iTunes cuts/raises prices: Teens poised to shrug

April 7, 2009

With little (or no) fanfare, Apple’s iTunes opened its doors to a new pricing scheme, and song-based packages that the recording industry hopes will jazz up music sales.  Good luck.

Apple unveiled a three-tier price scheme – 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. Since opening in 2003 all songs in the iTunes store have been priced at 99 cents.

So what sells at what price? A little scouring this morning yielded this comparison:

Current hit “Heartless” by Kanye West: now $1.29.
Classic hit “Magic Man” by Heart:        now $0.69.
Marginal hit “Don’t Phunk with my Heart” by Black Eyed Peas
                                                        still $0.99.

Hate the 30 percent pop in chart-topping prices? Perhaps you’ll find comfort in the fact that for every one song raised to $1.29, iTunes will be reducing 10 songs to 69 cents according to a label source. (But finding the bargains ain’t easy: every version of a sure you’d think MUST be ripe for a discount, lets say, ”Macarthur’s Park” — even versions by Della Reese and Andy Williams — are still $0.99. Go figure.)  

Major label owners like Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI say they can make money with more flexible prices and possibly help make music retail a profitable enterprise again.

The new iTunes program also introduces packages, such as Epic Records $17 iTunes “pass” for pop band the Fray, that delivers songs, video footage and photos — spaced out over several weeks. The moves come about a day after Yahoo tweaked its music service.

All that’s left is to come up with a solution for this scenario (that really happenned): A teenage music lover asks her father, a Mediafile reporter, why music costs so much, punctuating the query with: “Why can’t I just use Limewire?”

(Photo: iTunes)

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