Apple Hires a Top Legal Eagle from Warner
A report in Billboard magazine
says that Apple has hired one of Warner Music Group's top negotiators to work on closing deals with record labels. Elliott Peters, the senior VP and head of digital legal affairs, will be corporate attorney director for iTunes Europe and Internet services, in Apple's Luxembourg office.
Billboard claims to have obtained "an internal memo" from someone at Warner Music Group (WMG) announcing the move. According to the memo, Peters has "had a hand in almost every major WMG digital deal" since he was made the record label's top "digital lawyer" in 2003. Peters came to WMG in 2000 and took on "an M&A role" (Mergers & Acquisitions), working on "a number of important corporate transactions regarding Columbia House Music and Video Clubs, Word Entertainment and Warner Bros. Publications."
Negotiating with record labels would be increasingly important for Apple if they are move forward with a rumored implementation of streaming "cloud-based" iTunes. Though hints of this technology (such as the company's acquisition of Lala.com
last year) have been in evidence for some time, nothing has come of it yet. Reportedly, the hangup is due to licensing issues with record labels.
The stakes are high. Apple is the largest US music retailer with iTunes, and as Steve Jobs noted when he unveiled the new iTunes 10 logo - sales on the iTunes Store are projected to be larger than all CD sales sometime in the spring of next year.