Pink Floyd Goes Offline Amid Albums-Vs-Singles Argument

Pink Floyd, which was fighting EMI in court to have only its full albums sold online, has now seen most of its material pulled offline anyway, after its EMI contract expired.

Billboard says the contract expired on June 30.

This doesn’t directly affect the case the band was pressing to oppose unbundling of its albums in to individual digital tracks, which we reported on in March, since now most material isn’t available in any digital form – but the band may be hard-pressed to win that right in a new label deal it is seeking…

Billboard: “Label sources say that Pink Floyd’s management was shopping the band’s entire catalog for a licensing deal about 18 months ago, asking each major to explain how it would market the band’s catalog and to make a bid.”

Truth is, as much as some few acts might oppose the deconstruction of the unit of their output from album to track, this is the model that has sustained labels in the last five years as scant bulwark against unauthorised downloading…

Any label looking for to sign Floyd to a new deal will likely demand this practice continue, not least because few online retail methods exist today for purchasing albums as single entities.

One that does is Apple’s little-used iTunes LP adjunct to iTunes Store, which provides enhanced album versions and allows rightsholders to specifiy whether tracks should only be available as part of the whole.

Russell Davies writes in this month’s Wired UK: “MP3s, Napster and iTunes have turned the natural unit of music in to the song … How long before bands decide that they