Thursday, August 24, 2006

no commercial potential

The entire Frank Zappa catalogue has vanished inexplicably from iTunes. It was there a few weeks ago, and now POOF! Nothing. Do you hear me? NOTHING!! Not even Hot Rats!! I don't get it. 48 albums, all gone, just like that. I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am.

One of the reasons that people find Zappa's music so inaccessible is that there is so much of it - it's practically impossible to know where to start. It makes me laugh whenever I see a 'Best Of' compilation, because there's really no such thing. You have to find your own way through the Zappa universe - a daunting task when you're standing in a record shop staring at 20 albums you've never even heard of.

The availability of practically all of his work on iTunes blew the doors to the world of FZ wide open. At last it was possible to have a real good poke around in there - comparing the many different versions of his songs and permutations of his band. For me, it was one of iTunes' greatest resources, and I can't think for the life of me why they would delete it.

You wanna know what makes this even worse? 'The Real Frank Zappa Book' contains a 'proposal for a system to replace phonograph record merchandising', written in 1983, in which he makes the following statement:

We propose to acquire the rights to digitally duplicate and store THE BEST of every record company's difficult-to-move Quality Catalogue Items [Q.C.I], store them in a central processing location, and have them accessible by phone or cable TV, directly patchable into the user's home taping appliances, with the option of direct digital-to-digital transfer...

...All accounting for royalty payments, billing to the customer, etc. would be automatic, built into the initial software for the system.

Do you see where I'm going with this? FRANK ZAPPA INVENTED iTUNES!!! WITH HIS MIND!! And now, according to their database, one of the most visionary & prolific musical artists of our time DOESN'T EVEN EXIST!!

Zappa would probably have been delightfully amused at this ironic twist of fate, but I'm not. So SCREW YOU iTunes, you'll never get another penny out of me for as long as I live. May there be SNAKES ON YOUR PLANE.


  1. No need to curse iTunes (or more accurately ITMS).

    They almost certainly didn't remove the Zappa catalogue out of spite - my guess is Gail decided she wanted more money or some licensing agreement they couldn't accept. Either that or she decided that emusic would give her more money. (Or, possibly, Ryko had a fit, but I find that less likely.)

  2. The catalogue has been pulled from emusic as well :-(

    I guess this makes it more likely that ,as you say, ITMS didn't have the final say on this decision.

    Whatever the reason, it sucks.

  3. I just checked Frank's site.
    No announcement or comment from Gail or the kids.
    WTF's going on?

  4. I was quite FREAKED OUT!

    I'm betting on Gail Zappa! There has been quite a few interesting choices made by ZFT since FZ's demise.

    One would think, that iTunes inclusion would help perpetuate FZ's legacy... at least this One would!

  5. No more Zappa on iTunes???
    The day I learned that his music was to be included on iTunes I cried tears of joy because at last his music would be given the access and exposure he never got when he was alive. At long last his music was out there for all to experience. But of course we can't have that. That would just be too much of a good thing.