Apple in Mobile Music Negotiations... for WWDC?
NYTimes' Technology blog reports that Apple is currently in active negotiations with music labels about providing more mobile music content on their iTunes store.
One executive quoted specifically states that "[Apple wants] a big launch in June", presumably referring to the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) scheduled to start on June 9th 2008. However, since negotiations only started a few weeks ago, the deals may not be in place in time for a WWDC announcement.
Apple reportedly wants to expand its Ringtone library and introduce the sale of "Answer Tones". Answer Tones are customized sounds played to callers instead of the traditional ringing sound.
Another area of negotiation is the distribution of iTunes songs over the cellular network. For now, the iPhone allows you to purchase iTunes music only over Wi-fi networks. This had been thought to be a limitation of the slower EDGE data network, but it appears this mobile music distribution must be specifically negotiated with the record labels. Traditionally, these over-the-air cellular music sales have carried a premium over the traditional internet distribution, and the music labels are requesting a higher price for these sales. The expected addition of faster 3G data service on the upcoming iPhone will certainly increase consumer demand for over-the-air iTunes downloads.