Within the last week, news that Apple and NBC had failed to renew their agreement for TV show distribution via the iTunes Store is undoubtedly big news. An NBC Universal spokesman has been quoted by the New York Times as claiming that the iTunes Store's raison d'etre "[The iTunes Store] is designed to drive sales of Apple devices at the expense of those who create the content that make these devices worth buying." In some regards, it is a fair point: Apple needs content to offer so as to allow it to continue marketing and developing new iPods.
But at what price? Setting a price at resale, or retail for that matter, and then raising it is not only unreasonable, but generally not accepted by us, the paying customer. In an age where we routinely put up with the demands of the networks and labels, and their interesting ideas on DRM, in order to legitimately obtain content online the prices that Apple touted as NBC's preference are simply unacceptable. Sure, variable pricing sounds fair, in theory, but cynics of NBC's supposed "variable pricing" (I include myself in this group) argue that giving the network carte blanche with pricing would not, in fact, lead to any cheaper content - such is the distrust held against the media companies.