Apple denies reports of Universal's iTunes standoff

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple is denying reports that record label Universal Music Group does not plan to renew its contract to sell songs on iTunes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.



"We are still negotiating with Universal," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told the paper Monday afternoon. "Their music is still on iTunes and their not re-signing is just not true."



Citing "executives briefed on the issue," the New York Times on Monday morning reported that Universal, the world?s biggest music corporation, had notified Apple that it would not be renewing its annual contract with iTunes.



Instead, the newspaper said Universal would look to market music to Apple at will, which could allow the label to yank its songs from the iTunes service on short notice if the two sides do not agree on pricing or other terms in the future.



Apple and the major record labels have been wrestling over how much people should be charged per tune, with the iPod maker and its chief executive Steve Jobs advocating a simple 99-cents-each model while the music companies are demanding the freedom to charge different prices for certain songs and albums.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    Business 101. Use the press.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    jamezogjamezog Posts: 163member
    Yep. Seems like SJ is doing some backpedaling today. You don't see this sort of thing from Apple very often.



    I'll be interested to see how this one turns out... \



    EDIT: looks like not too many people on the market are noticing - share prices are still up on iPhone.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    I'm not sure how Universal can possibly try to apply a supply and demand method for their music. I'll pay more for a higher quality file like what is being done with iTunes +, but I don't believe any music warrants a higher price over any other music.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    I didn't get the impression that the original reports were coming from Apple (why would they?), so I don't think it's Jobs that's doing the "back peddling".
  • Reply 5 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jamezog View Post


    Yep. Seems like SJ is doing some backpedaling today. You don't see this sort of thing from Apple very often.



    Apple never said anything yesterday - the reports indicated that neither Universal or Apple had any comment. How can you backpedal from silence?
  • Reply 6 of 45
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jamezog View Post


    Yep. Seems like SJ is doing some backpedaling today. You don't see this sort of thing from Apple very often.



    What makes you think that he is backpedalling?
  • Reply 7 of 45
    technotechno Posts: 706member
    I think if Apple did leak the story it was to use the press to help put pressure on Universal. With public outcry it makes Universal look greedy and only gives Apple more leverage. If it was all done under the cover of night and we woke up with higher prices for music from Universal, who do you think would feel the brunt of the pain? Apple. And most people would complain and then either buy or steal, but it would be a done deal. Now, Apple can stand back and let Universal squirm a bit and most likely cave in.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    Universal believes that they still control the system they helped develop. Several years ago David Kessler argued that as technologies change existing providers try to defend their turf. But almost always they fail at it. A short description of how Kessler works including a diagram of the cycle can be found at http://drtaxsacto.blogspot.com/2005/...child-for.html



    If Universal wants to cut off 15% of its revenue - then so be it. In the end it probably will not pay for them.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    meelashmeelash Posts: 1,045member
    hmmm.... Interesting.....



    Universal exec is claiming that they aren't negotiating.
  • Reply 10 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    I am curious why Steve really cares if some tunes are 99 cents and some are say 125 cents or whatever. I may have missed his reasoning along the way and I am sure he has a good one. To me it seems to me no one would blame Apple if some artists cost more. We'd all know it was the label not Apple and either buy or not buy those that were priced higher. It's all about supply and demand at the end of the day. As I suggested in an earlier thread perhaps it's time for Apple Corp. to come back on line as part of Apple (which I suspect they are now) and offer artists an alternative distribution channel too.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    mugwumpmugwump Posts: 233member
    Without a contract, could Apple keep a greater share of the profits? Could Apple reduce the price of the songs? Apple needs to make a greater incentive for companies to sign year contracts with them, so Universal should be penalized or payment to them be reduced until they sign again.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    Apple does NOT make a generous margin on every sale made through the iTunes Store. The main point is to give consumers a huge amount of choice to fill up their iPods. Even so, Steve himself has said that a miniscule percentage of the average iPod contains product sold to consumers via iTunes... which means that most people have "free" (aka unpaid for music) or music they've ripped themselves from their own CD collection.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    I am curious why Steve really cares if some tunes are 99 cents and some are say 125 cents or whatever. I may have missed his reasoning along the way and I am sure he has a good one. To me it seems to me no one would blame Apple if some artists cost more. We'd all know it was the label not Apple and either buy or not buy those that were priced higher. It's all about supply and demand at the end of the day. As I suggested in an earlier thread perhaps it's time for Apple Corp. to come back on line as part of Apple (which I suspect they are now) and offer artists an alternative distribution channel too.



    I think the answer is two fold...



    ? If Apple raised the prices per Universal's demands most people would simply blame Apple because they are the vendor. Not many are going to delve into the music industries politics in order to correctly focus the blame. They are simply going to pissed off at Apple and start to hate iTunes and possibility think about not buying another iPod.



    ? There is also Jobs desire to keep things simple for the consumer. I can tell you right now how much any 128kbps DRMed song on iTS costs withhout thinking twice. No one wants to check out iTS prices and then make a decision to see who has the best deal. And Universal could up that price if it became more popular while you were deciding.
  • Reply 14 of 45
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple is denying reports that record label Universal Music Group does not plan to renew its contract to sell songs on iTunes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.



    It would have been nice if you'd link to the stories that you discuss:



    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...UGM5QPPLG1.DTL



    Given that I've seen Apple PR say things that turned out to not be true, I'm not going to take Apple at their word either.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Universal would have leaked the story, not Apple.



    This had to happen at some point. A challenge to the potential Apple hegemony. The last throw of the dice for the record companies. Should be fun.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post




    Given that I've seen Apple PR say things that turned out to not be true, I'm not going to take Apple at their word either.



    No. Really? You must have been devastated.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Apple does NOT make a generous margin on every sale made through the iTunes Store. The main point is to give consumers a huge amount of choice to fill up their iPods. Even so, Steve himself has said that a miniscule percentage of the average iPod contains product sold to consumers via iTunes... which means that most people have "free" (aka unpaid for music) or music they've ripped themselves from their own CD collection.



    You sound like that exec from Warner who called all iPod owners thieves. Just because people don't buy huge amounts of music from iTunes, it doesn't mean the remaining music is "free" (aka stolen). The majority of the iTunes content on my iPod was in fact free, the 2-3 free songs offered in the iTunes Store every week. The other 5000+ songs on my iPod were ripped from MY CD's (not borrowed or copied).



    On the major topic, if anyone leaked the story, I would guess it was Universal. I don't really see what Apple would gain from leaking it; it would sort of be like Disney World announcing that 1/3 of the park won't be open any more soon. Apple has more to lose in this case. Imagine the hit the store will take if roughly 1/3 of the selection is suddenly gone. How many iTunes gift cards are going to be sold after that? People might actually be tempted to go elsewhere for their music, maybe even try out a Zune (okay, maybe that's not very likely, but still).
  • Reply 18 of 45
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    You sound like that exec from Warner who called all iPod owners thieves. Just because people don't buy huge amounts of music from iTunes, it doesn't mean the remaining music is "free" (aka stolen). The majority of the iTunes content on my iPod was in fact free, the 2-3 free songs offered in the iTunes Store every week. The other 5000+ songs on my iPod were ripped from MY CD's (not borrowed or copied).



    I don't think that's what he meant. It's just a statement of reality, I think you are reading too much into it. Of course not everyone fills their iPod up with infringing copies of music, but there are plenty that do.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post


    No. Really? You must have been devastated.



    Um, no, but people here do put too much faith in what Apple says, particularly their denials, actually, sometimes any faith at all is too much. I think Apple PR is trying to be Orwellian, hoping that people don't remember when they said the opposite a week or two before.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ciubecca View Post


    Business 101. Use the press.



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