We've heard rumors about this before, but now the New York Times (via MacRumors) is pretty much coming right out and saying it. Apple was ready to give up their uniform pricing model ($0.99 per song) over a year ago but they wanted not only DRM-free licensing in return, but over-the-air (cellular) iPhone downloads. It seems many, including Apple and the music industry, think that's the Next Big Thing.
Still, things were tense down to the last few moments before the big Macworld 2009 announcement:
All the labels agreed except Sony Music. Its chairman, Mr. Schmidt-Holtz, wanted the pricing to go into effect right after the announcement, while Mr. Jobs wanted a longer time horizon. According to a person briefed on the telephone call, Mr. Schmidt-Holtz and Mr. Jobs had a heated exchange by phone on Christmas Eve. Eventually, Sony gave in and agreed to a longer waiting period.
With Steve Jobs (the smartest man in music?) on leave of absence, however, don't think things will get any easier for the historically out-of-touch music industry. Insiders report that others inside Apple, including iTunes VP Eddy Cue, follow Steve Jobs' line.
Apple and music aside, what does this mean for -- you know -- the end users? How important is downloading music over the cell network to you? Will it make you buy more music? And will some songs being cheaper, and others more expensive, change you buying habits as well?