iTunes Store shifts song prices, many $1.29, few $0.69 tracks [updated] | iLounge News


iTunes Store shifts song prices, many $1.29, few $0.69 tracks [updated]

As expected, Apple today changed the pricing scheme for individual songs sold through the iTunes Store, with some tracks increasing in price to $1.29, and others dropping in price to $0.69. This change comes in conjunction with the store making a move to an almost completely DRM-free catalog of iTunes Plus offerings; some DRM-locked music files—including some music videos—still remain in the Store, while others have disappeared entirely.

Though both Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Vice-President Phil Schiller claimed in January that “more songs are going to be offered at $0.69 than at $1.29,” there is very little evidence of $0.69 pricing in the iTunes Store, with a considerable number of $1.29 tracks now on offer. As of press time, the pricing changes have resulted in half of the top ten and 29 of the top 100 overall song downloads increasing in price to $1.29. Additionally, individual genres’ top 100 lists ranged from 46 $1.29 songs in the Hip-Hop/Rap top 100 list, 31 of the top R&B/Soul 100, 30 of the top 100 Pop songs, 28 of 100 Rock, and 26 of 100 Country, to none at all in Children’s Music, Christian & Gospel, Electronic, Singer/Songwriter, or World Music. Notably, prices have been raised on a number of older tracks, such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, and “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65, while the entirety of the New Kids on the Block, Tiffany, and Vanilla Ice catalogs remain available for $0.99 rather than offering discounts.


Update: Continued fluctuations in song pricing are leading to unusual changes in both the top 100’s price lists and the pricing for individual songs. In re-checking the Store’s lists over the course of an hour, we noticed that the number of $1.29 songs in the top 100 had increased from 29 to 46, and then on a refresh, dropped back to 29, then gone up to 33. While some of the changes are attributable to different songs appearing and disappearing on the list, we discovered tracks such as Bad Girlfriend from Theory of a Deadman that are shifting back and forth from $0.99 to $1.29, sometimes appearing in iTunes as one price or the other. Clicking on the track reveals a notice that the top 100’s $0.99 pricing is inaccurate, and has been replaced by a higher $1.29 price. It remains to be seen how many tracks will see quiet price changes on a day-to-day or more frequent basis under the new song pricing structure.

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I always feared that .69 pricing was a bit of a hoax.  It was the first thing I checked this morning.

Posted by jmansor on April 7, 2009 at 10:31 AM (CDT)


I recently purchased several catalog CDs NEW for $4.99.  All of those titles are still selling for $9.99/$0.99 in the iTunes Store.  Why should a digital download cost twice that of physical media?

Posted by Galley on April 7, 2009 at 10:41 AM (CDT)


How can Apple let this happen? This may ruin Apple’s music business. Amazon Mp3 store offers cheaper downloads now.

Posted by Wei Wei on April 7, 2009 at 10:56 AM (CDT)


The best thing to do is not buy from iTMS.  Purchase mp3s from Amazon if you have to, but don’t buy from Itunes.  They’ll get the point very quickly and the $1.29 price will disappear as quickly as it appeared.  Still, I advocate CDs over digital anyway - not only do you often get a better deal, as Wei Wei pointed out, you will always have a hard copy from which to make your own files.  And some day, lossy files like mp3s are going to be a thing of the past and the cheapest, easiest place to get those is right off your own CD.  The only thing Itunes/Amazon are good for are exclusives.

Posted by Tom on April 7, 2009 at 11:13 AM (CDT)


Yeah, I have switched over to Amazon anymore anyway.

Posted by Scott on April 7, 2009 at 11:15 AM (CDT)


I don’t mind the variable pricing, say charging more for a new, hot tune versus an older song. But if the price of a song bounces up and down on a daily or hourly basis, that’s not as acceptable. And if the only 69-cent songs available are the uber-crappy ones, that’s even worse.

My preference is still for CDs for the artists I really like, though I’ll download singles for those artists who I know I’ll never buy their album.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a song from iTunes. I’ve been doing most of my purchases from Amazon because they’re DRM free and don’t charge tax. I also get songs from Rhapsody using my Coke rewards points for free tunes.

I really hope Apple reevaluates how they execute their variable pricing structure.

Posted by cxc273 on April 7, 2009 at 11:27 AM (CDT)


Wow, is iTunes stupid or something??  I just purchased the same song that was $1.29 on iTunes for $.99 on Amazon.

All the other songs on this particular album were still $.99. It just sounds like pure greed. Going over the $1 threshold will send me looking elsewhere for music!

Posted by Amalea on April 7, 2009 at 11:29 AM (CDT)


First, this is not an “iTunes” pricing initiative. Do not think that blaming Apple/iTunes is the way to go. This is directed by the record industry. They went to Apple and told them what they had to do to get DRM free versions of songs. Amazon and others have benefited from Apples strong stance in the past. The record companies allowed them to sell DRM free, variable priced songs in an attempt to show Apple they didn’t need them. Turns out they were only partially correct as Amazon and the other venues were still lagging behind the “locked down” iTunes. What we get now is only a step by Apple to provide what they wanted to all along…DRM free music. The RIAA is just plain greedy and evil. Only the very cream of the artistic crop even gets a fair cut of their own music. The rest just take the RIAA shaft and hope to get big enough to broker a new deal in the future.

Posted by Mitch on April 7, 2009 at 12:47 PM (CDT)


I am shocked. Shocked!

Posted by otaku on April 7, 2009 at 1:31 PM (CDT)


Why is Amazon price for DRM free mp3 is cheaper than Itunes?

Posted by NAna on April 7, 2009 at 1:35 PM (CDT)


It’s even better than I thought.  If you click the front-page link for “Great SOngs at a Great Price/Rock”, the first song (by Elvis) is 69c.  But if you link to the album, you see it’s the only 69c song on the album.  Ditto all the others I tried.

Why oh why would anyone shop here instead of Amazon?

Posted by otaku on April 7, 2009 at 2:53 PM (CDT)


Amazon, here I come. Competition is a good thing.  Apple, has given us great products in iTunes, varoius iPods and the iPhone.  But, all with conditions and restrictions that I can no longer take.  I only speak for myself.  I will now start to look for alternatives because I am tired of simply taking whatever Apple gives me and being expecting to be satisfied.  Non replaceable batteries, and iTunes that is bloated and sometimes so slow it is unbearable, and a $600 dollar iPhone with no contract(good), but that is still locked(are u kidding).  I am a fanboy no more.

Posted by Gerald on April 7, 2009 at 4:43 PM (CDT)


Oddly enough, iTunes has now gone DRM-free, but what they haven’t mentioned is that several songs that were available prior to the upgrade are no longer available. Whether this is temporary or not I don’t know, but a couple of boxsets that were previously available no longer are, yet I still find traces of them in the store thanks to “album only” songs. When you click to view the album, you get a timeout message.

Posted by Germansuplex on April 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM (CDT)


Does this mean that songs previously purchased with DRM are no longer restricted?

Posted by CSC on April 7, 2009 at 10:43 PM (CDT)


I agree with others here about this new tiered pricing. When Apple announced it, I thought that it would be like video stores with the newest singles being $1.29 and the oldest stuff being 69c. Today has proved that isn’t the case. To me it appears to be a way for the labels to punish folks who buy singles and not whole albums. To prove this I’ve taken one track in my library from 1990 to now (19 tracks in all) and priced them. Of the bunch, the tracks from 2008 and 2007 are $1.29; that’s to be expected, I guess. The only track for 69c was “The Freshmen” by the The Verve Pipe. The bulk of the tracks were still 99c. There was one oddity too. Semisonic’s “Closing Time” (from 1998) was $1.29! This track is not recent or new by any reasonable standard! The other tracks on The Verve Pipe and Semisonic albums were all 99c. To me this proves that this price scheme is happening to punish folks who buy singles instead of full albums. In short: Thanks for making the tracks DRM free, and try to be constant with this new pricing scheme.

Posted by hoshieBIOTpod on April 8, 2009 at 12:39 AM (CDT)


“Oddly enough, iTunes has now gone DRM-free, but what they haven’t mentioned is that several songs that were available prior to the upgrade are no longer available.”

Tons of albums from the Japanese label Avex are now gone from the US store (which are unfortunately NOT available from amazon.) Wish I’d known they would just pull the tracks rather than providing drm-free versions, I was holding off on buying alot of stuff waiting for the switch. Looks like it’s back to paying $30 for import cds versus around $10 for itunes tracks. :|

Posted by SadJ-musicFan on April 8, 2009 at 7:11 AM (CDT)


How’s Amazon’s pricing today, fellas?

Posted by LOL on April 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM (CDT)


And this is precisely why I have not bought a single song from iTunes (as well as the DRM at the time).  Just to poke around, I’ve checked a few bands within my preferred genre of music (power and progressive metal) to see what the pricing there is.  Symphony X - still all 99 cents.  Same thing with Sonata Arctica and Anubis Gate.  Same thing with Nightwish.  Fortunately, I never cared for what is in the “Top 100” thus it is unlikely I’d see any of those $1.29 songs. Even still, I think even 99 cents is somewhat a bit much.  50 cents is probably about what a lossy compressed, downloaded track is about worth anyway.  I guess that is why I get the vast majority of my stuff either on the actual CD or through eMusic.  I’ve have gotten the occasional album through Amazon as well (also, checking those same artists, still all 99 cents - cheaper if you opt to get the entire album at once).  The only thing I’ve ever gotten through iTunes were games for my Touch.

Posted by SkiBumMSP on April 8, 2009 at 8:11 PM (CDT)


Good call buddy.  All the howling from yesterday..  my goodness..  “Amazon here I come”, “Apple is ripping us off” and my personal favourite: “They’ll get the point very quickly and the $1.29 price will disappear as quickly as it appeared”..  People, please!  Try to think before you post next time.  If you even spent a short amount of time researching the issue on ‘teh google’ you would find that it is not Apple that is gouging your pockets, but the labels.  Where do you think the vast majority of the track price goes?  To Apple?  No.  To the Artist? You must be joking…  I’m surprised Apple managed to hold off the greedy labels for as long as they did.
So, to summarise, if you want to support the leaches in the RIAA, go to Amazon or wherever.  Imagine where your precious internet music market would be now if it wasn’t for Apple.

Posted by lostkiwi on April 9, 2009 at 9:01 AM (CDT)


Interestingly enough, I was looking for a song today and on the original album release it was priced at $1.29.  On a greatest hits compilation, it was priced at $.99 cents.  Guess which one had the higher popularity ranking, the one priced at $1.29.  I highly doubt it was a coincidence.

Posted by JW in STL on April 30, 2009 at 11:25 AM (CDT)

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