“Five years ago, when Steve Jobs was in negotiations to sell songs on iTunes, he gave music execs a choice: Either work with me or get left in the dust,” Ben Fritz reports for Variety. “They worked with him.”

“But even though the deals may have helped save their business from piracy, many in the music industry now call it a devil’s bargain. Apple now commands more than 80% of the growing digital music market and has a huge influence on how much such music will cost,” Fritz reports.

“It’s that type of clout that makes many in the film industry nervous as Jobs and Apple negotiate to extend iTunes to feature-length films, a natural step after the store added TV shows last fall,” Fritz reports.

“Since 2001, when Apple introduced the iPod digital music player and iTunes software, followed by the iTunes Music Store, the company has undergone a radical transformation. In just five years, it has sold 1 billion songs, and since last October, 15 million TV shows and music- videos,” Fritz reports.

“As for adding movies to iTunes, Jobs personally heads up most negotiations, although VP Eddie Cue has taken up some of the slack as competing studios are wary of doing business with a member of Disney’s board,” Fritz reports.

“Studios have resisted Jobs’ initial insistence that feature films be priced at the easy-to-remember $9.99. After all, library titles are typically sold to Wal-Mart and Best Buy significantly cheaper than new releases. Studios now are trying to convince Apple to sell similar content at multiple price points, something the company has never done,” Fritz reports.

“Also complicating the deals: The studios are working out terms with a host of other distributors, including Amazon, Movielink and BitTorrent, in part to make sure that one company does not dominate. It seems that none of the studios wants to be first in making a deal with Apple. Disney would be the logical leader, but even they are cautious, fearing it will look like in-house synergy rather than a business decision,” Fritz reports.”

Full article here.

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