Report: $1.29 songs get lower iTunes chart rankings

In an evaluation of the iTunes Top 100 chart rankings from Tuesday to Thursday, Billboard has discovered that songs that went up in price from $.99 to $1.29 dropped in sales rankings, though the long-term impact of the drops on revenue is less clear. Data from Wednesday, the first day following the price increase, shows that the 40 songs on the Top 100 chart priced at $1.29 dropped an average of 5.3 places from Tuesday, while the 60 remaining $.99 songs gained an average of 2.5 places. Additionally, 33 of the 40 $1.29 songs saw their prices raised on Tuesday morning, and dropped an average of 7.7 chart positions, compared to an average of 1.9 positions lost for the seven songs that were raised to $1.29 between Tuesday and Wednesday. A similar trend was seen the following day, and the two-day trend—from Tuesday to Thursday—mirrored the two prior one-day trends.

A drop in chart rankings is not directly tied to lost revenue, however. The article notes that for a price increase from $.99 to $1.29 to result in an equal or greater amount of revenue, unit sales cannot drop more than 23.3%. On the most recent track download chart, the difference between #42 and #45 in unit sales was only 3.5%, suggesting higher revenues despite a lower chart position, but the difference grew larger near the top of the chart—the difference between the #6 and the #3 chart positions equalled a 30% drop in unit sales. Finally, Billboard notes that a variety of external factors, such as radio play, media attention, placement on the iTunes Store front page, and release date could also play into the changes in chart position.

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