Apple Has Upper Hand In Music Negotiations
April 23, 2007 at 5:47 AM (PT)
When APPLE INC. sits for contract negotiations with the major record companies over the next month, it will probably seek further concessions from them on selling music without copy-protection software, reports REUTERS.
The owner of the market-leading IPOD digital media player and ITUNES online music store has already cut an early deal with EMI GROUP and enters talks with the other labels from a position of strength, according to music industry executives.
"EMI struck a deal that puts all of us at a disadvantage," said a music executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said EMI had agreed to let APPLE sell its music without anti-piracy protection to please shareholders concerned that the record company was behind in the digital music race.
For its part, EMI argues that the anti-copying software, known as digital rights management, has been frustrating for consumers.
"We believe removing it will boost digital music overall," said an EMI spokeswoman.
UNIVERSAL, SONY BMG and WARNER will aim to steer contract renewal negotiations with APPLE to discussions on variable pricing for songs, a subscription service for ITUNES, and more bundling of tracks and other features into digital packages, music executives and analysts say.