Variable iTunes Pricing Goes Live


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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