Steve Jobs Wasn't Lying When He Said $1 Per Song Price Would Stay

from the don't-mess-with-Jobs dept

It's the story that just won't die. Two years ago, the record labels started making noises about how they wanted variable pricing for songs on iTunes. Steve Jobs immediately made it clear that Apple wasn't interested. A year ago, the same story popped up and again, Apple said it was news to them. Last summer, the labels started saying it again, leading to Steve Jobs to flat out call them "greedy." Meanwhile, many of us were wondering how these statements weren't the equivalent of price fixing. Just a few years ago, the labels all got in trouble for telling retailers how much CDs should cost -- which is illegal price fixing. It appears the labels (even post-fine) don't seem to get this. They also don't seem to get that Steve Jobs is serious about keeping the price at a dollar. Just as the original iTunes contracts are set to expire, the labels who were all confident that Jobs would back down and allow variable pricing are suddenly discovering he's not budging at all. In fact, they're finally starting to recognize that for all their bluster, Steve Jobs is the one who has the power in this relationship -- as none seem willing to actually pull their songs off of iTunes. Of course, some of the execs continue to be totally clueless. The article quotes one unnamed music exec who is upset that the labels didn't "stand up to Jobs." He then says: "Where in life does the retailer set the price of the content?" Isn't that exactly what the lawsuit and the fine in 2002 were all about? The labels can wholesale their music at whatever price they want -- and then Apple (the retailer) can do whatever it wants in response -- just as record stores get to set the retail price for the CDs they sell. If the labels are so upset, then why don't they set their own variable pricing and see what Apple does in response?

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  1. identicon
    Dave Reed, 21 Apr 2006 @ 1:04pm

    milking a dead cow

    I've finally become convinced the record company execs AREN'T that brain-dead. They may not completely "get the internet" but Napster, and itunes and etc are too loud to ignore. They must see the writing on the wall.

    When the dust clears, there won't be record companies or record company execs. These guys are simply trying to squeeze the last drops of money out of the system. They'll keep suing customers (which they figure they are going to loose, anyway) until it stops working. Then they'll sue the artists (who are jumping ship like rats from a doomed ship). Heck, they'll probably sue Walmart before the show is over.

    That's the real problem. For them, the show is ALMOST over. It's sad to see 'em thrash around like that.

    If the RIAA was a horse, I'd shoot it.

    Just my 2 cents, wait 20 years and see if I was right.

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