What Apple and the music labels are discussing in iTunes Store negotiations

Apple Store“With speculation regarding the negotiations between Apple and the [music] labels consuming quantities of newsprint it’s worth taking a quick look at some of the key issues,” Mark Mulligan blogs for Jupiter Research.

Dropping DRM: The most newsworthy aspect is whether Steve Jobs et al will convince the other majors to follow EMI’s lead and drop copy protection on their catalogue. It’s unlikely that they’ll get UMG, WMG and Sony BMG to echo EMI’s move, but Apple must be hopeful of gaining at least some concessions from one or more of them across at least some portion of their catalogue.

Variable Pricing: The one price fits all strategy proved an astute move for driving adoption of iTMS, by simplifying the consumer proposition. However it has now served its purpose and both Apple and the labels would benefit from a more flexible approach to pricing.

DRM Interoperability: Apple’s position is clear: they will not open up Fairplay. Is that negotiable? Perhaps, but only for something really good, like entire catalogue of remaining majors being made free of DRM.

Digital Bundles: The labels would love to see greater variation in product formats e.g. bundles of videos and tracks… There’s no reason Apple wouldn’t consider such options, indeed they’ve already started their own experimentation. In short, the digital down model doesn’t need to limit itself to trying to replicate the CD in digital form

More in the full article here.


  1. I think they are gonna keep talkin music stuff to keep our minds on that and then one day BOOM! we will wake up and there will be movie rentals…and a lot of people wondering what that boom sound was.

    MW:served, as in ‘yo, bitch’

  2. Variable Pricing Good for both Apple and Labels?

    Kinda doubt that. (made up numbers here) If labels gets, for example, 92% of each .99¢ song, they will want 97-99% of each $1.29 song.

    Labels are too greedy. Some things never change.

  3. However [the uniform 99c price] has now served its purpose and both Apple and the labels would benefit from a more flexible approach to pricing.

    *coughhorsesh*t*! Sorry, had something caught in my throat.

    What a load of crap. Let me state this in a different way. “Consumers love the single 99c price and it’s caused them to flock to the iTunes store in record numbers. Now that we have them, let’s f*** them up the a**!!”

  4. “The meetings probably start with a heated discussion of who will win American Idol. And Sanjaya’s hair.”

    And who brought the stuff……They are trying to make peace, after all. That would also explain why it is taking sooooo looong. Too many afternoon ‘trips’ to Baskin Robbins and some all-nighters at Dennys……

  5. The wind of change will blow away stale recording executives.

    Who will set this wind in motion?

    The artists who have had enough of being screwed by them Greedy bastards!

    By producing their works & selling direct via itunes.

    Just look at the killing Disney have made by doing what they have? the other studios could not sit on the fence & watch Disney mop up the market, that is why they changed their minds.

    Greedy Bastards! Keep sitting on the fence! see who will keep crawling back to you for a jolly screw**g!!!!

    Hope you end up as fodder for target practice.

  6. Jobs to Record Execs: “We want DRM-free titles.”

    Tall Man in Sunglasses Standing Just Behind Jobs: “Steve has just made an offer you can’t refuse. Cancel or Allow?”

    Record Execs: “Uh-h-h-h…”

    Tall Man in Sunglasses Standing Just Behind Jobs (edging perceptively closer): “CANCEL or ALLOW?”

    Record Execs (dejectedly): “Allow.”

    Jobs: “Thank you gentlemen. See you next year.”

  7. Hey I’ll go for variable pricing if new music is 99 cents and old songs are 50 cents. Same for albums – 5 bucks for legacy stuff.

    I can buy CDs legally from nowmusic.com (something like that) for 6 bucks so why should digital tracks be as cheap?


    1: Variable prices gives the labels the option to kill Apple by creating price confusion and eventually turning off consumers with higher prices.

    2: Low prices for some songs sends a signal that the song is no good even before the consumer has a chance to form a opinion.

    3: Pricing more popular songs higher will just force people to look elsewhere to get it free.

    4: Pricing more popular songs higher makes it easier for people to judge right away which songs are worth it. Right now a lot of people just opt for getting the whole albulm the good with the bad. This extra income is lost as more people get pickier because of the price increases.

    5: Right now the price playing field is level, everyone from independants to big time labels is viewed equally at iTMS. That will all change with variable pricing.

  9. Peter says: “Baseball scores (“How ’bout them Brewers?”)”

    If my beloved Cardinals can’t win it this year, and it doesn’t look like they will, then I would like nothing better than for the Brew Crew to stick it in the Cubbies faces.

    Sorry for the OT post. Carry on wayward sons…..

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