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Universal Does Not Renew with Apple…At Least not on Same Terms…

By - July 02, 2007

Remember my prediction from 2006:

8. iTunes will begin to get the speed wobbles as the music industry decides it wants to control its distribution just like in the good old days.

Well, it didn’t happen right away, but check this out from Forbes:

It’s about time.

That’d be the opinion of any sane music industry observer looking at Universal Music Group’s decision not to renew its annual contract with Apple’s iTunes Store.

The move means that Universal will treat Apple (nasdaq: AAPL – news – people ) like pretty much any other retailer it does business with, marking a first step in restoring some balance in the relationship between Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and the struggling recording industry.

A revolution it isn’t. Vivendi’s Universal Music will continue providing iTunes with access to its new releases and older catalog titles. Apple isn’t about to drop the inventory of the world’s largest music company from iTunes. And consumers won’t notice any difference.

But it will give Universal some breathing room if, say, a big media company approaches them with a promising new way to distribute music digitally and wants to provide some oomph to its launch with exclusive, limited-time access to new releases from the label’s hottest-selling artists.

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