Feeds

iTunes price rise a cert - EMI boss

A dollar too short

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

EMI Music's chief executive Alain Levy has said that there's now a consensus that the price of hit songs will rise on digital download sites. Apple charges 99 cents per song on its iTunes Music Store regardless of the song's popularity - something that the industry is keen to change.

"There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when. There is a case for superstars to have a higher price," Levy told the Wall Street Journal.

Variable pricing will mean the cost of some, less popular songs, will come down. Apple unilaterally imposed the 99 cents per song fee by refusing - according to popular legend - to sign the terms offered by the major labels. Then it went ahead and launched the iTunes Music Store anyway, riding a Shock and Awe publicity campaign, and effectively daring the labels to pull out.

(We've been able to confirm or deny this version of events, but it's an oft-told story).

The labels and the download sites have been at loggerheads ever since. Microsoft was reported to have pulled out of negotiations entirely with the Big Four labels.

Last month a top music business lawyer called for the labels to withdraw their support from iTunes altogether.

"What if Jobs says 39 cents or 29 cents per download - what then? The industry can say, OK, we'll cut him off - very few people people buy music from digital downloads... [Jobs] will figure out another model," said attorney Ken Hertz, who represents Alanis Morrissette and other artists.

However Hertz doubted that the even if the labels wanted to withdraw from co-operating with Apple, they'd be able to carry out this threat.

"My point was that if Apple were to insist on a lower price, it is unclear whether the industry would even be in a position to 'cut Apple off,' he explained. "The industry may have no choice but to take what it can get, rather than cede the paid download business altogether", he told us today. Hertz is an advocate for flat fee collective licensing.

But there's also a seismic tension resulting from the unilateral imposition of 99 cents per song that has yet to be resolved.

Artists, represented by music publishers, take home only around 6 cents from every 99 cents sale, with recording rights holders earning around 65 cents. So the brave new world of digital distribution has perpetuated the inequities of the old model, dashing a decade of hopes. It's a complicated picture because the major labels also own the major music publishers.

But in the end, something's got to give. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.