Universal recruits enemies for Total war on iTunes
My enemies' enemy is an even bigger enemy, which makes my enemies my friends
Universal Music chief Doug Morris is reportedly aiming to join forces with Sony BMG and Warner to topple the iTunes store.
OK, we've heard this war chant end in wails of disappointment before — its practically a blueprint for epic failure — but can Apple keep the barbarians at the gate forever?
It's no secret the labels are less than thrilled with Apple's vice on the online music industry. Universal, which allied itself with Jobs and company from the start of the iTunes vendor, has broken ties. Something might have to give.
According to a report in the online edition of BusinessWeek, unnamed music industry insiders say a secret label cabal is fixing to provide a free music service called Total Music.
Morris' plan would be to charge portable media player vendors (yes, vendors) a $5 monthly subscription fee per unit to carry the service. Customers would then be given "free" access to the music.
The trouble, obviously, is getting music player manufacturers to swallow that pill. Newsweek cites insiders who believe service would cost vendors about $90 over the life of the product, assuming customers upgrade every 18 months.
Morris reportedly has already enlisted Sony BMG Music Entertainment as a partner, and is in talks with Warner Music Group.
Ah, but what about DRM? Details are shady. On one hand, labels will already pocketing cash through the subscription fees. Universal has also been willing to dabble in DRM-free music lately. On the other, subscription services aren't known for being loose with DRM.
Still, free music eh? But it's ultimately not the consumers who'll be the hard sell.
The full article is here ®
Even More paranoid
Ned, I am with you 110%. The extra ten is that I use a freeware utility to rip my CDs to MP3 before adding them to my iTunes library. I guess the chances of the next iTunes update adding some sort of cripple-ware are quite small but in the end only the paranoid survive.
How is this 'free'?
If the manufacturers will be charged $90 per device assuming a life of 1 1/2 years, they're going to pass it over to the consumer and increase the price of the device to cover it. And since I don't spend that much on music, I'll stick to what I have, thanks.
The new music player you buy for $150.- may come with a 1 year subscription for "free" music. When the year is up, the music industry offers you an extension to your subscription for say, $12.99 a month.
So as a consumer, you make the decision, do I spend the cash for an extended subscription, a year of which will cost me $155.88, or do I buy a brand spanking new player for $150.-? with a year of music!
Either way, someone wins. The music industry gets its yearly payment for music, and the price disparity in music subscriptions drives the hardware sales.
Only loser seems to be the person who already owns a lot of music, who pays double.