Variable iTunes Pricing Goes Live

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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.

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