Jobs on Record Execs: "They're greedy."

As we reported August 29, Sony BMG and the Warner Music Group, among others, have begun questioning the now defacto per song price of 99¢ set by Apple's iTunes Music Store.

On September 20, Apple CEO Steve Jobs weighed in on that question. "If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy," Jobs said. "If the price goes up, [consumers] will go back to piracy and everybody loses."

Hmmm. We agree that consumers probably would feel misused if the prices went up, but we aren't so certain that downloading "piracy" caused all of the woes the record industry pins on it. Yes, we do think one reason for iTunes' success—82% of the download market—is consumers' perception that the price is right, but iTunes is also ubiquitous, easy to use, and easy to navigate—all features that appeal to purchasers who got tired of jumping through hoops to find the music they wanted.

Under the iTunes model, record labels receive 70¢ of the 99¢ purchase price, which beats the heck out of the return on a physical CD of the same product. We'd have to agree with Jobs' assessment, although we do note that it doesn't seem to leave much money (4–7¢ per song) for the artists who actually made the product the record industry and iTunes are selling.

Interestingly, Jobs was less forgiving about reports of pirated copies of Apple's OSX operating system in development for the company's soon-to-be-released Intel processor-based machines (translation: it'll work on PCs). "Theft is bad—you don't want to burn in hell." Nice talk for a Buddhist, as ars technica observed.