here) but I’m pretty sure when you have an opportunity to make money versus not making money you take the one that makes money.

    I’m a skinny jeans indy fanatic of all genres; I recognise the jaded attitude towards the big labels from Numero’s statement right off the bat. This isn’t fighting for the little guy though, consumers won’t be impacted in any way other than waiting for Numero’s songs to manually upload to iCloud. Apple won’t be impacted, if anything Numero is saving them money. Money that could be Numero’s.
    I suggest Numero start looking out for Numero uno and not their street cred. Which is where they’ll be living soon if they keep this nonsense up.

  • Redefiler

    Unfortunately John is clueless about this (as are many here). 

    Apple has given no details to indie and smaller labels on how exactly this $25 annual charge will be split between Apple and content providers.  There are only rumors that the big labels are getting a $150M payout each, plus whatever cut of this annual fee. In this scheme, at best, Pandora pays better for royalties off internet plays than iTunes Match ever could, and that doesn’t add up to much if you know anything about the music biz.   Plus since your friend payed $25 once, he now has a nice quality version forever to copy where ever.  I’m not sure Apple would like it if I were to sell a copy of FCP, Logic, iWork & iLife to anyone for $25, providing they had any previous version on their machine from anywhere.

    For small labels and indie artists, this is a disaster.  Instead of trying to drive fans towards the iTunes store to purchase content and maybe make up to 70 cents off every dollar, Apple has given a green light to anybody with files on their machine to download everything for $25.  It translates into fractions of a penny annually for anybody but a few big artists and labels.  Also not common knowledge, there are sales thresholds for payouts for sales to artists from Apple, this scheme places most that well below.  It also kills any incentive for people to buy music from iTunes or for artists to direct them there.

    It’s very likely that iTunes Match will die on the vine before launch.  It’s a legal minefield for Apple, and for all intensive purposes seems very poorly thought out.  Sure its popular with the grab-n-dash music pirate crowd and their sympathizers who want to believe in some big RIAA boogeyman, and a few big labels with disappointing and declining sales would really like that $150M shot in the arm, but the resulting lawsuits from artists will all but shut this service down before it begins.  Apple doesn’t make many, but this was a bad move and very poorly thought out, won’t be the first announced feature Apple has pulled last minute.

  • Robert Pruitt

    I wouldn’t say it legitimizes piracy but offers some repentance to piraters.  I don’t need the service but will sign just to give a little back to the music industry, who are obviously starving.  

  • imajoebob

    yes, my ability to backup pirated music to iCloud will make me pirate even more music.  And it makes the pirated copy in my actual iTunes library legitimate.

    While there is some logic to their argument, that some pirates may consider their copies to now be legal, both ideas are equally wrong.  Numero Group is killing themselves for no valid reason.  This is a win-win, no matter how they feel about “abetting” pirates.  They will get a small royalty from Apple they would otherwise never see, and if they believe that Apple is actually enabling or assisting pirates they can get a court to order Apple to reveal the data about every track they back, allowing Numero Group to collect identifiable pirate copy owner information.

  • Alexandre Costa

    Too bad for them. People will continue to pirate their music ‘unlegitemately’. At least with iTunes Match some cash would return. It sounds like a ‘moral’ statement, rather than a pragmatic move.

  • Alexandre Costa

    The incentive to buy at iTMS remains the same: easyness. Pirating music needs to cease being convenient. As Jonh Gruber said once: there’s just one thing to compete with free, and it is simple.
    This move from Apple makes nothing turn into something. It seems little money? As any child starting to learn arithmethics knows it, something is more than nothing…
    Ok, say you want a world without iTunes Match. People will torrent your music out of your s…

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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