Steve Jobs to Labels: Just Say No to Greed

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The major music labels must resist the urge to get greedy with online downloads, specifically downloads at the iTunes Music Store, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Mr. Jobs said that he will be resisting the labels, who have been urging the online music leader to raise its prices. The prime reason cited by Mr. Jobs in his comments is his belief that higher prices will turn consumers away from legal downloads, and back towards piracy.

"Weire trying to compete with piracy, weire trying to pull people away from piracy and say, iYou can buy these songs legally for a fair price,i" he said during a press conference in Paris ahead of the opening of Apple Expo. "But if the price goes up a lot, theyill go back to piracy. Then everybody loses."

Mr. Jobs further drew a line in the sand by pointing out that record labels already make more profit for each 99 cent downloads through services such as the iTMS and its competitors than they do from traditional CD sales.

With digital distribution, record labels face none of the inventory issues involved with managing physical inventory, and stock never goes out of date.

"So if they want to raise the prices it just means theyire getting a little greedy," he told reporters.

Those are strong words for a public venue, but the stakes involved are enormous. Apple has sold more than 500 million songs, which is the equivalent of more than 40 million CDs. That makes Apple one of the major players in the music industry, and one of that industryis most important sales outlets.

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