I am a bit ambivalent about all the issues Apple has been having with content providers for pricing on iTunes. Apple wants to keep the pricing model simpler. Same price for popular items as for obscure ones. I personally love that model and I know lot of other people do too. It is simple and it works and you are not constantly worried about whether you got the right price or not. The prices don't constantly change on you and make you look stupid if you bought something when it was popular. In today's cluttered world it is a welcome simplicity.

Content providers of course see their content as cash cows. If a song is big let me charge as much as I possibly can and make as much money with it as I possibly can because only about 10% of the content I produce actually makes any money for me and really subsidizes the cost of other unpopular stuff that may have a smaller but sometimes dedicated following. Also, after all it is my content so I should be able to sell it at whatever price I want to whether or not my intention is noble and I want to subsidize fringe stuff by cashing in on mainstream stuff or whether I am just a greedy bastard.

What iTunes is doing is similar in a sense to what Wal-mart does in its stores: pushing content providers (manufactures) to subscribe to its cost model. While Wal-mart's model is strictly about reducing prices Apple's model is about keeping prices consistent. Both models if I really think about it are an attempt to help the customer -- by either giving them a better deal or a less confusing experience. Both in a sense are stifling for the content providers and are dictatorial and both are practicing monopsony.

I love the Apple model and hate the Wal-mart model almost instinctively. However, thinking about it some more they are really doing the same thing and hence the ambivalence.