UMG decides to vent its frustrations in public.

In August, Apple Inc. publicly denounced NBC Universal's request for a "dramatic price increase" in its TV content which it attributed to the company's split from iTunes.

Now Vivendi's Universal Music Group (UMG), which holds a 20 percent interest in NBC Universal, has some harsh words of its own for Apple.

Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy spoke to reporters at a gathering of French media journalists. "The split between Apple and (music) producers is indecent ... Our contracts give too good a share to Apple," said Levy.

UMG, the world's largest record company, gets approximately 70 cents out of iTunes 99 cent download price, or €0.70 of the €0.99 download price in Europe.

Vivendi's Levy also stated that he would like to see a differentiated pricing system, which would give record companies flexibility to make hot releases have a higher premium in costs, with older classic content being available at lower prices.

Vivendi currently has a month-to-month contract with iTunes, after it declined to renew its former year-long contract. Vivendi has not publicly stated whether it will ditch iTunes entirely, but it is in talks with other distributors.

The company has moved a large amount of its music library onto the ad-sponsored free download service, SpiralFrog, however.  SpiralFrog, which just officially launched this month, offers DRM protected tracks at no price, possibly undercutting the sales of iTunes tracks which carry Apple's proprietary DRM format.

Apple has not publicly responded to Vivendi UMG's comments.  UMG's content is currently still available for download at iTunes.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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