EMI chairman says Apple’s iTunes Music Store’s single 99-cent song price doesn’t deter piracy

“EMI Group PLC Chairman Eric Nicoli Tuesday rebuffed Apple Computer Inc.’s assertion that a single price for songs sold over the Internet helps prevent piracy in the music industry,” MarketWatch reports. ‘I’m not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy,’ Nicoli said at a news conference. ‘I’m not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy. What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy.’ Nicoli was responding to comments from Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs who last month called music companies greedy for seeking higher prices for downloads and who argued that this would encourage piracy.”

Full article here.

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Liz Phair’s 5th studio album, “Somebody’s Miracle,” released October 4, 2005. Also includes bonus track, “Can’t Get Out of What I’m Into,” available exclusively on iTunes.
Try raising the price and let’s see how well that deters piracy.

Related articles:
Apple’s iTunes Music Store dominates as digital music sales more than triple – October 03, 2005
Dvorak: record companies’ biggest concern about Apple’s iTunes is clear and accountable bookkeeping – September 29, 2005
In 99-cent fight with ‘Looney iTunes’ labels, Apple CEO Jobs will get whatever Jobs wants – September 29, 2005
Warner music exec discusses decapitation strategy for Apple iTunes Music Store – September 28, 2005
Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair – September 23, 2005
Analyst: Apple has upper hand in iTunes Music Store licensing negotiations with music labels – September 23, 2005
Steve Jobs plays high-stakes poker with greedy record labels – September 22, 2005
Record labels accuse Apple CEO Jobs of ‘double standard’ as they seek to force iTunes price increase – September 21, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs to repel ‘greedy’ record companies’ demands for higher iTunes prices – September 21, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs vows to stand firm in face of ‘greedy’ record companies – September 20, 2005
NYT’s Pogue to record companies: it’d be idiotic to mess with Apple iTunes Music Store prices – August 31, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs prepares for pivotal fight on digital music prices – August 28, 2005
BusinessWeek: Apple unlikely to launch music subscription service – August 15, 2005
Record labels to push Apple for higher iTunes Music Store prices in 2006? – August 05, 2005
Study shows Apple iTunes Music Store pay-per-download model preferred over subscription service – April 11, 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


  1. More convenient and better value?

    How does one make it MORE convenient that iTMS?

    How does one make music a BETTER value by RAISING prices?

    I guess the context of the statements must be from the perspective of the music industry, NOT the consumer?

  2. <<EMI chairman says Apple’s iTunes Music Store’s single 99-cent song price doesn’t deter piracy>>

    Maybe not, but isn’t 99 cents better than zero Eric? And by overpricing CDs for all of these years, you guys did a better job of detering piracy than iTunes is doing? Geez, what a Dil…

  3. The whole point of the single price for a single song is that it makes pruchases transparent – you always know what you are paying. Albums are different because you get different numbers of songs etc, but whilst the online music market is still growing single pricing makes sense.

  4. ” ‘I’m not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy,’ Nicoli said at a news conference.

    Of course not if it’s $5 a song, but it’s 99¢, a important physcological number

    “‘I’m not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy.

    Not all of it, but the more you raise the price the more will decide upon other alternatives, and once they find something else, they aren’t coming back.

    ” What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy.”

    Those two iTunes provides, you raise the price and the value disappears. If you lower the prices on songs that are not so popular, people may be more inclined to pay for them.

    You raise prices on songs people want, they will go elsewhere and may never come back to iTMS. You don’t see a red cent.

  5. Nicoli says, “Making music… a better value will deter piracy.”

    First off, the product of music is extremely vulnerable to varied tastes and opinions… i.e. what one person considers “a value” as far as a song goes is actually worthless to some other individual. Some people like Britney Spears, others would rather gouge out their ears. Britney Spears, in terms of quality, does not have a universal value in the same way, say, a hammer or a TV would have. Better hammers are stronger and last longer; they have a tangible value. Some TVs have more features or better picture quality; they have a tangible value. No song in the world has this sort of tangible value.

    Thus, in the general sense for music as a commodity, “value” must come down to one variable: price. To increase value with price as the only variable, you have to lower the price.

    Eric Nicoli’s statements are inherently a contradiction. Lowering price doesn’t deter piracy, except for the times that prices are lowered.

    Music label double-speak. We should all be used to it by now.

  6. What most people fail to understand is that the iTMS model echoes the success of P2P – the same pricing structure is akin to a free price structure. So mentally it registers the same way, and you simply use the iTMS for all of your buying needs. Now, if they price songs all over the place, what will happen is people will use P2P for the higher priced songs, and while they are at it, will probably steal as much as they can. It would be a step backwards, to be sure.

    Most people, however, lack the ability to see this.

  7. Many would be willing to pay more for a higher quality download.
    How about 99¢ for the current 128/AAC and $1.29 for 224/AAC and $1.49 for the Apple Lossless Codec? Many Classical/Jazz fans would jump at the chance to buy higher quality stuff. A digital download to replace a CD has to be lossless.

  8. I’m surprised that more bands aren’t approaching Apple directly to sell their songs online!

    Obviously they would have to be at a level where they could produce/record a song independantly of record label backing (so there’s no big advance to repay), and find some way of advertising the song and plugging it with radio stations to promote sales (maybe a collective effort between bands here…), but at the end of the day surely a larger slice of royalties would come to them directly from Apple (with fairly transparent accounting), rather than the hope that Fony, EMpie et all throw them a crust every so often…

    They’ll say it would never work, but they said that about downloading tracks in the first place! All it would take is for a few bands to prove it can be done and the Majors will be cacking themselves….

  9. The business model for music is changing. Record companies are in the promotion and distribution business. (I read that the Looney Tunes cartoons, Bugs Bunny etc, primary purpose was to sell sheet music.) With P2P systems and artists self-promoting and alternative distribution streams, the business model must adapt. The question is what would the new model be for the record companies? Since they do not have an answer, the are struggling to maintain the status quo.

    BTW, most artists have always made more money from touring than they did from CD sales…why do you think they tour?

  10. This is bull. Prices should be going down not up. This guy tries to sound like he knows what he is talking about when all the labels were just wringing their hands and had no clue on what to do about piracy until Apple stepped into the game.

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