Blog Post

Apple Launches Lower-Priced Indie Albums, Week After UMG Contract Fracas

Apple sure knows how to sneak one through: just as Universal Music Group refused to sign a long-term contract with it over iTunes sales (with disagreement on, among other things, album and song pricing), Apple has quietly launched lower prices for full indie-music albums. These albums, what it calls “Next Big Thing“, retail for $5.99 and $6.99, lower than the flat-rate $9.99 that Apple has insisted on since the beginning. The 40-odd albums are from indie artists such as Peter, Bjorn, & John, The Kooks and others.

Also read this related story on the UMG-Apple dust-up: “Universal Refutes Apple’s iTunes Negotiations Claim

3 Responses to “Apple Launches Lower-Priced Indie Albums, Week After UMG Contract Fracas”

  1. Two things

    1) "Next Big Thing" is a promotion that runs for a single month, like they did for Black Music Month a bit. It is heavily promoted on their home page and mentioned in their mult-million-subscriber newsletter, I'd hardly call it either under-the-radar or a response to anything universal did.

    2) Peter Bjorn and John are on SonyBMG

  2. Universal has had sub-$9.99 albums at iTunes for quite a while. (I recall seeing a PJ Harvey album at a low price a year or two ago.)

    A few weeks ago (before the whole contract hub-bub) I ran across a web page from Universal's catalog division that showed a group of catalog tiltes (U2, Weezer, Coltrane, Def Leppard, Nirvana) priced at $7.99 at iTunes.

    So UMG already has low-priced albums at iTunes. The difference seems to be that UMG does not have a dedicated and branded section of the iTunes store to promote those albums.