Apple pressuring labels to drop Amazon MP3’s Daily Deal

Apple has recently been pressuring the major music labels to stop participating in the Amazon MP3 Daily Deal promotions, according to a Billboard report. Citing multiple anonymous label executives, the report claims that Amazon originally launched the promotions as a way to drive traffic to the store, but more recently began asking for one-day exclusives prior to the featured albums’ release dates and digital marketing support from the labels in exchange for featuring the albums as Daily Deals. “When that happened,” the executive said, “iTunes said, ‘Enough of that [crap].’ ” According to the report, Apple has since been urging labels to rethink their participation in the Daily Deal, even going so far as to withdraw market support for certain releases featured in Amazon’s promotion. In response, Amazon has reportedly been fine-tuning the promotion, agreeing to forgo the one-day exclusive window on new releases, but Apple and iTunes have continued to voice displeasure over other aspects of the promotion, including label-provided marketing support.

As a result of the tension between iTunes and Amazon, most labels are now said to be hesitant to allow new releases to be part of the Daily Deals promotion; one major label head of sales said it is now sometimes sensible to partner with Amazon on releases that might not receive the same marketing support on the iTunes Store. “The whole issue is a kind of interesting dynamic,” a senior major-label distribution executive said. “Amazon is fighting a guerrilla war against iTunes, and now iTunes is getting frustrated because they work hard to set up and promote a release weeks in advance of the street date, and then lo and behold, Amazon jumps in there with this deal of the day and scrapes off some of the cream.”

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