Over the past few days, there’s been some noise about how Apple may finally begin selling DRM-free iTunes Store music from the other three major record labels, not just EMI. The reports first surfaced when some DRM-free tracks began appearing in the store from major artists on other labels, such as Phil Collins, and that the iTunes Plus section momentarily disappeared. There were also some rumors going around that the three labels were in talks with Apple. But as Macworld reports, there’s just not a lot in it for the record labels or for Apple for the time being—so we shouldn’t hold our breath.
“The record companies know… it’s in their interest to keep [competitors like Napster and Rhapsody] around and at least marginally healthy, if only to keep Apple on its toes,” the report said. “But it’s a win-win for the labels right now: they sell tracks by the commercial freighter-load via iTunes, and those folks who will under no circumstances pay for DRM-encoded music will either buy CDs or go to one of iTunes’s competitors. Either way, the labels get paid. They’ve got no incentive to hand over the keys to the kingdom. The problem is that the iTunes Store is just too successful—and why mess with success?”