- iTunes price rise a cert – EMI boss | The Register
EMI Music’s chief executive Alain Levy has said that there’s now a consensus that the price of hit songs will rise on digital download sites. Apple charges 99 cents per song on its iTunes Music Store regardless of the song’s popularity – something that the industry is keen to change.
“There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when. There is a case for superstars to have a higher price,” Levy told the Wall Street Journal.
.. and as Kate Bush is on EMI this may begin to go a little way to explaining why her new album Aerial is still not listed on iTunes.. it’s all going to get ugly, very ugly, I think. Where’s that P2P app?
- Joel on Software on variable music and movie pricing
this [varying the price between ‘old’ and ‘new’ songs and artists] is what the recording industry is telling you that they want to do on iTunes. But they don’t do it in movie theaters. Why not?
The answer is that pricing sends a signal. People have come to believe that “you get what you pay for.” If you lowered the price of a movie, people would immediately infer from the low price that it’s a crappy movie and they wouldn’t go see it. If you had different prices for movies, the $4 movies would have a lot less customers than they get anyway. The entertainment industry has to maintain a straight face and tell you that Gigli or Battlefield Earth are every bit as valuable as Wedding Crashers or Star Wars or nobody will go see them.
Now, the reason the music recording industry wants different prices has nothing to do with making a premium on the best songs. What they really want is a system they can manipulate to send signals about what songs are worth, and thus what songs you should buy. I assure you that when really bad songs come out, as long as they’re new and the recording industry wants to promote those songs, they’ll charge the full $2.49 or whatever it is to send a fake signal that the songs are better than they really are. It’s the same reason we’ve had to put up with crappy radio for the last few decades: the music industry promotes what they want to promote, whether it’s good or bad, and the main reason they want to promote something is because that’s a bargaining chip they can use in their negotiations with artists. [my emphasis]
EasyCinema has I think tried variable pricing on films in the UK. However, it’s struggled to get first-run films, though that’s to do with distribution. Anyone been to one?
But this is a killer argument from Joel Spolsky about what’s really behind the scheming by the record biz. Whereas Apple, he points out, wants to control the record companies by getting to choose who features on the front page of the iTunes “Music” Store.