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Sunday, August 28, 2005 

Apple and the major labels headed for a showdown over iTMS pricing

It’s no secret that a few of the major labels have been feeling a little, uh, antsy about the price Apple charges for downloads at the iTunes Music Store letting Apple sell music, they’ve been making noise for months now about how they feel like they’re getting a raw deal, and the New York Times reports that at least two of the biggies are headed for a showdown with Steve and co. No label is definitely pulling out or anything, at least not yet, but apparently the labels are putting pressure on Apple to loosen up the pricing structure and let them charge more for new hit songs and less for cuts from the back catalog. Oh, and they’re also annoyed that Apple won’t open up and let other manufacturers license its FairPlay DRM or allow the iPod to play DRM’d downloads from other online shops (either move would probably broaden the customer base for downloads).

We totally get why the labels might want to have the flexibility to charge more for some songs and less for others (basic supply and demand), but they already get about 70 cents of every 99 cent iTMS download and so jacking up the price of new music would probably be one of those smooth moves that merely results in plenty of customers returning to P2P services where they can get the same music for free (and without all that DRM nastiness).