WSJ: Possibility remains open for future Apple iTunes price changes

“Apple Computer Inc. said Monday that it has renewed its contracts with major music companies that will allow it to continue offering songs for 99 cents each through its iTunes Music Store… ‘We’ve renewed our agreements with the major music companies, and we’re pleased to continue offering iTunes customers music at 99 cents per song from a library of over three million songs,’ an Apple spokeswoman said,” Nick Wingfield and Ethan Smith report for The Wall Street Journal. “However, people in the music industry familiar with Apple’s deals said the contracts between Apple and the music companies cover wholesale pricing for songs , among other matters, and don’t specify the 99-cent retail price, leaving open the possibility of future price changes.”

Full article (free today) here.

MacDailyNews Take: The possibility remains open that the Sun will burn out in the future, too (the star: a long way off; the company: not so long a wait). If Apple has a wholesale prices contracted and they wish to keep the 99-cent per song price, then they will do so. We wouldn’t mind seeing a $1.29 ($1.49?) per song option for higher bit rates, say 192kbps or, better yet, 256kbps or higher — if the labels would allow that quality to be sold online. Give the option and many will pay extra for the higher quality; just as even dial-up users are proven to choose “high” over “low” when watching streaming video online despite the extra wait.

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Related article:
Apple inks deal with big four labels: iTunes Music Store prices stay at 99-cents per song – May 01, 2006


  1. More money for better quality.

    I’m all for that.

    Who’s going to tell the artists to produce better quality? Not The Labels. They could care less about quality. They package any crap along with one decent tune per CD.

    Oh, you mean a different quality.

  2. There’s two kinds of quality. This one is about sound quality. That’s a whole lot easier to solve than the quality of the songs themselves. That’s a whole different problem.

  3. If anything, the pricing direction should be *down*. The music companies are burdened with a near ZERO marginal cost for electronic distribution, beyond the few cents they throw the artist. It’s Apple that bears the capitol investment, marketing and support costs, not to mention risk. The music vendors should consider themselves lucky they’re getting 65%, which is well above the retail norm.

    I also would not support higher pricing for “quality” editions, as that would constitute a “wedge” to higher prices generally. As capitol and communication costs come down the quality should go up on its own without a price increase.

  4. Hey, I know this isn’t the right forum for this, but I figure it’ll get more attention here:

    Has anyone noticed something funny in the “Virus” ad from Apple’s new campaign? If you watch closely, at the point where the PC guy is stating the number of PC viruses (114,000), it seems pretty clear that the number has been changed from what the actor originally said on camera.

    Go watch it. His mouth movements don’t coincide with “114,000”.

    I wonder if the number was adjusted “up” or “down”? I know that I always thought there were more than 114,000 viruses out there for PC’s. Maybe Apple decided to go with a 100% verifiable number, so it’s a little lower than it might be.


  5. Good one, Horn Man! Welcome back!

    And the music execs reply:

    <cue Frank>

    “Don’t make me beg for your kisses,
    Beg for your tender embrace,
    I want your love, not your sympathy,
    Please don’t make a beggar of me.”

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