Judge rules Pink Floyd can demand songs be sold by the album onlyOne of the most beloved songs from the Pink Floyd's oeuvre is Money. You can probably hear in your head the derision in singer David Gilmour's voice as he sings, "Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash." Therefore I'm prone to believe that the band's court victory, announced on March 12, forbidding the sale of individual songs off of albums meant to be presented as whole works was, as professed, protecting artistic vision and not an effort to "make a stash."

This decision, reported in the Wall Street Journal(subscription required) could have a sharp downside for consumers, if the band prices albums by the formula "number of songs x $0.99." I'd pay much more than a buck for "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," or "Breathe," but not even a nickel for dreary tunes such as "Mother" from The Wall or the demented "The Grand Vizer's Garden Party: Part 2." from Ummagumma.

It could have another downside, as well. This could be a precedent that changes the iTunes music distribution model, which allows consumers to cherry-pick tunes from an album. Since LPs first appeared, record companies have been able to flesh out discs by popular artists with utter crap (remember "Number 9, number 9, number 9"?) leaving consumers no recourse but to buy the whole package.

This was a particular problem in the days of turntables, when one was forced to choose between getting up to move the tone arm to skip a bad tunes or stay still and endure it. The law of entropy usually won out.

I'm an addict of Rhapsody, the online music provider that allows me to pick what tunes I want to hear from the millions in its catalog. I have a song list of my favorite Floyd tunes in a play list, and I'm wondering how this could affect both my listening and its business model. Will it be "Goodbye, Blue Sky?"

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