Feeds

World's biggest label kneecaps iTunes store

Not so Universal any more

New hybrid storage solutions

Universal Music Group (UMG) has dealt a serious blow to Apple's music ambitions by refusing to renew its contract with the iTunes Store.

The New York Times reports that the decision not to continue the annual contract was made by UMG executives last week.

It appears likely that Universal's repertory will disappear from the online store, unless the two parties can reach a new agreement. Embarrassingly for Apple, the removal of its catalogue will mean the loss of Apple poster child U2.

Owned by French media giant Vivendi, UMG is the world's biggest record label and claims to sell one album in four. It grew through a series of mergers, acquiring Polygram, A&M, Geffen, Motown, Island, and Verve.

Further details are scant, but the Times reports that Sony BMG recently renewed its annual contract with Apple.

Music executives have chafed at being forced to sell to iTunes at the one price set by Apple. They're also wary of the "cherrypicking" model, permitting single song downloads, that's destroyed the lucrative "bundle" of the album. They're keen to see more regular, service-based models succeed, even though these offer lower per-unit returns.

The four major labels have licensed their catalogues to Omnifone's global mobile music service MusicStation, set to launch in 30 territories over the coming months. MusicStation offers unlimited downloads for £1.99 a week, and provides the labels with a more predictable income stream than single song download stores. Apple isn't the only game in town, anymore.

Last year, UMG succeeded in extracting a $1 license fee from Microsoft for every Zune player sold. It's rumoured that Nokia declined a similar arrangement. If UMG gained a similar amount from Apple, that's still only around $40m a year. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.