“Two and a half years after the music business lined up behind the Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs and hailed him and his iTunes music service for breathing life into music sales, the industry’s allegiance to him has eroded sharply,” Jeff Leeds reports for The New York Times. “Jobs is now girding for a showdown with at least two of the four major record companies over the price of songs on the iTunes service.”
“If he loses, the one-price-fits-all model of 99 cents a song that iTunes has adopted could be replaced by a more complex structure that prices songs by popularity. A hot new single, for example, could sell for a $1.49, while a golden oldie could cost substantially less than 99 cents,” Leeds reports. “Jobs in the past has cast himself as a David-like innovator battling media Goliaths like Disney and Microsoft. But these days, allies and adversaries both agree, he is an 800-pound gorilla, with more clout online than Wal-Mart Stores has in the brick-and-mortar world.”
“Apple commands an estimated 75 percent of digital music sales, and roughly 80 percent of sales of MP3 players, with its iPod. While many still admire Jobs’s seeming Midas touch – iTunes quickly established a market for paid downloads after the industry wasted years on misfires – he also inspires enmity or jealousy from others in the industry, which is back in a slump after a modest rebound last year,” Leeds reports. “Jobs’s vision of simple, uniform pricing for songs and policy of limiting Apple’s music to Apple’s devices are increasingly under attack.”
Full article here.
Fight the good fight, Mr. Jobs, but, in the end it doesn’t matter if prices vary now, since enough people understand how to use iTunes Music Store (iTMS) and own iPods. Uniform pricing was very important in the beginning to simplify the mesage. The message is out now. Note that the recent iTMS Japan has varied pricing. The iTMS would survive and, in fact, continue to flourish. Still, we’d like to see how close to uniform 99-cents per track pricing Jobs can achieve; he’s got lot of leverage with the amount of iPods out already and the projections for future iPod sales. It still amazes: could the music labels be any stupider and greedier?
Record labels to push Apple for higher iTunes Music Store prices in 2006? – August 05, 2005
Record labels look to raise iTunes wholesale prices, music industry fears Apple’s market domination – March 05, 2005
Report: Apple CEO Steve Jobs ‘angered’ as music labels try to raise prices for downloads – February 28, 2005
Report: Music labels delay Euro iTunes Music Store fearing Apple domination – May 05, 2004
Greedy Big Five music labels looking to jack up iTunes songs to $2.49 each? – April 22, 2004