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Apple iTunes to End Flat Fee Pricing?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the under-pressure-is-not-just-a-queen-song dept.

Music 556

MdntToker writes "According the Forbes, EMI has an understanding with Apple that flat fee pricing will end within the next 12 months, and more popular songs will be priced higher than 99c, while lesser known acts will be priced lower than 99c." From the article: "Label executives have made multiple arguments for flexible pricing. They argue, for instance, that almost all retail businesses have different price points for different products. But they are particularly interested in boosting their revenue from digital music sales, which aided by the sale of mobile phone ringtones, are increasing but not quickly enough to replace the continuing drops in compact disc sales. EMI said today that digital sales, made up 4.9% of the company's sales in the last six months, up from 2.1% a year ago." We've previously reported on this story.

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The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (5, Insightful)

erick99 (743982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055597)

I take it that this will translate into the vast majority of what is downloaded being above ninety-nine cents; otherwise, I don't see why they would bother with "flexible pricing." I know this is cynical - but I suspect that this is intended to be flexible mostly in an upward direction . . .

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055628)

I have absolutely no interest at all in "new music", but if they can get the classic stuff I do like out at say, a nickel a song I might be persuaded to buy. If of course it isn't crippled with DRM.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055707)

It won't be a nickel a song. The "new hits" will probably be ~$2.00, while the old songs and songs from lesser known artists will drop to about $.98. And, of course, it will have DRM.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055715)

The music from ITMS is DRM encumbered, but the DRM is relatively permissive. You can listen to the music on up to 5 computers, burn it to a CD, and transfer it to an iPod. Of course the disadvantage is that it locks you into an iPod, but then again, the reason Apple created ITMS was to sell iPods.

I believe the DRM can be stripped out, but since I got an iPod as a graduation gift I haven't been inclined to try.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (2, Informative)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055727)

Never bought 'em. Never will.

Got a nano as a gift. It's full of my own MP3's. iTunes doesn't even have my Ornette Coleman or Rasahn Roland Kirk stuff. There's a bunch of old releases by the Move and Traffic I can't get here either.

Guess I'm just not a sizeable market. Cry me a river!

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (1)

gdeciantis (570658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055639)

Economic principle says that pricey are sticky downward. Once they go up they don't really fall.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (2, Insightful)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055836)

What sort of prinicple is that? The same principle that explains why cell phone calls have dropped dramatically? I would suggest that economic principle says that the functioning of the market decides to what extent prices are set at marginal costs (i.e. the optimal price in a perfect market). In this particular instance, I assume that competition is less than perfect for any number of reasons, but "sticky downward" really has nothing to do with it.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (5, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055648)

Not necessarily; profit is one of those microeconomics things that is a curve. If you're on the top half of the curve for a specific product, lowering the price of a product will increase profits because volume goes up faster than unit-profit goes down.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (-1, Troll)

snarkh (118018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055852)

Not necessarily; profit is one of those microeconomics things that is a curve. If you're on the top half of the curve for a specific product, lowering the price of a product will increase profits because volume goes up faster than unit-profit goes down.


Yeah, right. Keep dreaming.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (2, Interesting)

dots and loops (448641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055685)

If Apple were actually able to leverage lower pricing on lesser-known artists, it might benefit many users. Most of what I download is not consdered "popular music."

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055686)

Like every other blog commenter on the web, I'll say screw Apple - they are shooting themselves in the foot. Of course, so are the labels for that matter (or at least EMI). There are enough other places to acquire music, plus I abhor most of the tripe the labels are pushing these days anyways.

Too bad - I like Jazz so Blue Note gets a fair amount of my money. Not anymore... that'll go to used CD stores now, to take away a fresh copy from their sales.

EMI Group? Current share price: USD224.92 (from their web page). Future share price! The toilet. Short em now. For that matter, short Apple now, IMHO.

Re:The "Flexible" Elevator - Going Up? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055699)

Kind of like an adjustable rate mortgage.

Going down (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055772)

I like ITMS - a lot. But if songs start rising in price I will simply use AllOfMP3.com any time I consider a price to be unreasonable, possibly dropping ITMS altogether if variable pricing gets too crazy.

What I see happening is the EMI song sales on ITMS start dropping substantially.

What I would do if I were Apple is tell EMI they would be happy to drop thier music altogether. Apple can only do that to a certain extent of course as ITMS wouldn't hold up well with no major label support (or, perhaps it will would with indie stuff? Hard to say) but record companies are getting a fair amount of money out of ITMS and I think being cut out cold might have a few exec heads rolling at the loss of many milllions in recurring revenue, and probably some arsists chafing to drop the label. Record labels can only afford so much heat and if new acts wont sign with you because you're not on ITMS then it could affect the bottom line substantially.

The "Possible" Elevator - Going Nowhere? (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055812)

Yeah, but is anything really going to happen?

From what TFA says, this is based on what one music industry exec thinks Steve Jobs might do. Now, if it was something the exec had heard that Jobs was going to do, that might be something.

This looks to me like nothing more than wishful thinking. And Slashdot jumps in with a sensationalist headline proclaiming certitude, never one to let a little thing like reality (or sanity) get in the way of a nice flamewar...

Dan Aris

End Result? (5, Funny)

Shads (4567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055610)

... I go back to snail mailing money to the artists and downloading the mp3. Shrug.

Re:End Result? (1, Troll)

romhacker (898217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055652)

I won't be using iTunes anymore.

Re:End Result? (2, Interesting)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055764)

Me too. As a matter of fact, we've had great luck with people sending us PayPal in our online "tip jar" if they dug the music. Fuck iTunes. Are they going to make music that isn't as popular cheaper now? Hell no.

As the Ferengi say (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055621)

Greed is eternal

Re:As the Ferengi say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055717)

Didn't The KLF say it first?

Re:As the Ferengi say (1)

suprcvic (684521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055796)

Greed is such an overused term. We live in a free market economy, if people are willing to pay $2.00 for a song then the market will charge $2.00 for a song. Only catch here is that there is a virtually infinite supply of the product. So people should stop throwing around the word "Greed" and be grateful for the type of economic system we have. If you don't want to pay, don't pay, simple as that. Nobody is entitled to this music.

Re:As the Ferengi say (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055866)

Greed is eternal

The funny thing is that the usual arguers on both sides of this issue will think you're talking about the other side. People who produce and distribute the product are eternally interested in remaining profitable as the do so, and the people who want popular music seem to eternally want their entertainment for free. At the intersection is (supposed to be) a market economy. But a lot of people on the consuming end seem to have lost touch with the general notion of "the person selling it is asking more than I want to pay, so I'll buy something cheaper, instead" and have shifted to "so I'll rip it off, instead" without any sense whatsover of causality (when it comes to the consequences).

So the model becomes ever more like... (5, Insightful)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055624)

allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] ?

Only way more expensive...

And encumbered with DRM...

No thanks!

Re:So the model becomes ever more like... (0)

Datasage (214357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055775)

Also very questionable legality outside of Russia. If your going to do that, you might as well just download the music for free off your favorite P2P.

Re:So the model becomes ever more like... (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055798)

Everyone KNOWS that the only reason Apple has done so well selling iPods is because of the beneficence of the music companies allowing iTMS to sell stuff for only 99 cents. Without them, the iPod would be history and the other players with pay per month models would be king.

"Sum ergo Cogito" -getting Descartes before de horse...

Their merchandise, their prices (4, Interesting)

MyTwoCentsWorth (593731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055626)

Why complain ? It is their stuff, and they can price it at any level they want. You can always buy from somewhere else or refuse to buy it altogether if YOU think it is too expensive, but I'll bet you that lots of people will keep buying at the new, higher prices. Why leave money in their pockets if they are willing to give them to the record companies ?
Happy Posting.

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (0, Troll)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055687)

"Why complain ? It is their stuff, and they can price it at any level they want. You can always buy from somewhere else or refuse to buy it altogether if YOU think it is too expensive, but I'll bet you that lots of people will keep buying at the new, higher prices. Why leave money in their pockets if they are willing to give them to the record companies ?
Happy Posting."

Honestly. And please be honest now:

If this was M$ instead of Apple, you would post some anti-m$ crap here. Just admit your bias here. We all see it.

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055696)

Why complain ?

Why not? It is certainly their right to price it higher, but it doesn't make it moral/ethical. Of course we can complain!

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055720)

You're right, why complain? Most of us with a brain in our head will just go on downloading it for free anyway.

Feedback is beneficial for all. (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055731)

It's important to complain, as that provides them with feedback on their decision. Everyone is better off if there is dialogue between the two parties.

If enough people voice their opposition, then perhaps Apple will realize that it is not in their best interests to switch to such a scheme. Thus everyone is potentially better off if Apple listens and responds accordingly. Customers can then continue to purchase the songs they want, rather than to boycott. Apple can continue to receive revenue from such customers, rather than having the customers go elsewhere.

Notice that the same thing happened recently with regards to Novell/SuSE and their switch from KDE to GNOME. They announced the switch, and many customers complained. The customers let them know that KDE was still wanted. And what did Novell do? They agreed to keep offering KDE.

It's better to work out such problems before involving money.

Re:Feedback is beneficial for all. (2, Insightful)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055860)

then perhaps Apple will realize that it is not in their best interests to switch to such a scheme.

I could be wrong, but the way i've been reading this, it's not Apple that's pushing this change... it's the copyright holder, and since they own the rights to what Apple is selling, they don't have much choice in the matter.
Just like the consumer has the choice to pay more, or not buy, Apple has the choice to pay more or not sell...

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055748)

Why complain ? It is their stuff, and they can price it at any level they want.

Um, maybe because we installed iTunes based on a promise that it wouldn't work this way, because we've already bought music that only iTunes can play, and because it S-U-C-K-S.

If we didn't complain, they'd probably blame something else for their sudden lack of revenue. Like, oh, piracy or something.

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055789)

Ha! Ha!

The joke is on them, since I make MY OWN MUSIC!!!1!

For my own personal enjoyment, too!

Re:Their merchandise, their prices (3, Insightful)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055803)

Why complain ?

...'cause without complaints, /. is a pretty quiet place.

you shouldn't buy DRM'ed music anyway! (1)

KnightTristan (882222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055627)

Who cares if something you don't buy is priced 99 cents or 99 dollars?

Re:you shouldn't buy DRM'ed music anyway! (1)

serverleader (718422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055802)

hey I'm with you on this one!!!

Good news (5, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055634)

According to Slashdot, popular music sucks. As a result, non-sucky music will cost less than it does today. This is good.

Re:Good news (1, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055706)

Don't worry about that. The music companies will soon be implementing a new system to assist you in getting the lowest price! Here's how it works:

Every song in the system will be ordered by the number of downloads it had last month. The rank will then be sorted in reverse. The position of the music on that list will be its price. Therefore, Britney Spears will cost only a penny, while Simon and Garfunkel will cost $300! See? Now you can get Britney Spears for cheaper! Aren't you HAPPY!

Re:Good news (1)

ShimmyShimmy (692324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055872)


non-sucky music will cost less
Sadly, I don't think anything will cost less than it does now.

And so it begins.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055636)

I wonder if 'flexible pricing' will allow them to adjust prices 'on the fly' - let's say 10,000 users download Song A priced 99c and software automatically then adjusts the price to say 1$ 29c or similar price.

Then again, there is no end to corporate greed so I'm expecting to see this in action.

Re:And so it begins.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055807)

those godd4mned robber barons! they, of all people, should have no right to private property! let's steal all the music in the name of the people, not those have anything to do with its creation or publication, but those who just don't wish to pay!

Is this really a bad thing? (5, Interesting)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055640)

Shouldn't B-sides actually be cheaper than the hits? New material more expensive than oldies? People have been justifiably complaining for years of having to buy whole albums just to get one or two songs they want, and now they don't have to.

Re:Is this really a bad thing? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055745)

Shouldn't B-sides actually be cheaper than the hits? New material more expensive than oldies? People have been justifiably complaining for years of having to buy whole albums just to get one or two songs they want, and now they don't have to.

Yeah, and now the B-sides will be $0.99 and the hits will be $1.29. What will be cheaper (if anything) is the stuff you find in gas stations.

Re:Is this really a bad thing? (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055797)

Yeah, and now the B-sides will be $0.99 and the hits will be $1.29.

Well, the suggestion is that the B-sides will be lower than 99...

What will be cheaper (if anything) is the stuff you find in gas stations.

M-m-m-m- My Sharona, My Sharona!!!

So How Much is that 80's Hair Band Music Worth (1)

RapidEye (322253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055643)

Do you think you'll have to pay more or less than $0.99 for your favorite throwback band.

Personally, I relish the though of all the kids that must have the latest/greatest junk out of the studios paying buku dollars in order to subsidize me buying up older stuff I used to love in College
=-)

Re:So How Much is that 80's Hair Band Music Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055714)

You probably meant beaucoup dollars.

But, then again, you're probably beaucoup dinky dau anyway.

Re:So How Much is that 80's Hair Band Music Worth (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055767)

Do you think you'll have to pay more or less than $0.99 for your favorite throwback band.

Heh, I'm hoping less. I could rack up on "hair band" music if the price drops to about $0.25 per track. Lots of it would be a steal even at $0.50 / track...

Personally, I relish the though of all the kids that must have the latest/greatest junk out of the studios paying buku dollars in order to subsidize me buying up older stuff I used to love in College

I hadn't really thought of it that way, but good point. Let the guy paying $1.50 / song for Hoobastank subidize my fix for Twisted Sister, Dokken, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, etc. Yeah, that sounds kinda nice...

Guys, this is a strange story (5, Insightful)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055646)

"Believes"?

It's a story if you have someone say that he "knows" Mr Jobs will do something, or - better yet - if Mr Jobs actually says he's doing something.

But if a record company executive says it, and he has a vested interest in having it happen, and perhaps almost a desperate need for it to happen, well, I don't think his word or judgement is necessarily good.

Record company executives have, from what I've noticed, little reputation for integrity. Until I hear this from Mr Jobs' mouth, or a slick press release and video from Apple about its inevitability, I'm not going to believe it.

D

Re:Guys, this is a strange story (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055708)

Exactly. The story title should be "Apple iTunes to End Flat Fee Pricing?" Question, not a declaration.

"According to EMI" (4, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055647)

Yeah, and I'm sure their opinion is 100% pure and unbisased. This could very well be a ploy to pressure Apple into complying. Also, even if it is true, Steve Jobs will send them packing for pre-announcing it.

Re:"According to EMI" (1)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055725)

I'd moderate the parent post, but I can't seem to find the "Unlikely" option. Some help please?

would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055654)

...but never going to happen --- suddenly all music track sales priced over 99cents drop by 50%. Of course the industry would just respond by doubling the prices to keep profit levels up...

Take your time (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055655)

It seems that they will end their flat fee sometime within the next 12 months . This gives them plenty of time to decide on pricing and get public opinion on the issue.

If there were a major backlash, I wouldn't be surprised if they back off the decision.

conjecture? (3, Insightful)

vena (318873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055663)

What a label boss "believes" doesn't translate to "Jobs will do it" for me. I'll wait for word from Apple before calling Jobs out on his previous spine.

Just to make sure... (5, Insightful)

Spytap (143526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055664)

...So the most easily pirated material (the popular stuff) is going to be more expensive, while the harder to find stuff (the less popular songs) will be cheaper? Either they're changing their business model more drastically than ever before in their history to expand the appeal of smaller artists...or they're just in it for the short run to prove that digital downloads don't work...

Good. (4, Insightful)

Senes (928228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055668)

Let the prices change. If someone wants to price their music competitively, let them price their music cheaper. If someone thinks that the latest Britney Spears/Eminem/Metallica album is worth more for a digital file than a CD, then let them get ripped off to their heart's content.

Apple often seems to be on the side of the RIAA over our side, but that's because our side is OUR side and that makes any compromise be less than what we want. I really would welcome price changes in both directions; independant artists being more competitive, and big fat companies ripping off diehard fans more than usual. Go Apple.

allofmp3.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055679)

+$25 loaded onto my account, wooo!

but in reality (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055680)

if anyone's heard of it: > .99
a few songs: .99
nothing: .99

The RIAA Strikes Back (3, Funny)

KodeJockey (928302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055683)

As part of the deal, Sony has agreed to include malicious code that will open gaping security holes on your devices with the higher-priced downloads.

Everyone will go back to p2p. (1)

Kerosene (18371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055690)

The great thing about iTunes was it priced songs as the public really feels songs should be priced.

Now that prices will go up, piracy will once again rise. And they'll blame it on the p2p networks and ask for more DRM and copyright control legislation, when in fact it will be their own greed that will be ruining their business.

When will the greedy record companies learn?

A: They won't (1)

fair_n_hite_451 (712393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055818)

They won't ever learn the lesson you want them to (and by "you" I mean the public, not you specifically), because it doesn't allow them to continue their current lifestyle / business practices.
 
They aren't motivated to learn the lessons, and therefore they never will.
 
Until someone comes along and hands them their collective lunches - killing big record labels in the process - by rendering them obsolete as a middleman between artist and audience by reinventing THAT relationship, they have no reason to learn the lesson, and EVERY reason to fight it tooth and nail every step of the way.
 
This isn't about "common sense" or "morality", it's about business.

Crap (2, Insightful)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055692)

Buying music online should be less expensive than buying the equivelant CD, since you're not getting as much value when you buy online (see: DRM), and the manufacturers aren't paying for packaging and shipping. If they push the prices up to where all the tracks on a given CD cost more than just buying the CD, you'd have to be an idiot to download from an online store.

Within that framework though, I don't see any reason not to have flexible pricing. Most of the music I listen to is older, less popular stuff anyway, so I'd probably benefit (if I actually used iTunes in the first place). I hope Krokus, Vixen, White Sister, Rough Cutt, Faster Pussycat, etc. songs go down to about a quarter each... I might actually start buying online then.

Re:Crap (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055853)

Buying music online should be less expensive than buying the equivelant CD,

Singles on iTMS are cheaper than CD singles. What you're experiencing is tying [wikipedia.org] of the two good songs on an album to the filler.

Paying more for popular songs (1)

raider_red (156642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055693)

Since I think that most popular music sucks, I don't think this will affect me too much. I'll just keep downloading songs from obscure groups, and paying my $.99.

Good News for Nerds (1)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055694)

This is good news to me. I do not buy the 'crap' that most people consider good. I can't remember when the last time I purchased a CD or record (yes, I still buy vinyl) for some pop-trendy crap, or the newest Hip-Hop clown.

Most of what I buy is either underground, b-side material, or otherwise 'lesser-known' artists anyway, and that is the stuff that will be cheaper than $.99.

Brad

Re:Good News for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055835)

Hey, do you have the underground classic album "Hipster" by The Toot Your Own Horns?

Man you come off like an elitist, bitter, way-too-proud-of-himself nerd. Why such a need to brag?

Sensible capitalism (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055704)

The reason people complained before is that the record company exec was insisting that Apple raise prices but not lower any prices, which is just foolish. You can let the market help you set pricing to maximize profit, but you can't have it both ways. If you just raise prices that's not letting the market decide, and you'll lose money from people who would pay $.49 for a less popular song but not $.99.

It makes sense to me that the one good song on an album would go for more than the rest. The record companies are ticked that they're losing revenue that they used to get; it used to be you had to buy an entire $12-$16 album to get the one non-sucky song. Perhaps $.99 is too low for that song, if people are willing to pay more, as evidenced by the fact that they used to spend MUCH more.

There will be the inevitable replies to this about how you can get it all for free on P2P, but Apple has demonstrated that people will pay for music if it's convenient. Now they get to fine-tune the pricing model.

Personally, I look forward to it. If the latest top 40 goes up, and the older and obscure stuff that I want goes down, I win, at the expense of the rubes paying $2.49 for whatever is hot today.

I like to eat my own poo (0, Offtopic)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055705)

babababababa zarg mallarg!

Dynamic prices = higher costs (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055711)

No matter which way you cut it, the moment you introduce a variable into the equation it's going to raise the costs. Assuming even the copyright holders were not bastards, which they are... you gotta employ people to keep track of the market value of tracks and makes bookkeeping more tedius. 99c each would actually encourage artists to actually produce songs worth paying for as opposed to the system of one or two singles and a bunch of filler crap which no one would pay for, but switching to variable pricing they can continue with one or two singles and a bunch of fillers that no bugger would buy anyway.

buy and sell (1)

Wardini (608107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055713)

As buyers can we also be sellers? As the popularity of songs change we can be in the so call "market" making and losing money. Imagine buying 1000 copies of an unknown song only to resell them later for profit when a commercial or movie uses the song making it popular.

Infinite supply = $0.00 price! (3, Interesting)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055724)

If they are going to use demand for a product to determine pricing, they should also be required to factor in supply. The supply is infinite, so then the price should be practically nothing!

It's OK with me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055729)

If most stuff is priced below .99, that would be fine with me. My music store purchases are mostly backlist music that I can't find in stores.

*Clap clap clap clap* (-1, Flamebait)

drgath159 (821707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055732)

Bravo RIAA, I'm proud of you on this one. Honestly I am. Why is this a good thing? Because
a) It is the RIAA shooting itself in the foot, once again, and further quickening their demise
b) I don't buy music from iTunes, and I encourage everyone to buy a player that is compatible with more than one store. Sure Rhapsody works, but it isn't intended to and never know when that will break.

Apple fanbois, meet vendor lock-in. By buying a non-versatile peice of hardware, you just screwed yourself, you had it coming. Yes, I hate Microsoft as much as most people, but at least I have the freedom to play most any file formats under the sun on my PDA and have a choice of music stores to choose from. Competition = lower music prices.

Go ahead, rate this as a flame, but it is all truth.

*Off to buy 79 cent songs*

Back to buying CDs then (1)

mrob2002 (564229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055739)

If the price does go up as much as they want, the balance of economics shifts back to making it more worthwhile to buy the CD and rip it myself to AAC format. I only buy music from the iTunes music store at the moment because of the convenience factor, but it's only just inexpensive enough to make the lower quality AAC tracks. I use iTunes to find new music I might not otherwise hear - but I'm betting the new music will be the more expensive tracks. It's a shame to see themselves pricing people back to ripping their own, or the pirate networks again.

I like it. (1)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055751)

This works well for me: If the most popular songs, and generally suckiest, are the most expensive, a quick sort from lowest price to highest will yield the best songs. What's not to like?

Misleading (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055752)

Some record exec says he *thinks* Apple will introduce variable pricing, and suddenly all the news sites report that Apple will do it. The record companies have been after Apple to introduce variable pricing for some time. Is it any surprise that they think they'll get their way?

Labels can't see past their own greed. (1)

Steve Cowan (525271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055754)

Apple provides a viable way for record labels to transition from media-based distribution to an on-line model, and the labels in turn slap Apple in the face and say they're not making enough money.

Jobs was absolutely right to publicly go on record saying this behaviour is "greedy". The arrogant fat cats who run the music industry will, in the end, price themselves into extinction.

There is value in a unified pricing model that consumers find attractive. I believe the increased volume would make up for the few extra cents a song they're wanting to charge.

just another way of saying 'we are raising price' (1)

lashi (822466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055761)

I think the record company is just trying to raise price of downloaded songs overall. First they will say flexible pricing and raise price on most of the popular songs, while lower price on a small number of unpopular ones. Then a few months later, all the cheap ones will go back to 99 cents with most songs sell for higher.

Read between the lines.

Somebody CAN'T read!!! (4, Informative)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055763)

From the article:
"Today EMI Group boss Alain Levy said at press conference today that he believed Jobs would introduce multiple price points for iTunes music within the next year."

This does not say that "...EMI has an understanding with Apple that flat fee pricing will end within the next 12 months..." as the story claims.

Why was this story allowed to be posted this way? /. seems to be slipping...

The actual Forbes story is talking about how the labels want to take advantage of the consumers while Steve Jobs does not want to change the pricing structure. He's fought against it from the beginning and there has been nothing reported to support that the labels have won the fight yet.

If teh Steeve had teh Ballz.... (2, Interesting)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055768)

... he'd say "You want variable pricing? You got it! You can charge anything you want, but the cap is still 99 cents!"

Meh.

Hmm (1)

Wazukkithemaster (826055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055773)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greed_(emotion) [wikipedia.org]

I'm seriously starting to think that companies like Sony BMG are doing a little creative book-keeping to come up with losses in order to justify their actions, perhaps somebody with a little more knowledge on the inner workings of multi-national corporation accounting and financing could weigh in, or provide a link.

Fine by me (1)

daliman (626662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055780)

I'm happy for them to charge different prices for different tracks. This can easily be achieved by leaving the Britney crap at the 99c mark and dropping the prices for everything that I want to listen to down to the 20c mark. Then I might buy something.

At least, if I weren't in New Zealand, where you can't buy anything from itunes.

error (1)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055792)

Is this what is referred to as an "invalid markup?"

Drop in CD sales (1)

M4N14C (873188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055795)

Am I the only person that still buys music from a record store?

Who cares? (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055801)

I never buy from iTMS anyway. I refuse to buy DRM'd tracks. Let them charge $99, it doesn't matter.

ATTN:RIAA (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055804)

I have the solution for you and it consists of a few simple steps:

1. Stop producing crap artists with guaranteed star power and invest long-term in less popular but more qualified artists that you are currently rejecting
2. Divorce yourself from the ClearChannel monopoly in the United States. It's not helping matters since they aren't exactly a hotbed of diversity in programming
3. Continue to offer your music on CD as well as non-DRMed cross-platform media files and watch your profits soar higher than you ever imagined even if there are people "sharing" the music

Once you wake up and smell reality, you might see that P2P isn't your worst enemy. It's your current "talent" and the people signing them. That is all.

Good job apple (1)

vodkamattvt (819309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055805)

Its nice to see you have a backbone. Of course who can blame them, Im sure the conversation went something like this:

Apple : No, we shouldnt raise the price, you're greedy bastards and this will just cause more piracy

Entertainment Overlords : $$$$$$$$$ (drooling)

Apple : ?

Entertainment Overlords : We own all the music .. we could just pull it from your store if you dont cooperate ..$$$$$$!!!!

Apple : Yes master

Isnt dealing with monopolies fun?

Re:Good job apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055838)

Don't bother with reading the article you fucknut! The "story" isn't close to what is in the article...

Re:Good job apple (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055869)

RTFA.

It says that the CEO of EMI "believes that Apple will end flat fee pricing... Apple could not be reached for comment."
Jobs is on record as saying that he won't raise prices and that the people who want to are just greedy bastards.

But don't let reading the article stand in the way of your joke, of course.

Sounds good to me (5, Insightful)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055809)

The world's 14 year olds can pay $2 for the latest 50 Cent "song", and I'll pay 50 cents for real music.

Pure Heresay (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055815)

The story just says that EMI's CEO or whatever has an "idea" that prices will go up. It doesn't say where he got this idea from (be it a muse while he was asleep or from a phone conversation with Jobs) or back it up with any eveidence whatsoever.

I'm have a feeling that music will stay at $.99 per single for the forseeable future; Jobs realizes (and anyone who can think through the greed will too) that increasing the prices to something like $1.99 for a hit single will only increase piracy.

Popular Music to not be sold.....artist cry foul! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14055820)

I'm guessing that with the increase in "popular" music people will say f'it and just download the cheaper, still .99 cents music, and the popular artists will cry foul since they won't be popular for much longer ;)

Come on, record labels get your heads out of your butts and think of a new business model! There is no frick'n reason to raise prices on a product you don't host, sell multiple times and only out of pocket expenses are to support the artist on tour. How about that you don't sign those artists for mil $ contracts have people pay $150 for tickets and $75 for t-shirts.

To be frank, music artists, sports stars and movie celebs should be making the same wage as the rest of us working stiffs for the area they live in, that way the price to make, produce, and distribute entertainment costs could be reduced instead of paying these outrageous sums of cash for each picture, effects, arena's etc.......... Same goes for the ceo of the companies and their companies they should be making "reasonable profits" not oodles and oodles of cash just because they inflate the "worth" of their product.

sheesh.

some bad, some presumed good (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055828)

the bad:

now I have to check the price of every song before I buy it to make sure it's not been deemed "worth" $2.99 or whatever.

the presumed good:

much of the music I'm interested in will drop to $0.79 because it is far from "popular".

yeah right.

This will not increase revenue. (1)

krinsh (94283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055831)

The audience for digital music buys it because they get the songs for 99 cents and can buy one or two at a time; not because it is digital. I don't see the more popular songs making the labels any more money. CD sales will continue to drop because the majority of purchasers are looking for bargains; not hits. Those that look for 'hits' are going to continue to watch VH1 and BET and trade copies either analog or digital. I know that in my 30s I'm not really the market for what they're doing; but everyone I know just copies their existing collections and download podcasts.

That makes sense (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055841)

... after all, the labels charge a lot less for stuff from the 60s and 70s that they don't have to amortize, market any more, etc.

Oh, wait ...

There goes the balance (1)

punxking (721508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055846)

I've never been a fan of purchasing music that had DRM, but it seemed to be worth the trade off in some cases. iTunes provided a way to get all those songs where I wanted one or two songs from an artist or particular CD but didn't want to pay $10 to $20 for a whole CD just to get those songs. The trade off was lower sound quality and the loss of freedom when it comes to player choice/burn rights (I make a LOT of mix discs for my work commute, and like to update frequently due to a very wide range of musical tastes.) At $0.99 this seemed to be a fair trade off, but now I worry that most of the prices will increase.

While I do like a lot of obscure or less popular music (certainly not much that ever shows up on charts) I agree with others who have said that lower prices seem highly unlikely. As others have already posted, I also agree that this will likely cause some increase in piracy and (in my case) fewer music purchases.

While my new CD purchases will likely remain stable at a low 5 or 6 a year, the $100 to $200 a year I have been spending on digital music each year will probably drop to almost nothing. Alas, just more money for O'Reilly purchases I guess...

Simple solution (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055847)

Everyone sets their own "do not exceed" price limit. 99 cents would be a logical point for most people. When they can't sell anything above 99 cents, the market has effectively limited the price. Meanwhile, the prices have dropped for some of the older stuff, so once again, the music industry shoots itself in the foot. They will have no problem getting people to accept a decrease.

If nobody has the self-discipline to set a limit, then the music companies truly deserves more money because people are willing to pay.

This happens all the time in the grocery industry. 2-liter bottles of soda are sold from $0.69 to $1.39. When the price is under $1.00, the stuff is sold in great quantity, above $1.00 and it mostly sits there. Try as they might, the retailers find it nearly impossible to make the price to stick above $1.00. Music and soda are NOT staple items; you can live just fine without them.

Um.. ATI anyone? (2, Interesting)

enderwig (261458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055851)

Wait, this record company exec released information about iTunes Music Store and Apple wasn't available for comment? I don't think Jobs like being put on the spot like that. If a deal has been struck and EMI jumped the gun, will they be punished like ATI for "leaking"?

Why should us geeks complain? (1)

axonal (732578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055859)

I don't think I purchased any "high-demand" song on iTunes. I mean come on, do we really listen to Brittany Spears or whoever record companies are trying to shove down our throats.

officials were unavailable for comment (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055861)

They were all stuck in an arduous meeting trying to determine the pricing of every song for each of these albums:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Soundtrack) - Bee Gees and other Various Artists
The Endless Dream - Yanni & John Tesh
Osmond Family Christmas Album - The Osmonds
Lord of the Dance - Ronan Hardiman & Michael Flatley
All or Nothing - Milli Vanilli
Middle of Nowhere - Hanson

see: http://listsofbests.com/list/64/ [listsofbests.com]

i had no problem buying from itunes before (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14055875)

for me, $.99 isn't bad, it is easier than searching for songs for 1/2 hour. now, they can go screw themselves. i will not pay over that, it should be 1/2 that price.
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