Labels hit back at Apple, now want share of iPod revenues

Edgar Bronfman Jr.

Apple and the major record labels have been cruising towards a confrontation over iTunes Music Store pricing for months now, and one label head, namely Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman is responding angrily to Stevie J's comments last week about "greedy" record labels. There's a perception that the labels (which these days don't exactly have a reputation for, um, generosity) want to raise the price of downloads across the board, but Bronfman says that flat-rate pricing is unfair and that, "Some songs should be $0.99 and some songs should be more. I don't want to give anyone the impression that $0.99 is a thing of the past" (note that he doesn't say much about songs costing less than 99 cents). The problem, as Red Herring reports, is that the labels are used to people buying full albums — and in the process paying for songs they might not have wanted — while the iTunes Music Store lets consumers pay for only the songs they're interested in. Buying only the songs you want seems way more fair to consumers, but it hasn't exactly done much to keep the labels' revenues up. Bronfman's solution? Well, if Apple is "artificially" keeping the price of downloads low to promote sales of iPods (you can debate amongst yourselves whether 99 cents is artificially high or artificially low), then as he sees it, the labels should get to "share in those [iPod] revenue streams." We'll go out on a limb and predict they're never ever going to get a slice of the iPod, but we do have this funny feeling that things are going to get a lot uglier in the next few months.

[Thanks, CoreyTheGent]