April 09, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
Apple’s iTunes store might be the most high-profile digital download music store, but you didn’t think it would be flying solo when it comes to tiered pricing, did you?
As one of our observant commenters noted, and the Associated Press reported as well (via USA Today), chief competitors to Apple in the realm of digital downloads—Walmart and Amazon—have tiered price structure as well.
To recap Apple’s prices, which went into effect April 7, the tunes run 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29—a switch from the catch-all 99-cent pricing. Though, if you wanted digital rights management (DRM)-free tracks it would run you $1.29 apiece or 30 cents to upgrade your previous purchases (however, the new pricing was announced in conjunction with Apple saying it would be ditching DRM altogether).
Walmart and Amazon already operated without DRM for its downloads. Walmart introduced on April 7 as well a nickel lowball for its MP3 downloads—$1.24, 94 cents and 64 cents each, changed from a two-option pricing of 94 and 74 cents. Walmart even makes it easy for you to find the most popular song by price range, with tabs you can click that filter “Top 64 cent songs” and such (hey, Hall and Oates are a strong No. 3 with “I Can’t Go For That”).
Amazon also gives you plenty of options for your single-track purchases, with songs at 69, 89 and 99 cents, and $1.29, which had changed at some point since the original 89 and 99 cent options when the store opened in 2007.
And of course, bargain-bin hunters can find full album downloads at lower prices than the sum of the individual tracks, so always do your math before clicking.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
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