Major music cartels demand concessions from Apple before inking DRM-free iTunes Store music deals

For months now, there have been rumblings that Apple and the major music cartels are very close to a deal to offer DRM-free music via iTunes Store.

HypeBot reports, “Months later their is still no deal. Sources tell Hypebot that each label is looking for a different concession before they allow iTunes to drop DRM:”

• Warner Music Group wants variable pricing on the track level including some hit product above $.99 cents.

• Sony BMG wants to work with iTunes using the agency model. As it is with Rhapsody, Amazon and others, Sony BMG is the actual seller of tracks and iTunes woulc be the agent delivering them. Sony BMG’s concern is that competition will drive track prices lower and the agency model allows them to maintain complete control.

• Universal wants watermarking on the individual track purchase level. Apparently other download stores have agreed or are close to agreeing to do the same. How it will effect consumers remains unclear.

Full article here.

[Attribution: AppleInsider via All About Jazz. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

23 Comments

  1. gee, there’s no collusion going on there. they all ask for different concessions and maybe all three will get all three.

    hopefully more and more artists will be able to deal outside of a label and shut out these guys.

  2. I find it surprising that even though Apple really holds all the cards ion this negotiation, the labels think they can actually get their way here. Apple is the elephant in the room. Apple needs to stop selling the music of any one of these crooks and the others will buckle.

  3. “Sony BMG’s concern is that competition will drive track prices lower and the agency model allows them to maintain complete control.”

    So right there, Sony basically admits that they want to eliminate competition so they’re free to drive up prices. Is this not, by definition, “monopolistic” behavior – avoiding competition to keep prices high?

  4. Look, the Music Industry needs to deal with reality. If you offer DRM-free tracks in the iTunes store people will buy them. If you start putting DRM or variable pricing and other things in there (watermarks), people can easily find albums online for FREE.

  5. I’m sure glad Apple’s in control here; the labels need Apple a lot more than Apple needs them. Apple can just wait them out. (Did you see that other report that Amazon, as the clear number two, only sold 130m songs compared to iTunes’ 2.4b? That’s not even a competition!)

    If Microshaft was running the show you know that they would have caved long ago to the music cartel’s ridiculous demands and it’s us consumers who would pay the price.

  6. • Universal wants watermarking on the individual track purchase level. Apparently other download stores have agreed or are close to agreeing to do the same. How it will effect consumers remains unclear.

    Isn’t that what iTunes already does with the DRM-free selection they have? If you buy the song it is tagged with your info,so if you spread the track, they know who spread it.

  7. @Quad Core…

    I don’t think it’s the same. Watermarking actually watermarks the individual music in a way that is very difficult or next to impossible to remove. Currently, songs are “Tagged” but that tagging isn’t impossible to remove or change.

  8. @ Jake;

    That’s exactly what I’ve been doing since day one.

    I refuse to sit back and be a “good little boy, doing what I’m told to do”, because I believe that what they’re doing is wrong.

    These cartels imagine they can dictate “where” I must go to purchase music, and after all this time, I’ve managed to prove them incorrect.

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