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McDonald's Denies Deal With iTunes 170

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the fiction-better-than-truth dept.
fdiv_bug writes "Turns out, according to a press release, that the iTunes Music Store/McDonald's deal mentioned earlier today was only a rumor. A swing and a miss for the New York Post." It sounded pretty plausible, even if the cost was roughly 50% more than McDonald's usual yearly advertising expenditures.
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McDonald's Denies Deal With iTunes

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) * on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:34AM (#7414466) Homepage Journal
    do deals? Announce a deal idea on /., watch the community debate it, get a bunch of ideas from it. Free brainstorming from the /. community.

    1. Invent boy band

    2. Tie download of boy band song to Happy Meals

    3. Profit!
  • by corebreech (469871) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:35AM (#7414470) Journal
    I happen to know that the deal was for real, but that the contract was stored on an external FireWire drive that was connected to a iBook running Panther [yahoo.com], which is the same thing as saying it was deleted.

    (or was it lost when saved using Panther's new FileVault feature [yahoo.com], which acts as an auxiliary trash can? To be honest, I forget now.)
  • Oh well, there's always Pepsi starting in February...

    David
  • Damn... (Score:5, Funny)

    by GregThePaladin (696772) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:36AM (#7414483) Homepage Journal
    That might have gave me a reason to eat sometrhing other than ramen.

    Not that McDonalds is much better. Or any better, actually.

  • by GabrielF (636907) <GJFishman AT comcast DOT net> on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:37AM (#7414489)
    This was a definite non-denial denial. "There are no agreements to announce" doesn't say anything about agreements under consideration, etc.
    Also, I seriously doubt that McDonalds would pay $1 billion for $1 billion songs, first there's gotta be a volume discount in the billions, second, not every song is going to be redeemed so it doesn't make any sense that they would pay for the songs that don't get bought.
    • by dbirchall (191839) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:56AM (#7414573) Journal
      It's such fun to watch people waffle between "this is the unadulterated truth" and "this is completely false" when something is merely unconfirmed.

      (Okay, it's not fun. Wake me when it's over.)

    • The incremental cost to give away the songs is negligible.. it's digital.

      IT works for both companies: Think of the extra exposure it would give itunes.... McDonalds is HUGE.

      If MCDonalds does it... everyone on earth will hear about Itunes, and inquire as to what it is, etc.

      • The cost would be negligible if it worked like that, but what Pepsi did, and what McDonalds is preported to do, is pay for the songs just as everyone else with no discounts.
        Both Pepsi and McDonald's are paying Apple's retail price of 99 cents per song, sources say.
        This would be $1 billion dollars. You aren't paying for the mp3, you are paying for the liscence to have it. Although to a conglomerate like McD's maybe a billion dollars is negligible.
        • McDonald's sales have been in a slump over the last couple of years. They and other fast food companies are certainly looking for a way to boost sales. Doing an iTunes promotion would be brilliant.
      • As Nonki said, iTunes still has to pay the labels for the tracks. They might have negotiated for a slightly lower cost for promotions, but they still have to pay. Just because it is digital does not mean it is free.
    • not every song is going to be redeemed so it doesn't make any sense that they would pay for the songs that don't get bought.

      I bet they try and tie it into the gift certs somehow, so that they get auto created upon redemption and McDonald's only charged for what is used.
    • by slagdogg (549983) on Friday November 07, 2003 @01:49AM (#7414769)
      ... there's gotta be a volume discount in the billions

      McDonald's would have to negiotiate that with the labels directly, most likely. I'm sure Apple would be happy to break even on the deal, just for the promotion and getting people accustomed to building their music libraries in iTunes. However, according to most industry estimations Apple pays ~$0.70 US to the appropriate record label (for major label content) for each sale, so any volume discount they give would have to be at or around that price. The record labels would be wise, in my opinion, to sell these tracks to McDonald's / Apple for a reduced rate, say $0.40 US. While this lowers margins for everyone involved, it is great marketing for McDonald's, Apple, and those pesky labels. I look forward to this deal working out, it would be even bigger than the Pepsi deal for educating the public on the value of legal digital music.
    • Umm, the link in the original /. article said that McDonalds would only pay for songs that were redeemed, and that they estimated it would cost them around $300 million.
  • Microsoft's president Steve Ballmer was seen celebrating the news [macboy.com]. Ugh...makes you ill just watching it!
  • Yeah... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dr Reducto (665121)
    Apple denies it like rumors of G5's and updated Powerbooks. Could that mean my precious G5 PB is coming?
  • by LoadStar (532607) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:41AM (#7414511)

    While it's hard to tell from a press release that's been groomed by a PR department of a major international corporation, I still sense that this isn't a very strong denial.

    All the press release says is that they haven't announced anything yet, and that the reports are speculation. (This is something we all knew ANYWAY.) This could've been released to deflate expectations a bit before the real announcement.... or it in fact could be that they have no plans to do the iTMS deal.

    In either case, I'm not getting my hopes up, but then again, I didn't have my hopes up when the rumor first floated. I figured that if the deal would happen, it probably wouldn't happen right away.

    • Leak
      Media speculation
      Soft denial
      More media speculation
      Harder ambiguous denial
      Yet more media speculation
      Leak a single detail
      Lots more media speculation
      Court injunction
      LOTS of media speculation and sunday paper features
      Announce deal
      Lots of 'we fucking knew it' self congratulatory media coverage

      Its 'cheap PR 101' guys!!
  • If Slashdot is going to start posting erroneous stories from tabloids such as the New York Post [nypost.com], they should instead post stories from the Weekly World News. I don't believe what a newspaper says unless it has BatBoy endorsing it!

    New today: litterboxes for humans!

    http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/news/index.cfm [weeklyworldnews.com]

  • Tomorrow's headline (Score:3, Informative)

    by rifftide (679288) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:47AM (#7414534)
    WE LIED [nypost.com]
  • by Basehart (633304) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:49AM (#7414543)
    I've been at the counter of my local McDonalds since reading the press release, waiting to get my free iTunes, and now I stink of grease!

    Thanks Apple!
  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:49AM (#7414544) Journal
    ... they're trying to copy the Times, but they obviously haven't figured out the difference between fabricating stories and just plain fucking up.

  • Oh, well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joey Patterson (547891) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:49AM (#7414546)
    At least we can still dream about Superdriving our combo and ordering a Big iMac and files to go with it.
  • Good ploy McDonalds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:54AM (#7414565)
    I think everyone would have to wonder if McDonalds just pulled this stunt to get some free publicity. 1. Pretend you're being a nice company and deal out free music 2. Deny it, and save yourself the money. 3. Create media attention to suck in everyone 4. ??? 5. Profit!
  • Pure speculation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:54AM (#7414566)
    DES MOINES, Iowa (Dow Jones)--McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD - News) characterized a published report that it plans a massive digital song giveaway promotion as "pure speculation."

    It's "pure speculation". Notice they didn't say anything against/for it. Speculation is a very neutral term. Merriam Webster [m-w.com] says:

    Speculation [m-w.com]: an act or instance of speculating

    And speculating [m-w.com] means: to meditate on or ponder a subject

    McD is still WORKING ON IT! Doesn't mean they've decided one way or another, it's just that they're thinking about IT! Before /. issues a retraction, try RTFD (Reading the F**king Dictionary). Can we set up some kind of dictionary fund for /. editors? Like this [ebay.com] or this [barnesandnoble.com]?
  • by EverDense (575518) on Friday November 07, 2003 @12:55AM (#7414568) Homepage
    The age old question has just been answered.
    Ronald McDonald DOES read SlashDot.
  • Dodgy marketing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nonki (682234)
    Billion-dollar deals don't just poof out of thin air, there probably is something behind this. All they said is that there is no agreement right now, if they had no plans, they would probably say more than that. It does strike me as a bit odd, however, that they would buy these songs at-cost, and give them away as a marketing campaign. But Pepsi did it so maybe its not so far-fetched.

    One more thing...McDonalds "continues to aggressively pursue bold new initiatives in the areas of music, sports, fashio
    • I agree... McDondals has been doing this for ages. Like Microsft, marketing is their forte... I mean, how else would you manage to sell crap to lots of people? What about the "Premium Mac" ? It was half the size of a BigMac, yet cost more, but had EXACTLY THE SAME INGREDIENTS!
  • well, it seemed like a good idea, then Apple was worried they'd get sued for making people fat.
  • My guess, especially given the offical reply from McD, is that they are planning something like this, just not with Apple. I wouldn't be suprised to hear that they'll be giving away 1 Billion MusicMatch or Napster songs.
  • McDonald's New Deal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hey, I don't know where you heard about McDonalds dealin in iTunes, but here - today - in Raleigh, NC, McDonalds opened a McCafe, an alternative to Starbucks for those who want fancy coffees, pastries, and deli sandwiches. Oh, and the whole place is wifi-enabled for free to internet surfing or just small computer errands.
  • by tmark (230091)
    It sounded pretty plausible, even if the cost was roughly 50% more than McDonald's usual yearly advertising expenditures.

    I can't figure out whether the editor was being sarcastic, suggesting that it *wasn't* plausible, or if he was being serious, to suggest that such a huge expenditure was plausible.

    Perhaps the sheer size of the number he quotes should (*if* it's correct) answer my own question, but I don't know if I'm willing to give these editors that much credit...
    • Apparently, he's unaware of simple restaurant economics. Doesn't a 32 oz pop cost like $.08 in materials, and most of that is the cup? A 99-cent cost item tied to Combo Meals would easily be profitable. After all, aren't Happy Meals priced less than their individual parts, and they include a toy? (Yes not a 99-cent toy, but a Happy Meal is cheaper than a Combo Meal.) If it draws in people who also bring in people who buy just other products, ka-ching!

      Or, like they say in Catch-22:
      - Milo, how can y
    • The also neglected to mention that it really isnt a billion dollar deal, more of a $200 million dollar deal, since not everyone will redeem their music. Stil a heck of a lot of money, but more plausible.
  • by hhknighter (629353) on Friday November 07, 2003 @01:42AM (#7414744)
    as great as most people think of the ipod, I can guarantee that it doesn't have a taste modifying feature.

    I would take 40 gigs of songs (hmm, good ones, so really, around 15 megs), yes, but not with 40 pounds of grease.

    And in other news, man won $1 bill worth of songs stuck inside a local McDonalds.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday November 07, 2003 @01:47AM (#7414765) Homepage Journal
    It might have actually worked for McDonald's. They're not exactly conquering the world these days, and they definitely need a means of bringing people into the stores.

    WiFi alone? Eh.

    WiFi and free iTunes? Now there's something.

    Of course, who wants to bring their computer into a greasy McDonald's and get Secret Sauce all over it while surfing the 'Net. Ew... forget I went there!

    Starbucks. Those guys would do well with an iTunes promo. They've already rolled out the WiFi part of the equation.

    • Of course, who wants to bring their computer into a greasy McDonald's and get Secret Sauce all over it while surfing the 'Net. Ew... forget I went there!

      You just put two very ugly images in my mind. My Wallstreet PowerBook, and my Thinkpad 600E, both slimed. With Filet-O-Fish tartar sauce, actually, if it was IRL. This reminds me why this is such a bad idea.

      Starbucks. Those guys would do well with an iTunes promo. They've already rolled out the WiFi part of the equation.

      Then again, coffee spillage has

    • "and get Secret Sauce all over it while surfing the 'Net."

      And this is different from surfing the net in the privacy of your home in what way?

  • Not So Far-Fetched (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QGambit (453414) on Friday November 07, 2003 @01:54AM (#7414786)
    While I agree that the the $1 Billion figure is probably wishful thinking on the Post's part, I will say that this deal does strike me as VERY do-able. McD has given away music CDs for years during various promotions, as have other fast-food chains. I can see music giveaways in digital form taking hold very quickly.

    Here is an example: Lets say the real deal is $100 Million (just like the Pepsi deal so it is not out of the realm of possibility). McD now has a block of songs that it can do whatever it wants with. If McD has a promotion where they would normally be giving away copies of a CD, they could replace it with a free download of the album from the iTMS. Apple could restrict the redemption so that only the designated album can be downloaded (making success/failure analysis quite easy).

    If the promo succeeds, everyone is happy. However, if the promo fails (cuz the music sucks, for example), they would normally have piles of CDs that would just get trashed. Money wasted on production, storage, transportation, and destruction/recycling. With iTMS, they can just keep the unused downloads and repurpose them for a future event, such as a prize in the Monopoly game they run every so often.

    In the end, McD has only paid for what it used. Very economical.
  • Isn't the NY Post one of the least respected papers in the US? Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that Murdochs newspapers were nothing but trash. You could probbably say they're just below slashdot in the reliability of articles which appear in them ;).
  • "roughly 50% more than McDonald's usual yearly advertising expenditures" LOL, I think Apple would cut them deal if they purchased 1B at once, dont you think ;) either that or they just traded goods, 1B iTunes for 1B hambugers for Apples fat slobby technoweenies, flames to full throttle Capitan...
  • I haven't eaten at McDonald's for two and a half months. I stopped eating there after I quit working there. If this iTunes deal came to McDonald's, I would not only start eating there again, but I'd put up with insults from my friends for being a McBitch and work there again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A moments thought would have told anyone with common sense that no company is going to give away one billion dollars worth of free music. In fact, what company would buy one billion of anything and not expect a substantial discount?
    • Yes! Especially since for $1 Billion McD's could buy around 12% [yahoo.com] of Apple (~8.5B market cap). I know, it's not the same thing... but it does put things in perspective. A multiyear deal, plus a nice discount, is very much a possibility. I might even bet on it.
  • In all fairness, it must be noted that when I bought the tabloid, the NY Post vendor said, "Would you like lies with that?"
  • Unfortunately, while a billion dollars to us mortals may seem like a significant amount of money, I don't think that this warrents a seperate story, and not just an update to the previous one.

    Also, I'd like to be the first to surface the rumor of Uncle Steve releasing a 1 terabyte iPod to coincide with the announcement of this McDonalds promotion; so you CAN hold all billion songs....
  • A swing and a miss for the New York Post.

    Now that's a big surprise. [thesmokinggun.com]
  • by LostCluster (625375) on Friday November 07, 2003 @03:52AM (#7415102)
    $1 billion seems out of line. McDonald's only is giving away $55,283,390 worth of Best Buy money, not all of which will be turned in undoubtably, in the current Monopoly Best Chance Game promotion. $54,983,390 of that will be in the form of 54,983,390 $1 pieces.

    When you add it all up, there's only 55,000,000 Best Buy pieces in cirulation... and that's from a pretty full tilt campaign by McDs standards. Therefore, I think that's the reasonable cap on how many songs total McDs could give away if such a promotion happens.
    • McDonalds can commit to giving away $1 billion in iTunes songs, but realistically, probably less than a third of those tokens would be redeemed. Most of their customers probably don't have either an iPod or iTunes installed. And if they're giving away specific songs only, then you can count on that figure being far, far less than a third.

      Still, it's a great idea to motivate the teenage/young adult demographic to visit McD's more frequently.
  • or rumoured [macrumors.com] to be on, definitely, probably, unsubstaiatedly ?
  • ...the thing to ponder is: Could it have been? I don't think so. Apple has already made its deal with Pepsi, but McDonald's has never served Pepsi products. (Not that I know of, anyway.) Perhaps that dynamic had something to do with it, given that it's McDonalds that is doing the denying.
  • by Channard (693317) on Friday November 07, 2003 @04:59AM (#7415247) Journal
    'Hamburglar arrested for file sharing.'

    'In a dawn raid on McDonaldstown by the RIAA, fictional corporate character Hamburgler was placed under arrest for downloading a number of copyrighted songs. Currently languishing in federal 'pound me in the ass' psison, Hamburglar was reported to have said in response to the allegations 'Robble robble. Robble robble robble robble robble. Robble!' No court date has yet been set.'

  • Rumor = Nothing signed. They have to post something to all those inquiring due to the article least it appear on the evening news before anything is signed. MickyD's obvously would not pay the full retail price at that volume. More like 30 to 60 cents depending on the actual number of redemptions. And if people get excited over it the reputations of MidckyD's could be tarnished if the deal doesn't go through. The deal could be spoiled if apple wanted more per song due to MickyD's being over a barrel.
  • by rf0 (159958)
    I don't want fries with that. Shame it would of been cool to get a Big Mac and itunes

    Rus
  • Good thinking. It sure fooled me, even though I never cared in the first place.
  • Some time ago, the news [foxnews.com] media began [pcworld.com] reporting [bbc.co.uk] that McDonald's was to going to provide wireless access in their restauraunts. That service, according to McDonald's itself [mcdonalds.com], would in some places be for pay.

    McDonald's giveaway will promote its for-pay WiFi access. iTMS is the market leader of downloaded music with, according to a 5 November analyst conference call held by Apple [apple.com], over 80% market share. McDonald's will be able to "give away" US $0.99 tracks to, in some cases, sell US $2.99/day WiFi access.

    I w

  • According to Macrumors.com [macrumors.com] they have received confirmation that McDonald's is planning an iTunes give away. Traditionally, Macrumors has been very accurate in their Apple related rumors.
  • Actually, it's true.

    They stated there are no announcements to be made at this time, the same as many other companies who have accidently let the cat out of the bag on Apple's behalf have. It will happen.
  • Quoting from the Post is like repeating a conversation overheard in a toilet.

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