The New York Times is reporting that Universal Music Group has decided to not renew their annual contract with Apple to distribute their music on iTunes. Whilst Universal may still offer music on iTunes on a per-artist basis, Apple won’t have access to the entire catalogue. Moreover, Universal can pull out whenever they want since they won’t be under contract.
Crazy thing is that neither side would appear to win from this, never mind the general public – this is a large chunk of iTunes library vanishing, but also represents a large outlet for Universal. More significantly, if you are an iPod user, this may deprive you of Universal artists from your playlist on your iPod, unless of course you either elect to buy a physical CD in order to transfer (or turn to illegal download options).
Could this be Universal simply flexing its’ muscles to extract a better deal from iTunes, which could take a variety of forms? Is it a retaliatory or pre-emptive strike?
Manufacturer v Distributor. A battle for control or survival?