“Music fans may have to start shelling out more to download some of the most popular songs on Apple’s iTunes digital music service, The Post has learned. The five major record labels have been in negotiations recently with Apple over pricing and other issues associated with the year-old download service, which was launched to great fanfare last April,” Tim Arango reports for The New York Post. “All five of the deals – with Universal, Sony, BMG, EMI and Warner Music – have already been signed, sources say, and the new pricing is already being rolled out for albums.”
“EMI and Sony Music, which this week launched its own download service called Sony Connect, were said to be the most aggressive on pricing. Under the terms of some of the deals, the prices for some of the most popular singles could rise to $1.25, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Songs have previously been priced at 99 cents across the board,” Arango reports. “However, Apple chief Steve Jobs stuck to his guns on his rule that artists are not allowed to only offer full albums for sale without offering singles. Some companies, especially EMI, had been pushing to allow artists to only sell albums.”
“The prices for albums – most of which have been priced at $9.99 – allow for some releases to be priced higher. For example, “Fly or Die,” the latest album from rock-rap act N.E.R.D., is currently selling for $16.99 on iTunes,” Arango reports. “Spokespersons for the major record companies declined to comment. A spokesperson for iTunes was not available for comment.” Full article here.
On a contradictory note, on April 28, 2004, barely more than a week ago, Steve Jobs said that Apple would continue to focus on the 99-cent per song model and that the vast majority of albums available on iTMS today are $9.99. Jobs sadi that he foresaw album prices going down, not up, over time. More of Jobs’ April 28th comments here.
MacDailyNews Take: Sony has the ability to hit Apple here. Think the same Sony songs will be $1.25 on Sony Connect? Too bad for Sony the cheaper songs will be in the unwanted 8-TRACK, er, ATRAC3 format. Again, iPod is the key – the more Apple sells, the stronger Apple’s position will be on all fronts of the digital music war.