Thursday, November 17, 2005


We're interested to hear that EMI are running round telling people that they reckon Apple is going to fall into line and start charging more for some tracks on iTunes:

The chief executive of EMI Music, Alain Levy, said EMI had discussed the issue with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and believed Apple planned to end its single-price policy for iTunes music, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site. "We are having discussions which make us believe it will happen in the next 12 months," Levy reportedly said at a press conference in London for the company's half-year profit results. "There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when. There is a case for superstars to have a higher price."

We imagine this might come as a surprise to Apple, whose one-price-for-all price has been a central feature of its offering; it's possible that Levy is just trying to bounce Jobs into having to capitulate.

There is, of course, no case at all for superstars to have a higher price - you could argue, possibly, that a record which costs more to make could cost more to reflect the extra costs, but since someone who really likes Mariah is not going to get any more value out of one of her songs than someone who really like Toad The Wet Sprocket would get from one of theirs, there's no reason to expect consumers to pay more for Mariah than anyone else. Equally, there's no limit to the supply of any specific music track online, so there's no supply and demand factor which would lead to Robbie's Angels should cost more than Slowdive's Morningrise.

And although there is more spent on bringing a Madonna album to market costs more than getting a Sons And Daughters album out, the main bulk of that money is pissed away on marketing. And surely Levy doesn't want to tell consumers they have to pay more for Madonna tracks because they have to buy thirty-two sheet advertising locations across the capital, does he?

[Thanks to Michael B for the link]