Itunes raises prices

May 21, 2009

By Nicole Doan

ITunes altered its flat 99-cent song price to three different values, due to competition with other online music stores and obligations to music companies. In addition to the price change, songs in iTunes Plus are all digital rights management-free (DRM-free).

As of April 7 2009, songs are available at 69 cents, 99 cents and 1.29 dollars, depending on the song’s popularity and the music company’s pricing choice. The music retailer offers the most popular songs at 1.29 dollars, but prices may shift as time goes on. Apple, the Cupertino-based company that owns iTunes, sets up individual song costs based on what music labels charge the corporation. As a result, music companies are satisfied because they now have more control over how much they want customers to pay for downloads.

“It’s good if I want to buy good-quality oldies,” junior Fonsi Bonilla said. “But if I want to get more modern songs, the prices are inconvenient.”

Although the company claims that one of the reasons behind the price alterations is to encourage competition with other online music retailers, it seems as though it is only steering some of its customers away.

“Rhapsody, Napster and Zune are better because you get unlimited songs for a certain amount of money,” junior Utkarsh Patel said.

The music store also offers many songs, all of which are now DRM-free, in iTunes Plus. People who do not own iPods can now buy from the online store and listen to music on different music players.

In addition, buyers can share and burn their songs, all of which are high audio quality, some even identical to original recordings. If customers want to upgrade their previously bought songs that are not in the iTunes Plus format, they can pay 30 cents per song, or 30 percent of an album price, to advance their music library.

“The higher quality is not worth the price. When I hear the song, it’s not like I can tell the difference [between song qualities],” junior Drew Jordan said.

Despite, and sometimes because of these changes in iTunes, the music retailer continues to excel in terms of popularity. Currently, the number of songs downloaded from iTunes has well surpassed five billion as of 2008.

“I’m probably going to keep buying from iTunes, but I’ll probably start buying CDs more,” freshman Adrianne Manseau said.

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