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Apple wins iTunes pricing battle
Four largest record companies defeated in behind-the-scenes battle to charge different prices for songs; downloads still 99 cents, paper says.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Apple Computer said that it has renewed contracts with the four largest record companies, ensuring that songs will still be sold at 99 cents each, according to a news report Tuesday.

The record companies had been pushing Apple to allow different pricing for tracks, especially the ability to charge higher prices for new material from top-selling artists, said the Financial Times.

The companies - Universal, Warner Music (Research), EMI and Sony BMG - were forced to accept Apple CEO Steve Jobs' pricing because the iTunes music store has so much influence over the U.S. download market, the report said. The iTunes music store accounts for 80 percent of paid downloads.

The newspaper says that some labels were considering signing short-term contracts with Apple now and then bringing up the issue again in the near future.

Online music sales increased 194 percent last year to 352 million units, according to the report.

Shares of Apple (Research) were at $69.60 before the market's open Tuesday.


Warner Music the Remix: The company's CEO has a plan to lead it through the MP3 era. Full story hereTop of page

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