The music labels are about to get into the Apple iTunes renegotiation dance, again, and this FT story suggests that they will be asking the company to start music subscription services, something the company has avoided since the start. Universal Music, the largest record company, sits down at the bargaining table with Apple next week. Sony-BMG, Warner Music and EMI, have either commenced talks or are going to soon, the story says citing sources.
The labels think subscription is more lucrative and stable: It would also entitle the labels to a share of monthly payments, in addition to small licensing fees each time their songs are played. Also, another thing Steve Jobs hates, or at least used to until last year: Record companies may also renew their request for variable pricing on iTunes as they try to ramp up their digital profits.
Meanwhile, in a related story, CNNMoney.com’s media blog quotes Les Ottolenghi, CEO of Intent MediaWorks, a P2P digital media service, saying he’s had meetings with people from Apple and he believes the company will announce a subscription service for iTunes within the next six months. Of course this is the Nth time this rumor and speculation has come around.