Universal declines 2-year Apple iTunes Store deal, opts to go monthly; wants iPod, iPhone royalties


“Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, has declined to sign a long-term deal with Apple Inc.’s iTunes music store, leaving open the possibility for exclusive deals with other services, an industry source said on Sunday,; Yinka Adegoke reports for Reuters.

Adegoke reports, “Universal will continue to sell music and videos of artists including 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Black Eyed Peas via iTunes on a month-to-month basis, rather than be locked in to a two-year agreement Apple had proposed, the source said.”

“In effect, Apple will now have similar terms to those that Universal already has with the majority of its retail partners,” Adegoke reports. “Some music executives have privately expressed frustration that Apple’s dominant position may have hampered growth of the fledgling digital music market by keeping users locked within the Apple system.”

MacDailyNews Take: No iPod is required to buy and play music from iTunes Music Store. iTunes Music Store use is not required to play music on iPod. Therefore: no “lock-in.” “Lock-in” is nothing more than a fantasy for the weak-minded and/or for those who’ve been soundly-whipped in either the device and/or online content markets.

Adegoke continues, “Universal, which produces one in three albums sold in the United States, has been leading the push by music companies to demand that new technology and media partners who want to license music share in the proceeds of the new products as well. Last year Universal signed a deal with Microsoft Corp. to take a small share of sales of its digital media player, the Zune.”

Full article here.
Okay, so it took Microsoft nearly a year to stuff the channel with 1 million Zunes, so if Universal gets $1 per Zune, they made a whopping $1 million? No wonder they want a slice of Apple’s iPods and iPhones. Microsoft’s Zune is a desperate joke. It’s the WNBA of the digital media device world.*

Mediocresoft was so late, with so little, they would have signed anything because without Universal, the Zune would have been even more of a flop (if that’s even possible).

Does Sony pay Universal Pictures a royalty for every TV they sell? No. Does GE pay Universal Music a royalty for every AM/FM radio they sell? No. But, Apple is supposed to pay royalties to Universal on every iPod and iPhone sold regardless of whether any Universal content is ever even played on Apple’s devices? Why, because Apple is insanely successful? Is that why they should pay royalties where no one else does? Nonsense.

Universal is thinking like a dinosaur because they are one. They are also nuts. Universal et al. are crazy dinosaurs who, if they can’t get their act together very soon, face certain extinction.

*Boring mediocrity that real people couldn’t care less about propped up by vastly larger organizations with agendas unrelated to the product itself. Ginned-up “interest” cannot sustain failure for long.


  1. UMG is in negotiations to be sold. I believe this move is to allow any buyer the opportunity to negotiate their own deal with Apple, and has nothing to do with UMG’s desire to limit their association with iTunes.

  2. I’d like to see a list of Universal “talent.” Then I could contact those artists and tell them because your work for Universal I will not be buying any of your music.

  3. “Some music executives have privately expressed frustration that Apple’s dominant position may have hampered growth of the fledgling digital music market by keeping users locked within the Apple system.”

    Because before, there were soooo many people downloading stuff from one shop and then finding out they wouldn’t be able to play it on the brand-new device the got on christmas. Oh please, go back to dreaming but do it silently ^^

  4. Although I probably haven’t bought music from Universal in a long time, I’m personally boycotting them. They’re so greety that they don’t see the potential right in front of them. Instead of being part of the innovation, they’re part of the distraction.

    Screw U!


    What the hell gives them the right to money from iphone sales? Apple made that product, it has nothing to do with Univeral or their crappy music.

    I’m amazed at their arrogance and the idiocy of them going head to head with Jobs over this. I hope he smacks them down like the b*tches they are.

  6. Apple should walk from the table. We’ll see how long it takes for UMG to scamper back to Apple ready to wipe Jobs’s ass with their tongue for the chance to get back onto iTunes.

  7. Universal Artists:


    You’d be impressed by the list. Some of the greatest names in classical, jazz, pop, rock, rap, country… The catalogue is (unfortunately) amazing. They in fact do represent one in three artists/acts out there; from U2, to Tom Jones, to 50 Cent, to Leonard Bernstein…

    This is Universal’s leverage against Apple. It is sad that a bunch of moronic suits have such wealth of raw talent under their belt.

    Well, such is music industry. If you are a musician, you’re screwed. If you aren’t with a label, you struggle in anonymity. If you’re signed, you have a chance at fame, but better have a tube of Vaseline with you whenever entering label’s offices… In the end, from every 99 cents that joe sixpack pays for a song on iTunes, creative musician gets two or three (at most). Apple keeps its 15 and the label gets the rest (for doing exactly … – nothing!). This was reality before iTunes (and before CDs) and it is reality today. At least, with CDs and vinyl, record companies had to produce, package and distribute stuff. With iTunes, they sit on their collective arses; meanwhile, musicians travel around the country, from town to town, touring their own arses off…

    No easy way to get around the system, though.

  8. The new releases don’t represent Universals true breadth of artists…. they’ve got some big names…

    That being said, I have never bought a CD from Universal… I much prefer indie lablels… you get much more honest, real music from true, struggling musicnas who actually have to have talent to be famous, (unlike Universal’s Ashlee Simpson, for instance).

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