EMI chief says iTunes prices will rise (and lower) within the year

iTunes Music Store

Alan Levy, chairman of EMI Music, says there is "a common understanding" that Apple will begin to offer "differential pricing" on the iTunes Music Store within the next 12 months. You may recall that this battle became public when Steve called the labels "greedy," warning of an increase in piracy if prices are increased. Warner Music's CEO Edgar Bronfman then followed up with a waffle claiming the flat rate pricing was unfair and that the labels should "share in those [iPod] revenue streams." So here's the apparent compromise as stated by Levy: "First of all we would like to reduce pricing on new and developing artists and charge a premium for our superstars." That actually doesn't sound too bad, afterall — we're not much for Top 40 anyway, so we might actually catch a break and pay less if this love-in doesn't get broken up by The Man. Then again, that could just be their in, which they could use to leverage command over the pricing the way they really want; if granted it could well open the floodgates to price negotiations with all the other big labels in turn. Watch yer back, Steve!