iTMS Slashing Prices?


With all this talk of variable pricing for the USA iTunes Music Store in the near future, given that new contracts with the record companies are currently being negotiated, I was most amused by the scene I was confronted with this evening. Variable pricing has, it seems, come to the UK somewhat prematurely.

Steely Dan on iTMS

Say what you will about Steely Dan, but £7.90 is pretty cheap for 66 tracks – or 4 hours 51 minutes – of glorious jazzy rock. It works out at a mere 11.96p per song!

I presume this is a mistake, and will be rectified in due course, but perhaps it is merely foreshadowing what we can expect under the record companies’ new régime…if they get their way.

Although 12p per track seems pretty bloody unlikely. The idea, in fact, that anything but the most obscure music will get any cheaper with variable pricing is a foolish one – customers will only end up paying more. We can only hope that Apple stays firm and tells the record companies where to get off…

Needless to say, I bought the album, and shall be monitoring my bank balance closely.



I saw something like that in the US too a couple of weeks ago. It was a set of three Bob Dylan albums that was priced as if they were a single album. I have to assume it was a mistake as each individual album was also available individually for the same or more (in both original and remastered versions).

Sidney Cammeresi

ITMS track prices are fixed by country (99c in the US, 79p in the UK, etc); the company publishing a track to the store cannot set the price of its tracks. Album prices, however, can be set to whatever the publisher wants. There’s an album out there somewhere that only costs 49c, for example.


These things do come up on itms occasionally and are worth looking out for. The Emerson String Quartet had 7 CDs worth of beethoven for 7.99, though I see it’s gone back up to £55 now…

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