Thursday, November 17, 2005

itunes price rise?

Apple might be about to raise the prince of downloads on itunes, after receiving huge amounts of pressure from the recording industry.

The chief executive of EMI, Alain Levy, told the Wall Street Journal: "There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when."

Really? Only two months ago Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs called the record labels "greedy" for seeking to increase the price of downloads "If the price goes up a lot, [consumers] will go back to piracy," he reckons.

But Alain Levy is adamant. "There is a case for superstars to have a higher price," he says.

This is utter nonsense. Sainsburys don't expect you to pay £100 for a pint of milk because it's more popular than haddock. You won't be able to pay full price for the next Harry Potter book, no matter how hard you try. And, shockingly, the music industry offer discounts to record stores when they bulk-buy CDs by... erm, their biggest selling artists.

The real reason for all this kerfuffle, it seems, is that record companies are jealous of Apple's success with the ipod.

Andrew Lack, the chief executive of Sony BMG, recently complained that Steve Jobs "has got two revenue streams: one from our music and one from the sale of his iPods."

"I've [only] got one revenue stream," he whined.

Which is perfectly true, as long as you don't count Sony's interests in film, TV, consumer electronics, digital cameras, mobile phones, broadcast technology and computer games.

Perhaps the record labels should spend less time and money suing their customers and arguing with Apple, and invest in new talent. That way, their profits would magically rise and we might stop thinking of them as thieving bastards.

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