Now, however, some labels feel hamstrung by Jobs’s insistence on pricing all tracks at 99 cents. With the labels expected to enter into music licensing discussions with Apple this year, any moves by Apple to abandon uniform pricing will test whether music fans are willing to pay more to download music that many acquired for free only a few years ago.
”The labels really want to be able to boost up the price for downloads on new releases,” said Matt Kleinschmit, a digital music analyst with the Ipsos Insight market research firm. ”The question is: Are we at a time now that we want to experiment with variable pricing?”
Recording labels make about 70 cents per download, but could pocket significantly more by increasing retail prices by just a few cents.
[…] Last fall, Edgar Bronfman Jr., chief executive of Warner Music Group Corp., suggested that Apple should allow different download prices for songs and even give the labels a cut of iPod sales.
[…] Jobs has argued that recording companies already make more profit by selling a song through iTunes than on a CD, which carries extra marketing and manufacturing costs. ”So if they want to raise the prices, it just means they’re getting a little greedy,” he said at Apple Expo in Paris in September.
The push by labels reflects an industrywide scramble to reap the most from a business model that only three years ago seemed unlikely to survive amid overwhelming online piracy.