Universal Not Renewing iTunes Contract?

1 Jul ’07

Drudge is reporting (without sources) that Universal has given Apple notice of termination: “Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music corporation, notified Apple that it will not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes… Developing…”

Update: The NYT describes the current contract as “annual” and says Universal wants instead to sell music to Apple “at will”. The WSJ says Universal “hopes to go to a short-term sales agreement rather than a contract that lasted more than a year.” Reuters:

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, has declined to sign a long-term deal with Apple Inc.’s iTunes music store, leaving open the possibility for exclusive deals with other services, an industry source said on Sunday.

Universal will continue to sell music and videos of artists including 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Black Eyed Peas via iTunes on a month-to-month basis, rather than be locked in to a two-year agreement Apple had proposed, the source said.

More brinkmanship, I’d say.

Updater: TechCrunch wonders if this is goodbye (“Adieu Perhaps?”) – puh-leese (and honestly, “But it is easy to work out what it’s all about: greed.”? Groan). I wish folks would stop scaring the children and linkbaiting the ‘tropolis. 15% of Universal’s music revenue comes from online, and Apple owns online. Universal isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

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