Price hike hits Apple's iTunes Store

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Tuesday marks the end of Apple's one-price-fits-all model at the iTunes Store, where songs will now fall into one of three pricing tiers, with many of the most popular tracks commanding a 30% increase from 99 cents to $1.29.



Many songs will remain priced at 99 cents while some older and less popular tracks are expected to fall to 69 cents. But as of Tuesday morning, those cheaper songs were few and far between. Instead, Apple appears to have made price increases its first priority.



As of press time, 6 of the top 10 and 29 of the top 100 songs on the digital download service saw their price increase 30 cents to a $1.29. Many of those same songs remain at 99 cents over at the Cupertino-based company's largest digital rival, the Amazon MP3 Store, where none of the top 10 singles and only 10 of the top 100 songs are priced above 99 cents.



Apple has long placed the blame for this week's hikes on the record labels, who are struggling to adjust to the digital marketplace for their content now controlled by iTunes, which last year became the world's largest retailer of music.



The iTunes operator said back in January that this week's changes would correlated directly with new prices commanded by record labels, who otherwise would not have been willing to make their music catalogs available on the service in unprotected iTunes Plus format.



"[B]ased on what the music labels charge Apple, songs on iTunes will be available at one of three price points -- 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 -- with many more songs priced at 69 cents than $1.29," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.



While iTunes has rejuvenated interest in music and drawn in buyers that may have joined the masses of pirates on peer-to-peer file sharing networks, it's fragmented sales for labels at the same time. The lone sore spot has been a loss of high-margin album sales with consumers instead taking advantage of iTunes' a-la-carte format to cherry pick their favorite tracks without forking over the full $10+ that the service -- and traditional brick-and-mortar music stores -- charge for an artist's complete work.



As such, the labels are now scrambling to find ways to cash in on their most popular offerings. One approach has been a concept called iTunes Pass. Similar to an iTunes Season Pass for TV shows, the digital offering combines upcoming album releases with exclusive singles, videos, and other media that will be made available to subscribes over the period of several weeks or months for a premium price.



The top 20 songs and their prices on Apple's iTunes Store as of April 7th.



In February, Warner's Reprise Records kicked-off the program with an $18.99 iTunes Pass that coincided with the release of Depeche Mode's new album Sounds of the Universe. According to the Wall Street Journal, this week will see the second installment of an iTunes Pass -- a $17 subscription from Sony Corp.'s Epic Records for the pop band the Fray.



"It's one more thing that helps offset the negative," said Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue, who sees iTunes Pass as a means for record labels to keep their album releases relevant for longer periods of time. "[Once a traditional album] gets out the door, you can't update it, you can't refresh it, you can't do anything to it."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 202
    smilingoatsmilingoat Posts: 153member
    this is why i'll be using Amazon.com from here on out.
  • Reply 2 of 202
    gtl215gtl215 Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SmilinGoat View Post


    this is why i'll be using Amazon.com from here on out.



    unfortunately, that means the record labels' strong-arm tactics to take down apple's dominance will prove successful.
  • Reply 3 of 202
    Where are the $0.69 songs?



    I don't buy from iTunes anyways. I'd rather buy the physical CD instead. Once iTunes offers all of the songs in a lossless format, I'll reconsider.
  • Reply 4 of 202
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,042member
    The record lables are simply shooting themselves in the foot, I was finding it hard to resist free p2p networks as it was, we already pay more than the US in the UK, these price hikes are just painful.



    I'll check out Amazon as well.
  • Reply 5 of 202
    Greed will be the downfall of the joy of music. I buy some tracks from iTunes but mostly rent movies and buy some episodes of TV shows. I will not be paying extra for a top 20 song, I will just buy it from another service for .99 cents or less. iTunes made it so easy to get what I wanted, now the music majors are trying to make it difficult again...
  • Reply 6 of 202
    i don't mind this at all. maybe this will get people to stop listening to awful music that dominates the top 100... could be a positive change lol.
  • Reply 7 of 202
    boogabooga Posts: 1,075member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post


    Where are the $0.69 songs?



    I don't buy from iTunes anyways. I'd rather buy the physical CD instead. Once iTunes offers all of the songs in a lossless format, I'll reconsider.



    CDs aren't lossless, so I'm not sure why you expect more from your online music.
  • Reply 8 of 202
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    CDs aren't lossless, so I'm not sure why you expect more from your online music.



    CDs are lossless my friend. i don't know who told you that but they have not a clue what they're talking about



    CDs are 16-bit 44.1kHz sample rate. there is no compression of any kind.
  • Reply 9 of 202
    wheelhotwheelhot Posts: 465member
    ah crap, just as I am going to download something from iTunes Store (once the server is up for Malaysian), bad move Apple, let see how its quarterly iTunes music sale gives out cause if Amazon stays at 0.99, say bye bye to your #1 online music download spot.
  • Reply 10 of 202
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 855member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    CDs aren't lossless, so I'm not sure why you expect more from your online music.



    What about CDs isn't lossless? If you consider a 44khz 16 bit uncompressed bitstream to be lossless, then CDs are lossless!



    Granted, music is actually recorded and mastered at higher bitrates, but always with the intention to resample to the standard CD bitrate for mass distribution.
  • Reply 11 of 202
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GTL215 View Post


    unfortunately, that means the record labels' strong-arm tactics to take down apple's dominance will prove successful.



    Exactly correct.
  • Reply 12 of 202
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Guess I will try other vendors for purchasable online music besides iTunes, music labels have always been the evil empire.
  • Reply 13 of 202
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Tuesday marks the end of Apple's one-price-fits-all model at the iTunes Store, where songs will now fall into one of three pricing tiers, with many of the most popular tracks commanding a 30% increase from 99 cents to $1.29...



    This is a lose-lose proposition for everyone but the labels.



    iTunes already had a somewhat limited selection, this morning it has dropped by about 15% by removing all the tracks that the studios were not willing to offer DRM free. I listen to a lot of J-pop right now for instance and some of the biggest groups have literally hundreds of albums out but what's available in iTunes? Two or three at most, and half of those disappeared last night because they are "imports" in the eyes of studio execs who are still living in the 60's.



    Curiously though, I'd like to know where the heck all the $.69 tracks are???



    I looked up a dozen or two groups from my distant youth in the 70's and about ten from the 1960's and they are all $.99 not $.69. If 45 year old tracks by people who are mostly dead now recorded at studios that no longer exist and owned by people who weren't alive when they were recorded are not $.69 tracks what are?



    Just for laughs look up "Glenn Miller" (he died almost 75 years ago).

    125 tracks, all of them $.99.



    Because he's so "current" right?
  • Reply 14 of 202
    Amazon to the rescue, not to mention Limewire.
  • Reply 15 of 202
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post


    Amazon to the rescue, not to mention Limewire.



    Since the record labels were successful in twisting Apple arm, I think Amazon will follow shortly.
  • Reply 16 of 202
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post


    Amazon to the rescue, not to mention Limewire.





    Amazon is good.



    Limewire is good too if you want to be caught by the FBI who will then seize all of your computers slap you with a huge fine, and then throw your ass in federal prison. it does not matter how many firewalls you have. The government can always fine you. trust me... I have learned the hard way.



    Its people like you that make music retailers such as iTunes raise their prices. (as explained in the story)
  • Reply 17 of 202
    Apple is going to lose business in this segment.

    Certainly Apple must have figured out this already!!

    Still they did hike the price..



    What possibly could be the WAY for apple to remain dominant?
  • Reply 18 of 202
    Why don't more people use the zune pass? For $15/month (up to 3 zunes and 3 computers) you can download as much temporary music as you would like, and also keep in your collection forever 10 songs. You can't find a better deal anywhere.
  • Reply 19 of 202
    slapppyslapppy Posts: 331member
    The general pubic that uses iTunes will blame Apple for the price hike.
  • Reply 19 of 202
    halvrihalvri Posts: 146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GTL215 View Post


    unfortunately, that means the record labels' strong-arm tactics to take down apple's dominance will prove successful.



    Exactly, by trying to make iTunes less relevant, all the record labels are trying to do is keep Apple from being able to bargain them down. Which ostensibly means that by going to Amazon what you're doing is opening the door to future price hikes across all services.
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