X Factor follows Glee's iTunes lead

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Simon Cowell has obviously been keeping one beady eye on Glee’s success in releasing show music via iTunes. Glee just recently surpassed the Beatles in achieving 75 Billboard Top 100 hits - the Beatles amassed 71 in circa 30 years, Glee has achieved its success in under 2 years.

An email has just comes through from Apple announcing that all of tonight’s live X Factor performances are available for download - for the princely sum of £0.99 each. For trial purposes I downloaded my favourite performance of the night - Aiden Grimshaw’s beautiful version of Tears for Fears’ ’Mad World’ - which is all of 2:17 minutes long. The price point is exactly the same as the Glee singles, but for me this is somewhat of a rip-off. In my recent ’The Increasing Internationalisation of Media’ posting, I suggested a price point of £0.59 as being the correct, acceptable pricing point for a single - this is 20 pence lower than the current regular price of £0.79. There are all kinds of clever Internet applications which can capture the track from the live broadcast and render it as an MP3 track for free. This is just a typical case of corporate greed taking advantage of the less savvy consumer.

At least with Glee what you get is a fully studio-recorded version with proper post-production mixing and proper mastering. All professional musicians will tell you about the key importance of mixing and mastering the recording to a high standard. For X Factor we are simply getting audio captures from the live broadcast - with audience noise etc. included. However much a fan of X Factor I might be, I am slightly put out by this sly opportunistic move by the show producers. The standout Glee tracks are performed under studio conditions - mostly with brilliant arrangements, and performed by talented professionals. Most of the X Factor output is far far below the quality of what comes out of Glee. That said, the Aiden Grimshaw track was of perfectly acceptable quality for playback - I just find the cost of the track way too high.

If software developers Rovio can take several months to produce the highly addictive game ’Angry Birds’ and sell this for £0.59 how can the music or entertainments industry justify £0.99 for re-cycled snippets of TV content? The maths of this just does not add up for the consumer.

As I said many times previously, these organisations are encouraging digital media piracy by over-charging paying customers for their content. When will they learn? It seems that it is always the regular law-abiding citizens that get ripped-off the most. The irony of watching official DVDs also - is that we the paying customers are forced to watch the FaCT copyright theft advertisement, whilst for the pirates - this element has been edited out!

Simon Cowell is a product of the old bloated Record Industry which is slowly edging itself into its own decline. These people plainly don’t understand the social media revolution, and are accelerating their own demise by their foolish greed and ignorant profiteering.

It will be interesting to see just how many people have been duped into paying good money for X Factor offcuts.

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