September 23, 2005

More on the Pending Apple/Record Label Price Fight [10:49 am]

Apple, record labels to face off over pricing [pdf]

The licensing agreements between Apple, maker of the wildly popular iPod digital music player and operator of the most widely used music download service, and the record labels are set to expire next spring.

Both sides, which have benefited enormously from music sales created by the iPod phenomenon, are jockeying for position.

[...] Record executives, however, are seeking some flexibility in prices, including the ability to charge more for some songs and less for others, the way they do in the traditional retail world.

“There’s no content in the world that has doesn’t have some price flexibility,” said Warner Music Group Corp. (NYSE:WMG - news) chief executive Edgar Bronfman at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference here. “Not all songs are created equal. Not all albums are created equal.

“That’s not to say we want to raise prices across the board or that we don’t believe in a 99-cent price point for most music,” he said. “But there are some songs for which consumers would be willing to pay more. And some we’d be willing to sell for less.”

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David Berlind’s Experiences With DRM [10:43 am]

Don’t miss the discussion, where he is chastised for resisting buying a $500 Mac mini: � DRM nightmare: Why $20,000 worth of gear won’t play my 99 cent songs

It’s kind of screwed up if you think about it. In search of that zen feel where I can have the benefits of modern day audio/video in any room in my house, but without all sorts of unsightly equipment, wires, and splitters spilling out from the nooks and crannies of those rooms, I’ve already sunk nearly $20,000 into a state-of-the-art whole-home system and I’m not even done yet. Microsoft’s Bill Gates may have the ultimate digital crib in the suburbs of Seattle. But, by the time I’m done, I won’t be far behind.

[...] The mainbar to this story is that the one of my most important goals for this project — to have a shared, centralized (and largely out of sight) system that handles the delivery of audio and/or video to any room in my house — is being undermined by Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

[...] How ridiculous is it that today, I can buy a song for 99 cents that I can’t just go and play on my $20,000 system? Instead, to use the music I purchase (not just at the iTunes music store, but, pretty much any online music store), I have to use a PC to jump through a ridiculous amount of hoops to remove the DRM wrapper in a process that can often result in a loss of quality.

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