Apple’s iTunes plans to boost the price of many hit singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 on April 7, breaking the psychological barrier of 99 cents in what could be the first big test of how much consumers are willing to pay to download individual songs.
Although the price-hike date hasn’t been publicly announced, Apple has been notifying record labels it will be on April 7, according to industry executives.
The move, part of a new “variable-pricing” strategy that will also lower the price of other songs, is an attempt by the music industry to wring more revenue from digital downloads in the ongoing battle to offset declining CD sales. Label executives say the new pricing will allow them to offer packaged downloads of songs that might entice consumers to spend more on music.
Some music industry veterans are criticizing the 30 percent price hike, saying the timing is tone deaf because it comes amid a recession and when spending for online music appears to have reached a plateau.
“This will be a PR nightmare,” predicted former EMI Music executive Ted Cohen, who is managing partner of digital media consulting firm TAG Strategic. “It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry.”
In other news, the torrent community announced today that they would be maintaining their current pricing model.
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