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MacBytes
Oct 4, 2005, 01:02 PM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: EMI chairman says Apple's iTunes Music Store's single 99-cent song price doesn't deter piracy (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051004140203)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

wordmunger
Oct 4, 2005, 01:04 PM
Variable pricing would allow record labels to levy more for the most recent hits and less for the older tracks in their back catalogues.

They'll charge less for some tracks? That's a ripe one.

stoid
Oct 4, 2005, 01:11 PM
I see them pushing a price range from 89 for the older tracks to $1.99 for 'hot' new releases. That way they can claim to be lowering prices, when in fact they can jack the average price to $1.59 or something.

If they are interested in deterring piracy, they had better not raise the prices any.

mainstreetmark
Oct 4, 2005, 01:11 PM
First, I didn't read the article. I assume it's the same stuff.

Secondly, Aren't there like 500 million legally downloaded tracks now? I know that some of those are mine, and I also know that if I didn't download them from Apple, they'd be pirated because I can't be bothered going into a music store these days.

So, I can say for certain that Apple's 99cent price has detered at least 2 dozen tracks to NOT be pirated. I can also say for certain that number would be much larger if the track price were half of what it is.

iMeowbot
Oct 4, 2005, 01:14 PM
They'll charge less for some tracks? That's a ripe one.
EMI have done so for many years. They have a whole division (EMI Special Markets, formerly CEMA Special Markets) dedicated (in the retail area) to selling discounted music from their back catalogue.

CDs on their Collectables label usually list for $6.98 or $7.98, with a street of around $5. Compare to new major releases that are listing for $18.98 and selling for $13 or 14.

Of course, things like that will be ignored because they are inconvenient to peoples' justifications to go out and steal.

Chopper
Oct 4, 2005, 01:17 PM
"I'm not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy," Nicoli said at a news conference. "I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy. What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy."

So if in his opinion, a lower price doesn't equal a better value, he must be talking about giving more for the money spent. An interesting concept, and I'd be curious to see how he follows it up.

Sharewaredemon
Oct 4, 2005, 01:21 PM
What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy.

Which is what Apple is doing, offering 2 million songs, for 99 cents per song.

The iTunes store is convenient (read: in your home)
and a good value (read: not highway robbery).

Piss off Record exec!

Superdrive
Oct 4, 2005, 01:27 PM
Which is what Apple is doing, offering 2 million songs, for 99 cents per song.

The iTunes store is convenient (read: in your home)
and a good value (read: not highway robbery).

Piss off Record exec!

Sure, you can say 99 doesn't deter piracy. I can tell you anything higher than that will promote piracy.

zelmo
Oct 4, 2005, 01:30 PM
"I'm not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy," Nicoli said at a news conference. "I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy. What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy."

I agree. Having a single price does nothing to deter piracy, it just makes it simple for consumers to keep track of spending. What deters piracy is keeping the price of songs low enough that you reduce the incentive to steal songs to the point where most people are content to just pay for their music. Go ahead and lower the price of back catalog songs to $0.79 or something. Just don't start charging $1.99 for the good tracks, or people will just steal them instead of buy them. XX% of $0.99 is a lot better than 0% of $1.99.

Is being an idiot now a prerequisite for working for a record company?

Sharewaredemon
Oct 4, 2005, 01:37 PM
Is being an idiot now a prerequisite for working for a record company?


No I think it has always been that way.

jettredmont
Oct 4, 2005, 01:44 PM
Sorry, but I've got to quote about a quarter of the article here:


"I'm not persuaded by the argument that a single price deters piracy," Nicoli said at a news conference. "I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy. What I am persuaded of is that making music more convenient and better value is a deterrent to piracy."


Single Price == Convenience. Multiple prices == Inconvenience.

Low price == value. Higher average price (with a few cheapies out there if you happen upon them) == lower value.

Case Study 1: iTMS. Case Study 2 (antithesis): BuyMusic.com

While "convenience" and "value" are indeed the things which "deter piracy", it is quite clear that iTMS offers both of those, and that all proposed replacement systems coming from the music industry quite directly attacks them both. So, I don't see his point, except to confuse the issues here.

dubbz
Oct 4, 2005, 01:49 PM
Low price == value. Higher average price (with a few cheapies out there if you happen upon them) == lower value.

No, no, no. You misunderstand. This isn't about Value to the Consumer. This is about Value to the Record Companies.

iMeowbot
Oct 4, 2005, 01:59 PM
So if in his opinion, a lower price doesn't equal a better value, he must be talking about giving more for the money spent. An interesting concept, and I'd be curious to see how he follows it up.
There are scads of EMI albums that simply aren't available on iTunes because the Apple price would be higher than the current CD list. Apple still carry most (but not all) of those tracks, by way carrying older similar albums from the higher-priced EMI labels.

paulypants
Oct 4, 2005, 02:09 PM
I can say that it does deter piracy in my case (and others I know).
However, raising prices means I'm gonna have to fire up Acquisition again...

danielsan26
Oct 4, 2005, 02:27 PM
If these music companies ever force apple to raise their prices, especially to $2 for a "hit" song, I'm going to do the following:
Now that you can drag previews of songs into a playlist and create an imix of songs you don't actually own (or didn't buy on iTunes and you want to make sure you get the iTMS references right), I'm going to create a iMix of ever song in the worst record company's catalog. It will be titled "DON'T BUY THIS CLICK HERE." In the description of the iMix it will give an explanation of all of this malarchy and explaining why in the name of fair pricing they should not buy this music and should use another outlet. Or another record label. Maybe an address to mail an angry letter. Hopefully everone in macrumors will give it enough high rating so that it will be the top rated imix containing the record company's entire library. Sound like a plan?

balamw
Oct 4, 2005, 02:42 PM
There are scads of EMI albums that simply aren't available on iTunes because the Apple price would be higher than the current CD list. Apple still carry most (but not all) of those tracks, by way carrying older similar albums from the higher-priced EMI labels.
?!? :confused:

Just because the iTunes price/song is $0.99 that doesn't mean all albums at itunes are $9.99 or more. In fact many albums with less than 10 songs are sold at the per track price, and there are many other albums that are cheaper than $9.99 for more than 10 tracks. A quick example:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=43068 17 songs for $7.99. Amazon.com reported list price $13.98

Plus all the Rhino Hi-Five's which sell for $3.96 for five tracks. (Granted that's more than the $3.61 list price in 192 kbps WMA format from Rhino).

I don't see anything stopping EMI from listing albums below $9.99 if that's their desire.

B

EDITS: Clarity & typos.

KREX725
Oct 4, 2005, 02:44 PM
I simply prefer the "buck" a song, knowing that if I have twelve songs in my basket, I basically have twelve bucks I'm paying to iTMS. I think many people might feel the same way.

All I'm saying is don't complicate the process, especially at this stage in the game. We are still in the infancy of legal download sales being a success. Raising or tinkering with the prices will not encourage people to use iTMS. I believe a simple process will, which includes common prices.

Just my two cents, but I'm a blathering fool most days.

mrsebastian
Oct 4, 2005, 03:06 PM
oh just shut up you greedy [bleeper].

jydesign
Oct 4, 2005, 03:12 PM
OK, I'll just keep posting this in comments every time some article with a dopey-arse record exec comes out with a 'raise download prices' talking point:

New release tunes should be $.99, older tracks should cost less - that's a variable price model that will work, and will help cut down on piracy.

Now that the infrastructure is in place and people have grasped the concept of downloads, there's no reason why individual songs should cost MORE. If anything, they should cost less now that Apple's moved from concept to functioning business.

iMeowbot
Oct 4, 2005, 03:16 PM
?!? :confused:

Just because the iTunes price/song is $0.99 that doesn't mean all albums at itunes are $9.99 or more. In fact many albums with less than 10 songs are sold at the per track price, and there are many other albums that are cheaper than $9.99 for more than 10 tracks.

That doesn't help. The way those albums are licensed, offering individual tracks at the higher price isn't on. Apple don't make room for lower prices on single tracks, and making all the tracks album only wouldn't be an option either.

balamw
Oct 4, 2005, 03:33 PM
That doesn't help.
I must have misunderstood.

I though you were saying that some low priced EMI albums were not on iTunes because the albums would be priced higher than CD list price. I was just pointing out that track price and album price are not tied together on iTMS. There are plenty of bargains, another one is "Tommy by The Who" also $7.99 on iTunes $13.98 at Amazon for 24 tracks.

Perhaps it would help me understand your point if you could give a concrete example of one of the EMI albums you think is not on iTunes only because of price.

B

iMeowbot
Oct 4, 2005, 03:42 PM
Perhaps it would help me understand your point if you could give a concrete example of one of the EMI albums you think is not on iTunes only because of price.
As above, the Special Markets labels such as Collectables largely don't participate. Those are all back catalog albums, greatest hits collections and compilations, sold at about half price. A trivial Google search will turn up hundreds of examples.

asif786
Oct 4, 2005, 04:00 PM
oh just shut up you greedy [bleeper].

thank you. i couldn't have said it better myself..

i would love to see apple pull all of their tracks from iTunes for one day..and then they'll see just what they're dealing with.

i struggle to see how the record labels could be so ungrateful to apple. they've completely transformed the entire music business..and they're still complaining..

geez, i'm not sure who i hate more now - edgar bronfman* or bill gates.

*yes, i know he isn't the EMI ceo but he made similar comments last week.

nagromme
Oct 4, 2005, 04:07 PM
"I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy."

So... raise the price? :confused:

The recording industry is starting to damage my calm.

Loge
Oct 4, 2005, 04:10 PM
"I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy."

But he does at least concede that it's a fact.

dubbz
Oct 4, 2005, 04:19 PM
"I'm not persuaded of the fact that a lower price deters piracy."

But he does at least concede that it's a fact.

Haha! Good one :D

balamw
Oct 4, 2005, 05:54 PM
As above, the Special Markets labels such as Collectables largely don't participate.
Thanks and sorry, I missed your first post in this thread.

I may be denser than usual today, but I don't see how the pricing structure is the issue keeping EMI from distributing these albums on iTMS. We've already established that the labels are free to set the price of their albums on iTMS lower than retail prices for the same music on CD and also lower than $0.99/song.

Isn't the real issue the licensing one you mentioned in passing? i.e. these albums are not currently licensed in a way that allows them to be unbundled into individual tracks at any price? Isn't this the same reason that supposedly keeps Radiohead off of iTMS? (The artists don't want their albums unbundled as individual songs.).

If that's the case, I don't see why publishing these albums as album only bundles at the same price than the value CD list price (or lower) isn't an option. That would be available for EMI Special Markets and one that iTMS is currently set up for. (NOTE: I haven't seen any albums where at least some of the tracks aren't available as individual tracks, but there's always a first, no?).

Personally, I'd even be OK with a model where new releases are only available in "album only" bundles for a while after release, say 6 months, unless specific singles are also released. This would take us back closer to the days when music was released on 45s and LPs. If you wanted the LP you got it, and if you wanted the hit single you got only that.

B

hulugu
Oct 4, 2005, 06:06 PM
There are scads of EMI albums that simply aren't available on iTunes because the Apple price would be higher than the current CD list. Apple still carry most (but not all) of those tracks, by way carrying older similar albums from the higher-priced EMI labels.

You have a good point if EMI is really interested in lower the price...Pardon me while I stop laughing...(snicker)....sorry, now there was an article earlier that mentioned that music executives wanted to raise some prices and lower others. EMI may want to lower some prices, but do you honestly think they will lower all their prices or a significant amount to make it matter? I doubt it, I think the prices for new and cool music will go up while only a few ancient back-catalog stuff will drop; and I'll end up paying out more money for nothing.

Sun Baked
Oct 4, 2005, 06:17 PM
Which is what Apple is doing, offering 2 million songs, for 99 cents per song.

The iTunes store is convenient (read: in your home)
and a good value (read: not highway robbery).

Piss off Record exec!And Napster and the record company stores are doing what to combat piracy -- offering useless subscriptions and suing people.

Yes, I think that and raising prices should help defeat piracy. :rolleyes:

Photorun
Oct 4, 2005, 07:04 PM
The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets I say steal as much music as you can, everything. Burn down the industry, ruin it, and it will return with music, musicians, and artists as the focus, not suits and lawyers. Anarchy has it's place.

macnulty
Oct 4, 2005, 08:28 PM
There are scads of EMI albums that simply aren't available on iTunes because the Apple price would be higher than the current CD list. Apple still carry most (but not all) of those tracks, by way carrying older similar albums from the higher-priced EMI labels.

That's not logical, iTunes is as much about convience as price. To offer those albums and songs for sale thru iTunes would simplely make them available for sale. A Four Tops B side song will sell for 99 cents for the convience of clicking on the buy button. Or they can keep them not available and guarantee no sales.

solvs
Oct 4, 2005, 11:21 PM
The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets I say steal as much music as you can, everything.
They aren't all white. But yeah, I agree with the rest.

Sun Baked
Oct 4, 2005, 11:46 PM
If they want more, it's time they offered more for 1.99/2.99/3.99 -- especially if the video iPod is nearly here.

Time to sell CD quality (and beyond) plus extras like music videos of the singles.

Let $1 be the small low-quality value version, and people may just pay more for HQ stuff -- of course this will put a stake in the heart of DVDs & CDs with extras.

But no, that would mean more work for the record companies. :rolleyes:

sjk
Oct 5, 2005, 01:16 AM
The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets I say steal as much music as you can, everything. Burn down the industry, ruin it, and it will return with music, musicians, and artists as the focus, not suits and lawyers. Anarchy has it's place.If you replace "America" with "The music industry" and "the system" with "the RIAA", your comments remind me of this quote I read a couple hours ago:

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
-- Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Except, maybe, it's not too early. ;)

macnulty
Oct 5, 2005, 07:22 AM
The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets I say steal as much music as you can, everything. Burn down the industry, ruin it, and it will return with music, musicians, and artists as the focus, not suits and lawyers. Anarchy has it's place.

I would have to disagree, Motown is neither white nor soulless :)

whooleytoo
Oct 5, 2005, 08:28 PM
I can think of one benefit of variable pricing. I often buy long songs (10 minutes+) off iTMS, and invariably they're only available "Album Only". If they could be sold individually for, say, 1.50 then it would actually save me money.

shamino
Oct 6, 2005, 05:00 PM
I agree. Having a single price does nothing to deter piracy, it just makes it simple for consumers to keep track of spending. What deters piracy is keeping the price of songs low enough that you reduce the incentive to steal songs to the point where most people are content to just pay for their music.
Yep. Most people swap songs via file sharing because

They don't realize it's illegal
They can't afford to buy music at current prices
The music isn't available through any other means
Civil disobedience
I should hope there aren't many people left in the first category anymore, with all the press releases and lawsuits.

People in the second category will stop when they either start earning more money, or when they can find a low-enough-cost alternative. iTMS is one such alternative.

People in the third category aren't going to change, since they have no other choice. And I can't say that I have a problem with them either. If the record labels want money for those songs, then they should publish them. Then these people pay and everyone would be happy.

I don't know how many are in the fourth category, but they seem to spend a lot of time posting to newsgroups and other internet forums. :rolleyes:
Is being an idiot now a prerequisite for working for a record company?
They're not idiots. They're former lawyers - greedy and amoral. So they don't understand anything other than raising prices and filing lawsuits.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

shamino
Oct 6, 2005, 05:09 PM
The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets...
'Scuze me, but the record industry is full of greedy, clueless, soulless suits from all races and income levels.

They're equal opportunity scumbags.

zap2
Oct 6, 2005, 05:18 PM
iTunes stop 120ish songs from being pirtated from me!

Verto
Oct 6, 2005, 05:42 PM
Yep. Most people swap songs via file sharing because

They don't realize it's illegal
They can't afford to buy music at current prices
The music isn't available through any other means
Civil disobedience
I should hope there aren't many people left in the first category anymore, with all the press releases and lawsuits.


I call BS.

1. As far as America is concerned, I don't think there is anyone who can honestly say they had no idea that downloading music, videos or software off the Internet was, if not outright illegal, than at the very least extremely questionable. Ignorance is one defense that I will not accpt.
2. They can afford the computer, and most likely the broadband internet, but not the 10 bucks for a CD?
3. Very likely in some scenarios.
4. ********. This is just a term thrown in by people who want to make themselves to be something more than lazy thieves. I used to download songs, videos and software, but I never tried to delude myself like some do, that I was somehow just being a rebel fighting the system. If you don't support what you consider high prices and unacceptable business decisions being made by a company or organization, then you boycott their products; you do not try to act high and mighty about how corrupt they are, then go and download their products off the Internet. Case in point:

The more I see the greedy, rich, white, clueless, soulless, suits running music into the ground for profit and lining them and the RIAA pockets I say steal as much music as you can, everything. Burn down the industry, ruin it, and it will return with music, musicians, and artists as the focus, not suits and lawyers. Anarchy has it's place.

Run this through the ********BeGone Widget, and you get: I'm so concerned with the wellbeing of musicians that I am going to pout about it on a Mac forum and download the music files from the Internet. That'll show em!

sjk
Oct 6, 2005, 09:22 PM
1. As far as America is concerned, I don't think there is anyone who can honestly say they had no idea that downloading music, videos or software off the Internet was, if not outright illegal, than at the very least extremely questionable. Ignorance is one defense that I will not accpt.Accept it or not, I think you're underestimating how many people are still ignorant about the "rights and wrongs" of copying content to/from the net. They just see that it's easy and possible to do. Like, someone installs a P2P app on a friend's computer and say "hey, look at all this stuff you can copy for free!" and the friend just naively goes along with it. And I've met plenty of honest, well-intending adults who share(d) software without realizing there are laws prohibiting it until I mentioned that to them. Some of them probably couldn't tell you even some simple technical details about their computers, like which operating system it runs.

Of course most of those people won't remain ignorant but many initially are. Even if/when they know better they seem to quickly forget or simply don't care, especially while it remains trivial to do. And I see how piracy preys on that kind of mainstream ignorance or lack of concern.

shamino
Oct 7, 2005, 09:49 AM
1. As far as America is concerned, I don't think there is anyone who can honestly say they had no idea that downloading music, videos or software off the Internet was, if not outright illegal, than at the very least extremely questionable. Ignorance is one defense that I will not accpt.
Did you read the rest of my post? Or did you just fire off a knee-jerk response upon seeing a list?

I said there are probably not many people left in this category anymore.

As for what people do and do not know about the law, never underestimate the ignorance of the common man. Watch Jay Leno's show for a few weeks. He routinely runs a segment where he asks random strangers obvious questions ('like who is the Donald Rumsfeld") and gets tons of incorrect (usually hilariously incorrect) answers.

So it would not surprise me in the least to find people who don't realize swapping songs is illegal.
2. They can afford the computer, and most likely the broadband internet, but not the 10 bucks for a CD?
What makes you think they bought the computer with their own money? A lot of file sharing is done by students, where the computer was purchased by parents or provided by the university, and where the internet connecton comes with a dorm room.
4. ********. This is just a term thrown in by people who want to make themselves to be something more than lazy thieves. I used to download songs, videos and software, but I never tried to delude myself like some do, that I was somehow just being a rebel fighting the system. If you don't support what you consider high prices and unacceptable business decisions being made by a company or organization, then you boycott their products; you do not try to act high and mighty about how corrupt they are, then go and download their products off the Internet.
I'm just calling this one as I see it. There are a lot of people who claim to be deliberately infringing copyright out of a sincere desire to hurt the record companies, even though they (claim to) have no interest in the music itself.

You and I are in agreement here. I think these people are making stuff up to try and justify acts of piracy that they'd be engaged in for other reasons (no money, or they think it's "cool" to "stick it to the man".) But I don't have the time or desire to get into a spitting match with them. If pointless argument is something you enjoy, you're welcome to try.

Verto
Oct 7, 2005, 10:27 AM
I wasn't necessarily arguing with you, just responding to the list which, yes, I did notice you put up and debated yourself.