Popular singles and some classic songs on iTunes will see a 30-cent price bump early next month, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
Come April 7, "hot tracks" will cost $1.29, but on the bright side, some older tracks will see a 30-cent price decrease, theoretically balancing out Apple’s previous one-size-fits-all model. These price changes have been known since the Macworld expo in January, but Apple only said the changes would happen in April. The company still hasn’t officially announced a date; the Times’ report is based on interviews with industry executives, who say record labels have already been notified.
According to a Wired report from January, the new prices are part of a deal that Apple made with major record labels. Variable pricing was offered in exchange for DRM-free tracks, which became available shortly after the deal was reached in January. Executives say variable pricing will allow labels to offer package deals and make more money on music sales at a time when the industry is aching.
But not all industry big-wigs are thrilled. Former EMI Music executive Ted Cohen, who now manages a digital media consulting group, said the price change could be "a PR nightmare." He added, "It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry."
Jim Guerinot, a manager whose clients include No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails and the Offspring, said the industry should offer music for less money instead of "squeezing the handful of people" who still pay for music.
Clearly, that’s not going to happen, but I’m reserving judgment until I see which tunes are affected by the changes. My tastes drift pretty far from pop radio, so this could work out in my favor. We’ll see if the people who do enjoy Brittney Spears (that’s going to make me sound old, isn’t it?) end up shelling out more, or instead turn to piracy in protest.