Today the Beatles came to iTunes with incredible fanfare, and in recent years long-time holdouts Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and even Metallica agreed to have their catalogs made available digitally. But many others are holding firm. Here’s a look at six of them:
The Australian hard rock gods don’t even have a greatest hits CD, so allowing their songs to be on iTunes would be a big stretch. “Maybe I’m just being old-fashioned, but this iTunes, God bless ’em, it’s going to kill music if they’re not careful,” AC/DC frontman Brian Williams told Reuters in 2008. “It’s a…monster, this thing. It just worries me. And I’m sure they’re just doing it all in the interest of making as much…cash as possible. Let’s put it this way, it’s certainly not for the…love, let’s get that out of the way, right away.”
Brooks walked away from his career near the height of his fame, so the fact he doesn’t allow iTunes to sell his catalog isn’t surprising. “They truly think that they’re saving music,” Brooks said in 2009. “My hat’s off to them. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. And until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there — with all the love in the world. That’s nothing that they haven’t heard, either.”
Kid Rock managed to score a gigantic hit in 2008 with “All Summer Long” despite the track (along with his entire major label catalog) not being on iTunes. He thinks it forced fans to buy the album, making him even more money. “I have trouble with the way iTunes says everybody’s music’s worth the same price,” Rock said earlier this year. “I don’t think that’s right, there’s music it out there that’s not worth a penny. They should be giving it away, or they should be making the artist pay people to listen to it. There’s other stuff that’s worth a little more. That’s the great thing about America, we’re not scared to pay what something’s worth.”
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Seger’s early catalog isn’t even available on CD. “We would love to have our catalogs included on iTunes,” his manger Punch Andrews told Rolling Stone in 2008. “But the record labels have chosen to disregard the provisions of their record contracts, which never contemplated this form of song licensing.” There are rumors he’s finally going to release his first four albums on CD sometime next year, but they will probably only be available in physical stores.
Def Leppard’s dispute with iTunes is more about money than artistic principles. “We signed our deal with Universal back in 1979; this obviously wasn’t part of the deal,” singer Joe Elliott told Blender in July. “Once a deal is in place that pays a royalty that we believe is fair, we’ll have music for sale on iTunes. We’re trying to be civil about it, and we’re hoping our label and ex-label work together so that our fans can buy our music online.”
The prog-metal titans aren’t exactly a singles act, so they are incredibly reluctant to allow their songs to be offered individually. Frontman Maynard Keenan has allowed music from his side-projects Puscifer and A Perfect Circle be sold through iTunes though. Tool also makes much of their income from touring, so they have little incentive to bend on the iTunes issue.