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
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.