Apple May Raise iTunes Prices

By Jon Newton 11/18/05

Apple's Steve Jobs may raise the cost of his already grossly over-priced digital music downloads.

"For several months now, the record industry has become more and more vocal over the issue of pricing on the iTunes Music Store," says BetaNews. "On Wednesday, the first indications of a possible variable pricing structure coming to iTunes became apparent."

The post quotes the Wall Street Journal as reporting that EMI Music ceo Alain Levy says he's spoken with Jobs over the issue. "There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure," the WSJ had Levy stating. "The issue is when there is a case for superstars to have a higher price."

Jon Newton

According to Levy, the change would probably occur within the next 12 months. "Apple's contracts with many of the record labels expire in 2006 and are currently up for negotiation," says BetaNews.

iTunes, billed as a music service, is actually a brilliantly conceived, self-funding promotional-cum-download vehicle for iPod.

At the moment, the Apple Faithful, a tiny handful compared to the vast numbers of people who log onto the p2p nets every day, pay $1 per download. However, "the record industry would like to charge more for bigger artists while dropping the price on smaller acts," says BetaNews. "Most critics view the demand as an affront to raise prices across the board, while only lowering the price on acts that very few listeners will purchase."

Every day, more and more people are ignoring iTunes, the only viable corporate online download 'service'. Rather, they're logging onto the p2p networks where instead of the paltry, cookie cutter corporate catalogues, a vast, mind-numbing range of old and new, corporate and indie, downloads are shared among hundreds of millions of people, all labelled criminals and thieves by Vivendi Universal, Warner Music, EMI Group and Sony BMG, even though nothing has been stolen.

The Big Four ignore the reality that the 'thieves' would happily pay a fair price – 20 cents say? – for each download. Most online music lovers will not, however, pay a $1 and up for files which are no more than shrunken versions of tracks that have already been bought and paid for through one or other of the billions of CDs and DVDs being marketed by Organized Music.

The labels have been ripping off their customers for decades. Now, for the first time in history, music lovers have a way of protesting. They're letting the Net and the p2p networks do their talking.

If Apple does indeed boost its prices, even the Apple Faithful may head for the p2p networks, and that may in turn force Organized Music to change its tune.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

Other MP3 stories:
Bush Administration to Sony: It's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer.
Europe Groups Demand Consumer Digital Rights
Can iTunes Resurrect Old Time TV?

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