Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair

“The gloves are off in the battle between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the music industry over the price of downloaded songs,” Red Herring reports. “On Thursday, one of the music industry’s highest-profile executives responded publicly to Mr. Jobs’ charges, made earlier in the week, that they were ‘greedy’ when they requested a price hike for downloaded songs.”

Red Herring reports, “At an investors’ conference in New York, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said the price of downloaded songs should vary depending on the popularity of the songs and the artists. He called Apple’s across-the-board $0.99-per-song charge unfair. ‘There’s no content that I know of that does not have variable pricing,’ said Mr. Bronfman at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference. ‘Not all songs are created equal—not all time periods are created equal. We want, and will insist upon having, variable pricing.'”

Red Herring reports, “Mr. Bronfman’s remarks came in response to Mr. Jobs’ statement on Tuesday blasting the music industry for pushing for an increase in the price of downloaded music, saying their demands, if met, would serve to encourage piracy, which has eaten into the industry’s profits. ‘We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue,’ he said. ‘We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only. We have to keep thinking how we are going to monetize our product for our shareholders,’ added Mr. Bronfman. ‘We are the arms supplier in the device wars between Samsung, Sony, Apple, and others.'”

Full article here.

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110 Comments

  1. ‘Not all songs are created equal—not all time periods are created equal. We want, and will insist upon having, variable pricing.’

    Let the greed shine through those lightly veiled remarks. If they want variable pricing, then allow the 99 cents to be the maximum price and lower the prices of the older songs.

  2. Go ahead, start your crazy pricing scheme’s and LimeWire will surely become as popular as iTunes. I’ll be willing too pay the 5-finger discount for your “monetized, share holder-friendly” music!
    Are there any music fans that are music executives?
    Is Jay-Z the only artist running a label?
    Anybody who starts playing music to become a millionaire doesn’t deserve it even if the opportunity arises.

  3. Record Execs want to be able to have promotional pricing and price to market conditions. There’s nothing “evil” about that, but it drives against Apple’s heterogeneous approach to computing. $.99, each. That’s it. Simple. Apple’s approach is for the customer, not the marketer.

    MW: level, as in iTunes:leveling the field for all artists.

  4. “There’s no content that I know of that does not have variable pricing”

    There’s no business I know of where all the competitors (the record lables) are protected from actually competing by selling all their products in a distribution channel at exactly the same $0.99 price. Most would call that price fixing.

    “We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue.”

    Redpath sells sugar to the confectionary industry, but doesn’t get a share of candy sales. WAAAAHHH!

    “We are the arms supplier in the device wars between Samsung, Sony, Apple, and others.”

    No, you’re just a tool.

    I hope Apple allows more than just the iTMS to work with the iPod. It should allow ANY music store to work with the iPod. Then let the content carpet-baggers beat each other’s brains in with price wars.

  5. ‘We are the arms supplier in the device wars between Samsung, Sony, Apple, and others.

    even samsung bowed to the power of apple and gave them a hugh discount on memory chips. samsung is smart, they recogize apple as both a partner and a competitor.

  6. All songs are not equal. The good ones sell many copies the bad ones just sit on the server, unloved.

    Let them raise the song prices but refuse to distribute the ones they want more than 99c for. Simple.

  7. I say let ’em. Here’s what they do, if they want to charge $1.29 or $1.49 (or whatever) for “current songs”, then drop the price of oldies (but goodies) to .79¢ or .49¢. What difference should it make to Apple? I don’t think Steve should lose too much sleep over this. They can “flip-the-switch” and change the pricing structure overnight. People will complain for a day and then it’ll all be over, everybody’s happy and iTunes rules the world once again.

    MW= wall, as in tear down the .99¢ wall Steve.

  8. Say what you want about how “evil” these guys are for trying to make a buck on their product. But they’re simply insisting on a normal arrangement. Is there any other circumstance where the retailer even gets to say a WORD about the wholesale pricing of the product?

    This is a losing battle for Apple, and Jobs knows it. His remarks are only serving to put the public on notice that he’s not the one responsible. If he refuses to sell a higher prices, the labels will simply pull their content. No content = no iTMS = decreased iPod share and a deflating of the image of Apple as being firmly in charge.

    If he gives in, iTMS purchases will decline, and other players will gain more footing. iPod share will decrease, and the image deflates anyway.

    Dangerous drugs. Does anyone know when the contracts expire?

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