"Our artists would rather not contribute to the demise of the album format"IMHO, this should probably read, 'our artists are only able to write one or two good songs, and then produce some other filler tracks, and then want to sell the whole thing as a bundled batch that costs way too much.' I mean, if I were an artist, and thought that only one or two of my tracks were worth buying, and that sales of those two tracks would necessarily result in lower net revenue, then I would resist Apple's method (of allowing album and single tracks sales for all music available on the iTunes music service).
[And, for the record, I listen to all of my music on my iPod as a full album, from beginning to end.]
The only point they make that I agree with is that "[They] can't let a distributor dictate the way our artists sell their music." Control is definitely an issue, and I can totally respect that. However, the snarky comments like the one above exemplifies the fact that the Chili Peppers and Metallica can't write a full albums worth of material for which I would pay $17.99. Commercial radio certainly agrees, because they don't play albums. If you want to blame someone for the demise of the album, blame pop stars, radio and MTV, not a distribution channel that offers you another outlet to make some extra cash.
Diametrically opposed to this is the Fischerspooner record on the iTunes service (entitled "#1") that is so good that you are penalizing yourself if you don't buy the whole record.
The bottom line is this: Apple probably needs to be more flexible, everyone wants control, and most bands can't write an hour's worth of good music. Market forces will sort this all out one way or another. Until then, I like to go direct to the artist.