Universal and other major labels contemplating iTunes alternative

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Los Angeles (CA) – Universal Music Group and other major labels are thinking about taking on iTunes with their own, almost free, music service.  According to Business Week, the “Total Music” service would let subscribers download all the music they want from Universal Music, Sony and possibly other labels.

Total music would be bundled with popular MP3 players be free for several months.   Afterwards, subscribers would pay a modest $5 dollars a month.  The service could also be incorporated into mobile phones, with the subscription fees added to the phone bill.

According to Business Week, Sony is interested in joining the program and Universal is in talks with Warner Brothers.  There’s also a rumor that Universal’s chief executive, Doug Morris, has spoken with Microsoft’s Bill Gates recently.

Currently the majority of online digital music sales are controlled by Apple’s iTunes service.  Record labels have often complained openly that this gives Apple too much leverage over pricing.   iTunes prices songs at 99 cents each and usually $9.99 per album.