Labels, Apple Debate Over Variable Pricing Unlikely To Be Resolved Soon


AP/P-I: We’ve been writing about this all along — the major music companies feel inhibited by Steve Jobs’ insistence on standard $0.99 pricing per song and want iTunes to move to variable pricing. Some see this completely as a move to raise retail prices on new material. Perhaps I’m being too naive, but I also think labels would like to boost sales of some older music by making it less expensive. The labels get about $0.70 a song from a 70-30 split. The AP’s thesis — “any moves to abandon uniform pricing will test whether music fans are willing to pay more to download music that many only a few years ago acquired for free” — tracks Jobs’ contention that variable pricing only encourages piracy. Analysts give Apple’s market share the edge in this debate.

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