Are The Labels Pressuring Steve Jobs Breaking The Law?
from the haven't-we-heard-this-before? dept
The NY Times is running an article that seems to be getting plenty of attention, saying that some record labels are pressuring Steve Jobs to raise the prices of songs on iTunes. Actually, more specifically, they want him to introduce variable pricing, that would allow them to charge a lot more for hot new songs, and perhaps somewhat less for less popular songs. The article doesn't say who's doing the pressuring... but does name those who are fine with things as is, so you can figure out who they're talking about by process of elimination. Of course, this is an old story. The rumors of such complaints from within the recording industry first came out a year and a half ago and were repeated earlier this year. Either way, it doesn't seem like the labels are any closer than they were a year and a half ago to getting Steve Jobs to give in. However, a more important question is whether or not these efforts are illegal. After all, Apple is just a reseller of songs on iTunes. The record labels can charge Apple as much as they want for songs -- but they shouldn't have a say in how much Apple charges consumers for the songs. So, if they want to charge higher prices for songs, they should simply raise the prices they charge Apple -- and if Apple decides to sell those songs at a loss, raise prices or pull those songs from iTunes altogether, that should be Apple's decision. Otherwise, it certainly sounds a lot like the sort of price fixing that got the record labels in trouble a few years ago.