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Apple sabotaging Amazon MP3's Daily Deal?

updated 07:50 pm EST, Tue March 2, 2010

Record labels urged not to participate in promo

Apple has allegedly begun urging record labels to decline participation in Amazon's Daily Deal promotions, an unnamed major-label executive told Although record labels initially did not interact with Amazon for the promotion, it has since evolved into a more complex cooperation aimed at exclusive terms and special marketing.

Amazon now reportedly negotiates with the music companies to obtain a one-day exclusive before an album's street date, effectively giving the online retailer a head start on first-day sales. Vampire Weekend's "Contra" was pushed as a Daily Deal available for $4 a day ahead of retailers and iTunes. The promotion helped drive first-week sales to 124,000, with digital downloads accounting for 60 percent.

Although Apple previously allowed record labels free rein to market and promote albums on their own terms, the recent report suggests that relationship has changed due to the Daily Deal. After Amazon pushed for an exclusive window and digital marketing support on bands' MySpace pages and websites, "iTunes said, 'Enough of that s***,'" according to the record label executive.

Several sources claim that iTunes representatives have been pushing the record labels to opt out of the Daily Deal promotions. Apple allegedly removes iTunes marketing support for albums included in Amazon's promotion. The persuasion appears to have worked in certain cases, driving executives from Capitol, Capitol Nashville, and Jive to prevent several albums from becoming Daily Deals, according to the sources.

The report has expanded the wide range of criticism that many record executives have aimed at iTunes and Apple, as the company maintains its dominant position in the MP3 distribution business. "They are... diverting their energy from 'let's make this machine better' to 'let's protect what we got,'" said a major-label executive.

Despite the criticism, the Daily Deal promotion is reportedly still viewed by many labels provide promotional opportunities for artists that may not have been considered for additional iTunes marketing.

"Amazon is fighting a guerrilla war against iTunes, and now iTunes is getting frustrated because they work hard to set up and promote a release weeks in advance of the street date, and then lo and behold, Amazon jumps in there with this deal of the day and scrapes off some of the cream," another record-label executive added.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MhzDoesMatter

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kinda funny

    I don't get into the whole good guy/bad guy thinking with companies. So to me, its kinda amusing to see Apple wielding power and influence, even in some questionable situations. Its just amazing that the beleagured Apple Computers is now a capable "bully." Truly a corporate cinderella story.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazon is desperate

    not Apple... but Apple will protect their own turf.

  1. galley

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes sense to me

    Why should Apple spend a lot of money promoting a song or album, and then have Amazon reap the rewards with its exclusive deal? Makes sense that Apple would withhold promotion of a product that another company is going to have first dibs on.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tower Records

    At the end of the day, both Amazon and iTunes are the online equivalents of Tower Records - what this story really shows is how much backroom business goes on in getting your product promoted, rather than simply available, in either store.

    What we really need is a move towards iTunes and Amazon MP3 to become something like wholesale distributors, and let lots of different retail channels flourish.

  1. Jittery Jimmy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Alternate Headline

    "Amazons 'one day monopoly' profits at risk by Apple marketing move"

  1. mytdave

    Joined: Dec 1969


    watch it

    I can see how this: "Amazon is fighting a guerrilla war against iTunes, and now iTunes is getting frustrated because they work hard to set up and promote a release weeks in advance of the street date, and then lo and behold, Amazon jumps in there with this deal of the day and scrapes off some of the cream"... would make Apple mad.

    But watch out Apple, you are dangerously treading into the territory of turf protection instead of better mouse trap building. That's a M$ move, don't go there. If you've signed an exclusivity deal, then you have room to complain, but you don't get to complain about open competition, even if you put in a lot of hard work. Sorry your feelings got hurt, but competition is there for a reason, and your customers are perfectly happy that you're not the only game in town.

    Watch your actions Apple. If you start unduly pressuring partners you could start attracting antitrust attention, and you'll generate ill will, and then you won't have the support you need when you want to pursue new avenues. You are not an island.

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