By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff
CDs with anti-copy technology to combat piracy may be made cheaper than those without it, one of the UK's leading record executives has suggested.
The first 200,000 The Darkness CD albums had copy protection
Atlantic Records' UK head Korda Marshall - who signed The Darkness - said there could be different prices for CDs with different copy protection.
"Maybe there's a point in the future where you'd buy a copy-protected CD at a lower price," he told BBC Radio 2.
Many copy-protected CDs do not work on some players such as PCs and in cars.
Mr Marshall suggested a new pricing structure could see fans pay more for CDs that would play on more devices.
His company uses copy protection on early pressings of many new releases, he said, to avoid albums being put on the internet or bootlegged.
Copy protection was also used for advance copies sent to "dishonest" music critics, he said.
"We use it mainly for the media now because [of] the reality of sending records to journalists and to radio stations and to media, so all our promotional CDs are copy protected," he said.
Internet piracy "has done great damage", he added.
But discussing piracy and the new boom in legal downloading, he told Radio 2's Great British Music Debate that CD sales were not in crisis.
"The industry's in a very, very healthy state and CDs are in their middle age. They've got a long, long way to go. It's not going to go anywhere," he said.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who has pioneered legal downloading through the iTunes service, told the debate he believed CDs and record shops would disappear in a decade.
"The traditional record stores are already having a tough go of it," he said.
"But things don't happen that fast. I believe someday all music will be delivered over the internet - but that someday may be a decade a way."
Mr Jobs also revealed there is little profit to be made in the legal download market, and iTunes mainly generates business for his range of portable iPod music players.
"We basically make only a little bit of money on [iTunes] - we break even to make a little bit of profit, somewhere in that range, and we're the largest by far," he said.
"So everyone else must be losing money. I don't know what people that don't have an iPod business are going to do because there's not a lot of money to be made running an online music store."
Legal downloads are seen by many as the future of the music industry and iTunes has sold more than 100 million songs in the US alone in 14 months.