PARIS, AP – Apple Computer Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs vowed Tuesday to resist music companies” "greedy" demands for increases in the prices of music downloads and warned that any such steps would encourage piracy.
Jobs, speaking before the opening of the Apple Expo in Paris, said some record companies were pushing for higher prices on the company”s iTunes Music Store Web sites.
By cutting out manufacturing and marketing costs, record companies already make more profit by selling a song through iTunes than on CD, Apple”s co-founder and CEO said.
"So if they want to raise the prices it just means they”re getting a little greedy," he said.
Big music companies are seeking to improve the terms of their deals with Apple as contracts come up for renewal for the U.S. iTunes site, which generally charges 99 cents per song. Prices are typically higher in Europe, Japan and other regions.
Apple launched its new Japanese iTunes site in August without Sony BMG”s music catalog as negotiations continued. Observers say the same issues are likely to surface between the two companies as their U.S. contract approaches expiration, and Warner Music Group Corp. is also said to be seeking price increases.
A spokeswoman for Warner Music declined to comment. Sony BMG, EMI Group PLC and Universal Music Group did not immediately return calls.
Jobs indicated he plans to stand firm. "Customers think the price is really good where it is," he said.
"We”re trying to compete with piracy, we”re trying to pull people away from piracy and say, `You can buy these songs legally for a fair price,”" he added. "But if the price goes up a lot, they”ll go back to piracy. Then everybody loses."
Apple has sold about 22 million of its iPod digital music players and more than 500 million songs through the iTunes Music Store. The service accounts for 82 percent of all legally downloaded music in the United States.