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Summary:

We warned you that this day was coming (OK we were actually off by one day, but that only means you had more time to buy that coveted All-American Rejects track), and now it’s here: Apple has finally made good on their promise to introduce variable […]

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We warned you that this day was coming (OK we were actually off by one day, but that only means you had more time to buy that coveted All-American Rejects track), and now it’s here: Apple has finally made good on their promise to introduce variable track pricing in the iTunes store. Songs now range from 69 cents to $1.29, with most still occupying the 99-cent mid-point that, up until today, was the only price tag available.

The pricing change just feels weird, but that’s probably because I’m so used to the old ways. For instance, I clicked on a Lady Gaga album (not because I was keen on buying it, honest) and saw that of the 14 tracks available for individual purchase, seven cost 99 cents and seven cost $1.29. I’m not really familiar enough with Lady Gaga’s career to say, but I suspect the higher-priced songs are singles or popular club songs. If you buy the whole album, you still pay only $9.99. Conversely, Flo Rida’s latest CD is $11.99, and every track costs $1.29 individually.

While examples of $1.29 songs are plentiful and hard to miss, I failed to locate even a single 69-cent song, despite checking Weird Al Yankovich’s back catalog and looking through a number of albums priced under $6.99. I was sort of hoping Apple would conveniently place a big, blinking button somewhere in the iTunes’ store that would lead me to the cheap tracks, but I guess they’re being coy about it. Or maybe it’ll become more of a limited-use promotional tool than a price point for general catalog items.

Only time will tell if the record labels have shot themselves in the foot with this new pricing scheme. One thing’s for certain: Flo Rida wants more of your cash.

  1. The new pricing is awful IMO, but what’s worse is that last night while we slept, all the tracks that had *not* already been turned into iTunes plus disappeared from the iTunes store in a puff of smoke. My estimate is about 10 to 15% of the titles just vanished.

    I’d really like to know where the $.69 tracks are as well. I’ve looked up songs and albums from 40 to 50 years ago and they are all $.99 not $.69. I’ve even looked at country and western songs and none of them are. I’ve been searching since last night and haven’t found one track at less than $.99. Even schlock like Christmas compilation albums and hymns is still $.99.

    So great, … iTunes is now DRM free, but it has a lot less selection than other stores and the prices are higher than other stores (all the new $1.29 tracks are still $.99 everywhere else.)

    What an improvement?

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  2. @Gazoobee Maybe the 10 to 15% that disappeared will reappear at $0.69, thus solving both mysteries? Somehow I doubt it, though. I suppose I was being naive in thinking that then they said most tracks would be available for $0.69, with only the hot tracks for $1.29, that somehow they’d mean it. Guess I was wrong.

    I’m devastated. Really. Now what will I do? Where will I go? Oh wait. I guess I’ll just keep buying them on AmazonMP3 like I’ve been doing nearly since its launch.

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  3. I found some $0.69 songs! Check out Cheap Trick’s catalog. Several variations of I Want You to Want Me are priced at the lower point. Hair rockers rejoice!

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  4. Heath Howard Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Lionel Richie also has a few songs for $0.69.

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  5. I’m done with iTunes. Record company bastards.

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  6. [...] DRM-free iTunes however has its downsides, because with it has come with variable pricing, which includes paying $1.29 for some songs. These songs don’t have anything special about [...]

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  7. Catalog CD titles sell for $4.99 – $8.99, so why should lower-quality digital files cost more?

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  8. [...] Written on April 09, 2009 by Darrell Etherington and No one has commented It was a sad day this past Tuesday for almost everyone except the record labels when Apple put the variable pricing [...]

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  9. [...] quickly we forget the way things used to be. It was only in early April when Apple introduced variable pricing in the iTunes store, and already we’ve learned to accept that nearly every [...]

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  10. [...] of hit songs in Apple’s iTunes store have dipped 6 percent since April, in part due to a new variable song pricing structure that has driven up the price of most hits to $1.29, data from a new study by Billboard’s [...]

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