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Sony exec aims at eventually pulling music from iTunes

updated 12:10 pm EST, Fri February 11, 2011

Companies 'held ransom' by Apple, says Ephraim

The CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Michal Ephraim, says his company is eventually hoping to stop selling music through the iTunes Store. Sony has been globally rolling out a service called Music Unlimited, which differs from the iTunes Store in being based on streaming subscriptions. "If we do [succeed with Music Unlimited], then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?" Ephraim tells Australian newspaper The Age. "Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that's the format right now."

"Publishers are being held ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold," the executive adds. The iTunes Store is the dominant vehicle of music distribution in the US, giving Apple a level of control which has engendered resentment from record labels. One long-running complaint was Apple's insistence on a flat 99-cent pricetag for songs; extended pressure was needed before the company eventually allowed some newer or extremely popular songs to be priced at $1.29. A minority of tracks were discounted to 69 cents.

Sony's resentment may stem in part from Apple's rejection of the Sony Reader app at the App Store. The company was among the first to discover that Apple has changed the way it handles publishers, no longer allowing them to sell books, magazines or newspapers via an outside storefront without matching in-app options. While also ushering in subscription support, the move may hurt publishers by diverting more revenue to Apple while also hampering data harvesting used to sell ads.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Thinking about closing the barn doors....

    Almost a decade after the horses have long left the barn.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nothing but greed.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still buy CDs

    until lossless downloads become available...

    I just bought a SONY cam & it has the most confused set of touchscreen controls I've ever seen - and I am no newbie - to me there may be a fundamental design culture or perhaps executive ego problem at SONY - the cam may go back very soon - good luck with a music store HA - how many artists will stick around if iTunes is thwarted...?

    good design = sales

  1. icewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sony wants complete control

    I'd rather buy what I want, when I want it than constantly paying a subscription fee. FAIL on Sony.

  1. ctt1wbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And then....?

    What about Walmart and Kmart and Target and every other single brick and mortar retailer?

  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You have to wonder... Sony selects its executives.
    We have had the rootkit, then the disastrous handling of the uproar. We have had the forced PS3 downgrade, followed by the prosecution of the programmer who reversed it, and the incredibly absurd demand that YouTube name all the people who might have seen the video.
    Now this.
    From the executives of a supposedly forward looking technology company?
    Do they understand anything about the current state of technology?
    Do they realize the damage they are doing to their brand?
    Can I have a C level job there?
    I promise to do much better.

  1. doctor9

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Like I give a rat's behind about publishers! I listen to MUSIC...made by MUSICIANS. Publisher is another way of saying music mogul...and I could care less if they make a single cent off my purchase.'s been about 5 years now of Sony and other big names trying to get traction with subscription music services. How's that going, fellows? Yeah...sucking wind, ain't it?!


  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It is not Apple

    Publishers are not being held ransom by Apple. They are forced to respond to what consumers want. Apple simply happens to be delivering what these consumers want.
    They used to be the ones holding artists, distributors, and consumers ransom, and they don't like that they are losing their grip. But that's how a market economy is supposed to work.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Am I the only one that hears the "Monorail" song from the Simpsons, every time any of the media company execs, their lobbyists, or bought-and-paid-for congress-critters open their yaps?

    Mono.. Doh!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: It is not Apple

    Publishers are not being held ransom by Apple. They are forced to respond to what consumers want. Apple simply happens to be delivering what these consumers want.

    Um, no. Being the one with content to sell, you, theoretically, have the power to decide how you want to sell it (you know, this is your argument as to why Apple can decide what is or isn't on the AppStore).

    However, Apple got so powerful in music that it forced the content holders to abide by how Apple's rules and costs. How long did it take the labels to finally get Apple to allow tiered pricing for songs? Apple used its power to keep them from selling how they wanted to sell.

    And yet Apple isn't using its power to force their way. Nah.....

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