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iTunes Plus=Increased album sales (to me)

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With the iTunes Plusrelease of iTunes Plus (Geez, Apple, could you have waited much later in May?) iTunes users can now decide whether they’re interested in DRM-free single tracks for an additional 30¢. But it’s DRM-free albums that are far more interesting to me.

When the iTunes Music Store debuted, it was the first place to purchase individual tracks — the concept that made the original Napster so popular (other than the no-cost factor, of course). So I loved the iTunes Music Store for giving me the ability to buy individual songs for only 99¢.

But I found myself rarely purchasing albums, despite their (usually) $9.99 price tag. The lack of the CD booklet and the DRM restrictions (can’t convert files to play on other systems like TiVo, MP3CDs) were drawbacks compared to just picking up an album at a local retailer or via Amazon.com. In addition, the quality of the downloads wasn’t as high as a CD. So I generally only downloaded an album if I couldn’t find it nearby at a reasonable price, needed it immediately or didn’t care too much about the quality.

Now that albums from EMI and its subsidiary labels are available without DRM, at twice the quality and at reasonable prices, I have almost no qualms about buying entire albums from iTunes.

Take, for instance, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I previously would never have considered purchasing this album via iTunes. But now I can purchase it for only $7.99 and get high quality files without DRM restrictions. Meanwhile, at Amazon.com, the physical CD is selling for $9.99 and I’d have to pay shipping and wait for it to show up. No wonder it’s currently the top-selling iTunes Plus album.

So while music labels may fret that removing DRM from digital music sales is going to result in increased piracy, that action is actually going to increase album sales greatly, at least to me. So get on board, Universal, Sony BMG and Warner (and Disney).

6 Responses to “iTunes Plus=Increased album sales (to me)”

  1. Galley

    For only $4 more I got “The Dark Side Of The Moon” in glorious 5.1 surround sound on SACD. $9.99 is still too much for lossy albums.

  2. It is very cool, but according to TUAW our account info is embedded within the m4a. (TUAW Tip: Don’t Torrent That Song… 8:05AM posting, Erica Sadun)

    Not that I plan on sharing my music anyway—this is just a heads up.

  3. Can attest to that, I upgraded a bunch of tracks and then bought two entire albums. Hmmmm…what was I thinking?

    Ultimately, I believe the real benefit of being able to buy individual tracks will still win out over album sales, that being, most of the time I still only like one, two or maybe three tracks on an album enough to want to listen to them a lot.

  4. I took a look at my iTunes Library, and Apple offered me the option to upgrade 130 tracks for $33.75, but I’m not all that interested. I’ve been happy with iTunes’ quality and haven’t had much need to play tracks outside of iTunes/iPod/Apple TV, where they’ve been thus far.

    I’m glad you will benefit from this move, though. Maybe it’s more important than I had thought.

    More here: For $33.75, I Could Ditch DRM from 130 iTunes Songs

  5. halfeatenfish

    I agree.. My collection has 3000+ songs (all Legal!) and today I bought my first ever items from ITS. 2 albums. I bought my last CD a few years back (they got too expensive), and I’ve just been ripping my CDs for music. DRM was the hurdle for me.

    Now, I’m really worried now that I’ll start spending too much.

    Well done, Apple. You just got a customer who’s been dying to buy music again.