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Amazon and Wal-Mart MP3 Stores Adopt Variable Pricing

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Just after Apple instituted variable pricing for music in the iTunes Store, Electronista noticed that Amazon and Wal-Mart have followed suit in their MP3 download stores.
The quiet price hike confirms that Apple's unofficial switchover date for variable pricing on its store is part of a larger move to raise prices across the industry. Concerns had been raised that the music industry might target Apple specifically after an initial comparison of prices this morning had suggested only iTunes was carrying the higher prices. Major music labels have publicly expressed a desire for such pricing after the emphasis on single downloads over albums, as well as plummeting CD sales, hurt the traditional music industry as a whole.
Amazon, which had previously offered a standard $0.99 price point, is now offering approximately eight of its top 100 bestselling tracks at $1.29, with a handful of others priced at $0.79 and the vast majority still priced at $0.99. Wal-Mart, which had previously offered individual tracks for $0.94 and late last year began offering its top hits at $0.74, has also adopted a three-tiered model with $1.24, $0.94 and $0.64 price points. Approximately 15 of its Top 100 Singles are currently priced at $1.24.

As Seth Weintraub points out at Computerworld, tracks are not necessarily offered at the same relative price points across the different stores. Apple currently has a significantly greater percentage of its tracks priced at $1.29, with many of these same tracks still being offered at $0.99 (or even $0.79 in some cases) at Amazon or $0.94 at Wal-Mart, suggesting that Apple is receiving different pricing from the record labels than its competitors.
Sources at Apple tell me that Apple is getting different prices than Amazon from the recording idustry. The record companies are, and have been for awhile, favoring Amazon. In fact, Amazon is selling songs for less than the price that Apple pays for them in some cases.

Article Link: Amazon and Wal-Mart MP3 Stores Adopt Variable Pricing
 

trudd

macrumors regular
May 27, 2004
206
0
Texas
guess it was only a matter of time before singles cost more than b-sides.

it's good news for us who don't usually download singles :D
 
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talkingfuture

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
1,216
0
The back of beyond.
Thats strange, yesterday Amazon UK dropped their top 100 to £0.29 ! Thought they might do a similar offer in the US, it takes the edge off the rises elsewhere in the catalogue.
 
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nathbeadle

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2009
4
0
Now it begins

This is what they wanted... the studios. Variable pricing means they can stick it somewhat to Apple as they set the price. When everything was 99 cents three was equal ground but now they can have Apple charge more and let Amazon or Walmart charge less .... they can control the balance more than previously possible.
 
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Tones2

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
1,471
0
Wow - a 30% - 40% price hike. Might as well buy the physical CD instead.

Tony
 
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LillieDesigns

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
323
56
Los Angeles
Hey record companies, I don't feel like playing 2 dollars for song when tax is added.

People are making less money, that means they are going to stop paying for things they really don't need to pay for. Imagine if a car salesman used this logic:

'Oh, you can't afford a $30,000 car? Let's bump the price up to $40,000 and call it a deal.'

I hate record labels.
 
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casik

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2007
245
5
Alberta
I think it's silly to give certain music distributors favorable pricing. Apple did digital music right from the beginning, so why should they suffer now with more expensive prices. I don't mind the variable pricing, but for goodness sakes record lables be fair to all the distributors.
 
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themacintoshman

macrumors member
Feb 11, 2009
40
0
Butler, PA
I'd think amazon and wal-mart would use this against apple, saying they were charging too much per song, but no, they do the same thing. Intresting.
 
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Gherkin

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2004
530
177
I'm fine with this as albums are still at $9.99.

Guess this sucks for people who just cherry pick songs here and there and listen to pop radio. Too bad for you!
 
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dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Dec 10, 2004
2,124
135
Didn't expect this. But still seems like Amazon has many more hits that are .99 instead of the majority of iTunes that are 1.29
 
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instaxgirl

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,438
1
Edinburgh, UK
Thats strange, yesterday Amazon UK dropped their top 100 to £0.29 ! Thought they might do a similar offer in the US, it takes the edge off the rises elsewhere in the catalogue.

I just noticed this too! Went to Amazon UK to see if prices had bounced up and ended up buying a couple of tracks instead! :D

But on increasing prices the music industry can get stuffed. I prefer buying physical to digital media anyway and I'm perfectly happy to sit around waiting for sales and deals if digital prices go up.
 
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redrabbit

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2006
320
0
I really wonder still why the record industry thinks that raising the price of a commodity in a recession/depression is a good idea to stifle piracy. :rolleyes:


I've always wondered why random people on the internet always think they could run a company better, with no experience or knowledge on how they would really act in a situation like running a multi-million dollar corporation during a recession. :rolleyes:
 
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pacohaas

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2006
516
3
Can someone make a "pricecheck" app for the iPhone and/or a webapp that will tell me which store has a given song for the cheapest price and link me to that store for purchase/download?
 
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sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
15,639
3
キャンプスワ&#
Seems like the record companies want to be able to increase their pricing.

Apple was smart to make everything at 99 cents. Now with this variable pricing, you can expect costs to go up for the popular tracks/albums.

The only way this will change is if enough individuals vote with their pocket books and not purchase the higher priced songs.
 
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IlluminatedSage

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,473
183
interesting to see that pricing has changed. while it looks like the majority of tracks at still the same 99 Cents, frontline greatest hits or hit singles have gone up a little. which doesn't seem to have effected pricing at the album basis.

But... it's strange to see that amazon doesn't get same price points now that it is more of a level playing field, my bet is that pricing will align more on a standard to close to all the price points for what iTunes sells it for. and ... i bet that Microsoft zune store and others will shortly fall into similar line.

my guess is that music companies have been feeling pain on the sales that have been coming in for their "hits" and needed to align their prices to get a bit more income from one off sales. but the nice side is that album pricing doesn't seem to have changed, which is smart. people will be incentivized to actually.... buy albums. which... would actually support artists ... go figure.
 
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SkyBell

macrumors 604
Sep 7, 2006
6,567
142
Texas, unfortunately.
God d*** it Amazon. I was beginning to like you more and more, now this.

I guess it's not a huge deal, since I don't like any of the bestselling songs, never have, but still.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
The only way this will change is if enough individuals vote with their pocket books and not purchase the higher priced songs.

I can't imagine the music labels would give up this system that they fought so hard (with Apple, at least) to get... but the NUMBER of songs that get the higher price in future will be affected by sales. So count me in on your 1.29 boycott :)

...
I guess it's not a huge deal, since I don't like any of the bestselling songs, never have, but still.

Same here. The boycott won't be hard for me really!
 
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redrabbit

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2006
320
0
So, how long before we don't even need record companies? I mean, it seems like it's easier than ever for a musician to record with their own money/equipment, and to release a single on the internet without any need for a larger company to handle all that promotion for you...
 
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