iTunes: $1.29 for a popular song on April 7th

iTunes is the most popular online distribution channel for downloading songs and it's now going to get more expensive starting April 7th. The LA Times is reporting that Apple has been notifying record labels of the soon to be price bump but has yet to announce it publicly.

"True to supply-and-demand economics, the price of music downloads will be geared to the artist's popularity. Releases from new artists would receive the lower pricing, while tracks from popular acts would get slapped with the higher rate. Even classics, such as Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," could retail for the higher price. Most of the 10 million songs in the iTunes catalog are expected to remain at 99 cents."

Apple and the record labels could not have picked a better time to raise prices. The world is in a recession that rivals the Great Depression and the record execs want to raise the cost when people are already cutting back on spending.

The 99 cents psychological barrier will be tested by the new pricing scheme but all is not bad news. In light of the variable pricing model end users will get DRM free tracks that can be played on any device and copied as many times as needed.

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62 Comments

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There's always that other option...

The whole reason behind making songs available to download for a small price was to eliminate illegal download but if they start jacking prices watch the rate of people downloading illegally to jump!

macrosslover said,
Seriously people 30 cents isn't that big a deal. I'm no fan of Apple but this isn't really a huge price increase.

I, like most people, consider a 30% price increase to be huge. It might only be 30 cents, but it's still a massive price increase when you look at the percentage.

Maybe he was sick of the company's greed and what plans they wanted to roll out to generate more income. Seems ever since he left, Apple has been stumbling left and right.

Perhaps he'll come back and start slashing prices, offering those pretty shiny objects, and the crowd will once again go wild and jump to all the iCrap.

After that, we'll all go to the House of Jobs and pray.

True to supply-and-demand economics...

Supply-and-demand economics don't apply. The supply of digital files is infinite, and is therefore not affected by high demand. Using "Supply and Demand" as an excuse for a price rice is shockingly poor behavoir by (cr)Apple.

If they seem to be doing okay selling millions of other songs at 99 cents, you'd think popular songs really wouldn't make a difference. That's unless they did a really horrible job analyzing their setup for what demands they were supposed to fulfill at the given price.

And after Steve Jobs (supposedly) fought the labels so hard to keep the price at 99 cents. Suddenly there's a change in attitude.

iTunes is the most popular online distribution channel for downloading songs
This is incorrect. Piracy is the most popular online distribution channel for downloading songs. Unfortunately.

The 99 cents physiological barrier


I think you mean psychological, not physiological. The barrier is in the mind, it is not a physical barrier.

99¢ to $1.29 per song @ 12-14 songs per album, say about $12-$17 per album.

last cd i bought (metallica: death magnetic) was $9.99 and I didn't have to use a credit card for it. i'd rather just buy a cd and rip it myself in higher quality.

or just grab a torrent, not that i do that sort of thing .. cause it's wrong :P

Nashy said,
Wouldn't it cost the same to purchase a physical CD from a store?

DING DING DING! And we have a WINNER!

Buy the CD, rip it yourself at whatever quality you prefer and use it however you like, (just don't give away copies). If your computer crashes you just rip the CD again -- no worry about lost licenses or proprietary hardware. Plus you get something physical for your money, and some nice cover art, a printed catalog of songs, and maybe even a pamphlet with all the lyrics or a fold-out poster.

You can display your CD's on the wall as art. When you get older and your tastes change you can give away or sell your CD. Or if the economy continues to do poorly you can trade CD's for food. If the band comes to town you can get your CD autographed, increasing its value dramatically. At very worst you can throw them around like a frisbee or use them for target practice (just please clean-up after yourself).

CD's have a value far above and beyond the bits and bytes that make up the music. Why someone would pay the same amount and receive less just makes no sense to me whatsoever. To me, song downloads are for demo'ing new artists or albums, not for building my music collection. That's why the unlimited music download subscriptions are so appealing to me, but alas, none of the services has a large enough catalog of artists to make it worthwhile.

Ha ha ha. I've always maintained that CDs are the best way to "acquire" music and that remains true to this day. There are soo many benefits of owning a genuine CD over downloading. No DRM, no restrictions, no worry about license backups or computer crashes.

timster said,
99¢ to $1.29 per song @ 12-14 songs per album, say about $12-$17 per album.

Just a FYI, the 99 cent per song (or soon to be $1.29, and perhaps 69 cents) is on a per-song basis. When you buy an entire album the price is generally $8-$10. Generally, that makes each track come out to be less than if you had just bought the single track.

It's a standard business tactic - you feel like you're getting more for less, but you've actually spent more money than you would have if you'd bought just one or two songs.

yeah I buy cd's too. digital content does have a place when your only after a song or two and don't want the full album but.

And that is why the Zune is so much better. 14.99 for all the songs you can download. When will people learn? Get the ZUNE.

The obvious issues:

  • Microsoft's store doesn't work with my operating system or any of my music players
  • Microsoft doesn't have player software for my operating systems even if I bought the music elsewhere.
  • The store doesn't operate in the country I live in
  • The pre-pay point nonsense is absolutely rediculous
  • I want to 'own' the must I buy. Zune Pass doesn't come close to ownership - it's more like satellite radio.
  • When/if the service goes tits up I'm left without recourse when I buy DRM encumbered files. I've purchased over 5,000 songs online, over 1,000 from Apple. 43 have DRM and those are scheduled to become DRM free by the end of the month. I can stomach losing a couple of albums, but not 5-grand worth of music.

I'm not saying Apple's shop is a great alternative, but Microsoft's offering has a number of legitimate barriers to entry that iTMS has managed to overcome.

if i could use their music program i would, i love the interface and programs on my touch but loath for a subscript model

evn. said,
  • When/if the service goes tits up I'm left without recourse when I buy DRM encumbered files. I've purchased over 5,000 songs online, over 1,000 from Apple. 43 have DRM and those are scheduled to become DRM free by the end of the month. I can stomach losing a couple of albums, but not 5-grand worth of music.
I'll add...it doesn't inspire confidence in the service when they have already shut down their msn music store late last year.

I'd rather buy physical cd's or DRM content. Honestly most cd's I buy cost no more than the digital album. I only go digital if I want to pick one or two songs max from an artist/album.

If this happens, I will not be using Itunes to make purchases anymore. They can't say it is the record labels making them do this since they are the ones sending out the notices to them this time around. There are plenty of other places to get music these days. With the way the economy is, raising prices is a very bad move.

I suspect catalog titles will be selling for $6.99/0.69. Those same titles already sell for $5-8 on CD on Amazon.

The world is in a recession that rivals the Great Depression

now that's just being a little sensationalist... the world is in no way anywhere equal to the conditions surrounding the g.d. at it's peak, the u.s. was around 25% unemployment. whereas now, the last i heard it wasn't even over 10%.

Apple is really blowing it lately. Not impressed with the mini, shuffle, iphone 3.0 revision, and now this.
Think I'm finally starting to see the light

bdsams said,
agreed, i still dont get why they didnt give iphone 3.0 video recording


I just wonder today about the video recording, I mean 3.0 has so much stuff, and how hard could it have been to add a video app.

shockz said,
Apple is really blowing it lately. Not impressed with the mini, shuffle, iphone 3.0 revision, and now this.
Think I'm finally starting to see the light

I thought 3.0 had video recording...tisk tisk apple.

KeR said,
I just wonder today about the video recording, I mean 3.0 has so much stuff, and how hard could it have been to add a video app.

Then you don't understand the Apple business model. If they put everything into 3.0 there would be no reason for you to upgrade to 4.0.

Mark_M said,
Then you don't understand the Apple business model. If they put everything into 3.0 there would be no reason for you to upgrade to 4.0.

LOL. First of all, no maker has and can put *everything* into a device. Why? There will always be something new to put in/on it. Your comment doesn't make logical sense.

Apple is really blowing it lately. Not impressed with the mini, shuffle, iphone 3.0 revision, and now this.
Think I'm finally starting to see the light

I'm with you 100%. I really can't believe that it's just the lack of Steve Jobs at Apple, but most of these decisions seem to have come about this year - it's too much of a coincidence.

My love affair with all things Apple ended with the most recent hardware refresh. I was pinning my hopes on a decent upgrade of the iMac but instead we end up with something that was barely even categorizable as an improvement and to add into it, the UK got a 15%-20% price increase on there as well. Prior to the refresh I was seriously thinking about eBaying my iMac and replacing it with the next 'level' up. Not only were the upgrades mediocre, the pricing went up so much that I just couldn't justify it. The iMac always treaded a very fine line on pricing - the hardware was out of date but the enclosure and design and the way it was all bought together somehow made it alright. But to have refreshed with dual core CPU's when Dell and the like have not only got Quad Cores AND i7's AND put the prices up significantly as well is completely inexcusible. The desktop lineup is so far out of the loop it's not even funny. And I won't even add to the pot here my already simmering discontent at the fact Apple still refuse to produce a machine with iMac specs but without a built-in screen.. the ever elusive xMac that many, many people want.

So, so disillusioned. The next desktops Apple produce are going to have to be mind blowing for me to even think about buying another.

ir0nw0lf said,
LOL. First of all, no maker has and can put *everything* into a device. Why? There will always be something new to put in/on it. Your comment doesn't make logical sense.

LMFAO! You clearly missed the sarcasm in his post.

Seems just the other day they were ready to fight hardcore to keep songs at 99 cents.

Hrm... bad things have been happening ever since Steve Jobs left! Maybe that BangOn article should have said something about needing Steve Jobs, not Apple. :P

as before...this was announced some time ago...I believe at the same time they said some songs may be less than 99c too.

It was around the time they made a push for DRM free content and may have been part of the reason they managed to push that through.

It's not per song. Its only on new singles if I'm not mistaken. Besides, do you really buy everything new that iTunes releases? I'll still buy my music from it as its more convenient than pirating it or going to a store but I usually wait until albums are released and rarely buy single songs. If it were for every song sure that'd be ridiculous but an extra 30 cents for a album, not a big deal.

think you missed

while tracks from popular acts would get slapped with the higher rate. Even classics, such as Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," could retail for the higher price

Didn't realize that. Even still though, I don't think they will be significantly higher prices. But I guess we will have to wait and see.

Recon415 said,
Ya guys realize there's alternatives to iTunes. And cheaper ones, too.

A year ago, I would buy everything from Amazon but now that practically everything on iTunes is DRM free, I have gone back to iTunes. It is much more convenient. I may go back to Amazon if things I want go up to $1.29. The difference is price is quite a bit if Amazon stays under $1.

techbeck said,
Thanks Apple.....


I don't think this one can be blamed on Apple, for the longest time the record companies have been pushing for price hikes.

KeR said,
I don't think this one can be blamed on Apple, for the longest time the record companies have been pushing for price hikes.

So, are all the other companies that you can buy songs from doing the same thing?