Universal Music’s Morris, Dupri speak out on iTunes | iLounge News


Universal Music’s Morris, Dupri speak out on iTunes

Recently, two executives from Universal Music Group — CEO Doug Morris, and Island Urban Records (which is owned by UMG) president Jermaine Dupri — have spoken out against Apple, Steve Jobs, and the iTunes ecosystem. Morris, in an interview with Wired, and Dupri, in a blog posting on The Huffington Post.

Morris, who once called MP3 players “repositories for stolen music,” responded to the suggestion that the labels allowed Apple CEO Steve Jobs to create “in effect an Apple Walkman that played only Apple cassettes,” by saying, “We were just grateful that someone was selling online. The problem is, he became a gatekeeper. We make a lot of money from him, and suddenly you’re wearing golden handcuffs. We would hate to give up that income.” This past summer, UMG decided not to renew its long-term iTunes contract, instead offering its catalog on a month-to-month basis, and then announced that it would sell DRM-free tracks through online stores other than iTunes, part of an effort by Morris to lessen Apple’s dominance in the market. Morris is currently working on his “Total Music” initiative, which seeks to join the major labels and other hardware companies to create a new line of devices that offer unlimited music for the life of the device, by adding the cost of the service to the price of the player. Unfortunately, the service will almost certainly require DRM, which may lead to even more illegal music downloads. “Locking things up is actually good for piracy,” says David Pakman, CEO of eMusic.

Dupri, meanwhile, argues that Apple should allow artists to decide whether to sell their album as a whole, or to allow individual songs to be purchased as singles. Dupri suggests that Apple needs the record labels more than they need Apple, stating, “If anything, WE made iTunes… So if we as artists, producers and label executives stand up, those guys at Apple can either cooperate, or have nothing for people to buy and download on their iPods.” He goes on, saying, “...Universal sells one out of every three records. All it’ll take is for Warner Music to say, ‘You know what, I’m with you,’ for us to shut ‘em down. No more iPods! They won’t have nothin’ to play on their players! We can take back the power if we’re willing to sacrifice some sales to make our point.”

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Wow, these guys are deluded.

It’s jealousy. Sell your music how you want, but it’s probably best to keep the consumer in mind. Despite Apple having faults of it’s own, they obviously put the customer first when it comes to how they do business. They realize the customer makes their business. The labels seem to have a personal vendetta against iTunes. Yeah, take away my ability to buy a song for $.99 and instead force me to buy the whole album.

NOTE: Many buy online not just for convenience, but because they can buy that one song they want without buying stuff they DON’T want. THIS is what’s supposed to decrease piracy?

Posted by Germansuplex on November 28, 2007 at 2:18 PM (CST)


We’ve now posted an editorial on the subject:


Posted by Charles Starrett on November 28, 2007 at 3:34 PM (CST)


what they should be really afraid of is the russian sites. i get all my cds for $2 each and it’s legal.

hiphop is dying that’s why you have the greedy tards like dupri and jayzee whining. less sales = less bling.

Posted by ah on November 28, 2007 at 3:55 PM (CST)


Are these execs idiots?  They have no clue how consumers use iPods.  I’ve skimmed through the other comments and they echo my feelings on the subject so I won’t repeat.  Every time one of these execs mouths off you have to wonder:

1) Do they realize that most folks put music on the iPod via ripping their own CDs or getting MP3s from other DRM free sources.

2) Creating a rival to iTunes that doesn’t offer DRM free MP3s won’t work because they won’t play on iPods (hello Napster and Rhapsody).

Posted by Dennis S. on November 28, 2007 at 7:57 PM (CST)


The way I see it, there are two major obstacles keeping UMG from shutting down ITMS and implementing ‘album-only’ sales. The first is the Compact Disc audio standard, and the second is decryption software like FU4WM.

Why must the labels insist on re-learning the same lessons over and over again? They should be on their hands and knees, groveling at the feet of Steve Jobs, because without iTunes and 99-cent singles, illegal distribution would be much higher than it is now.

Long before the iPod or iTunes, people had already grown sick of giving $15 to a label/artist capable of producing only one decent song out of every 10-15 attempts.

I say give ‘em the rope, maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll finally hang themselves!

Posted by fondy44 on November 29, 2007 at 2:50 PM (CST)

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