61.5 F
New York
Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeArchiveFinally Labels Take On Dominance Of iTunes

Finally Labels Take On Dominance Of iTunes


Related stories

Apple Vision Pro: The Next Big Flop In Apple’s Hall Of Shame?

Apple is one of the greatest companies on earth. They produce products that are unequalled in consumer technology. But like any company, they release products that are flops in the marketplace. Apple, unlike a lot of other companies, knows how to bury their stiffs like they never existed.

Station Narva 2023: Lost In Transition

The Music Void attended the sixth edition of Station...

Why You Should Invest In AI Over The Metaverse

In today's rapidly advancing technological landscape, businesses are constantly seeking ways to gain a competitive edge. Among the emerging options, artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse have garnered significant attention. However, when it comes to investing their resources, businesses should prioritize AI over the metaverse.

Music Streaming Industry: A Saturation Showdown Is On The Horizon

The music streaming industry has witnessed remarkable growth over the past decade, with streaming services becoming the primary mode of music consumption for millions worldwide. However, with rapid expansion come concerns of potential market saturation and challenges related to subscription models.

Don’t Trust Your Spotify Algorithm. Trust Your Heart.

Researchers in sunny California have turned the age-old question of "Can machines predict hit songs?" into a musical rollercoaster ride. Forget about musical fortune tellers; these scientists at Claremont Graduate University have put AI to the test, trying to predict the next chart-topping hit with the help of your heart rate.

It is heartening to read the recent news that UMG is taking on the dominance of iTunes and attempting to help create a more level playing field in terms of digital retail stores and offering DRM free tracks to music consumers. 

Instead of strengthening Steve Jobs and co.’s hands, much as EMI did by enabling iTunes to sell DRM free tracks from its catalogue, UMG has decided to use its catalogue as leverage to pry away iTunes dominance. It has achieved this by allowing almost every digital retail store to have access to sell its DRM free tracks for the next six months as a trial.

UMG has reinforced its commitment to levelling the playing field within digital retail space for music by also keeping the price for both DRM and DRM free tracks the same. This pricing difference in comparison to the iTunes model is a key USP of UMGs move and it will be interesting to see which way iTunes moves in reaction to this price competition in the DRM free tracks space.

In any other industry where one player had over 80% market share, whether that be in America or the EU regulators would insist it was in breach of competition regulation and ensure dominance was broken up to allow more competition as more competition is good for the consumer. As such I ask this question of both the American and EU competition regulators; when are you going to insist on iTunes opening up its DRM? As it is this, which protects the dominance of iTunes and creates the monopoly that they currently have within the marketplace.

I would go even further to state that it is the hardware interoperability issues which drive piracy more than simple label DRM (which is generally only used for payment tracking to ensure both label and its artists are paid correctly). UMG has made the first move by leveraging ownership of its music catalogues, so it will be interesting see what direction both WMG and SonyBMG will move in the DRM free track space? One can only hope they too will follow the UMG move on both levels; price and anyone but iTunes model?

Finally, do not get me wrong, I use apple products (although not iTunes or an iPod) yet I do think it is time that labels use the true leverage power of ownership of music and state to iTunes that we will only give you the right to sell DRM free tracks if you open up the iTunes DRM so all consumers no matter what digital music player they own can play tracks purchased from the iTunes store. I’m very confident such a move would also be in the long-term interests of both the music industry and consumers as a whole.


  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here