Apple wants to expand the iPhone ringtone business. Negotiations with record companies to increase the number of songs that can be transformed into files to be used as a ringing tone for his cell phone would have started a few weeks ago and Cupertino would like to close them before WWDC. Information in this regard was reported by the New York Times whose journalist Saul Hansell allegedly had news directly from the parties that are discussing the topic.
The discussion, as mentioned, would essentially focus on the number of iTunes songs that can be turned into ringtones. At the moment this opportunity is limited both in number and in the geographical area. Not all songs can be uploaded to iPhone and this opportunity is reserved for American customers only. With the international expansion of the iPhone, this situation would not be considered more satisfactory by Apple and for this reason it would be putting pressure on record companies to strengthen the offer. Alongside the real songs to be transformed into Apple ringtones, the NY Times always says, he would also like to sell ringtones, which are not always melodies and are not obtained from songs directly, a product that often has even higher costs.
A second element of the strategy goes for the sale of ringtones and songs (including iTunes songs to be used for their play lists) on the cellular network. This opportunity is substantially precluded at this time due to the reduced speed of the Edge network, but with the launch of the 3G phone things, at least from a technical point of view, would change. But there would also be a regulatory obstacle to overcome, due to the fact that record companies claim to be paid more for music sold 'over the air' on cellular networks.
Apple is dealing with the negotiations with determination because, the New York Times says, there is a serious risk of losing the train especially in Europe where Nokia and Sony Ericsson, but also several cell phone operators, already have a robust business infrastructure to which tip Cupertino. Not having the ability to sell music on a cellular network and having a reduced number of songs to turn into ringtones could turn into image damage compared to competitors.
The record companies, the American newspaper points out, could take the opportunity of Apple's haste to close an agreement to scratch the practice of music at a fixed price. Songs with a different cost depending on the release date or popularity, would also be favored by the fact that Apple has already taken a step back on its positions in the video and film sector. In any case, at least at the moment, Cupertino does not seem to have yet metabolized the idea of selling songs at variable prices.
According to the newspaper Apple does not seem to have even even seriously taken the road of subscription music even though Universal Music, the record company with which Jobs is experiencing the most conflicting relationship (no long-term agreement, the possibility for Universal to make on competing stores iTunes Store offers different and better than those practiced on the Apple store), it is putting a lot of pressure. At the moment Apple wants to pay much less than what record companies require and therefore the prospect of a very distant agreement.