Amazon, Rhapsody Follow iTunes, Adopt Variable Pricing

The whole online music industry across the pond seems to have diligently followed the footsteps of iTunes, the industry leader, as they all seems to have adopted variable pricing.

Wal-mart, Amazon and Rhapsody have, according to numerous US news outlets, raised their prices on some of their music tracks while slashing the cost of others. Amazon's tiered structure sees tracks available at 79 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 while Wal-mart (which operates Asda in the UK) offers songs at 64 cents, 94 cents and $1.24 respectively.

However, notes Ed Oswald from the Technologizer, only eight tracks in the Top 100 have seen their prices rise while that number reached 17 at Wal-mart, both are significantly less than Apple's iTunes. (ed: can anyone point to a MP3 track price comparison website?)

Yesterday, we were pondering on whether the record labels were actually applying a price differentiation system, asking Apple to pay more than the rest. We now know that this is not necessarily the case and that they seem to have raised the prices across the board.

The cunning strategy encouraged by the music industry means that that tracks from emerging artists will be priced at the lower end of the spectrum while hit songs will cost significantly more.

Seth Weitraub from Computerworld also notes that record companies are apparently favouring Amazon (and possibly other online music stores). Sources even say that Amazon are selling songs for less than the price that Apple pays for them in some cases.

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Our Comments

A quick look over at Play.com shows that top selling MP3 tracks and others are still available at 65p at Play.com (which doesn't offer a sort-by facility). This means that the online merchant has yet to introduce variable pricing.

Related Links

Let the Price Wars Begin: Amazon Follows iTunes

http://www.crn.com/retail/216403395

Amazon and Wal-Mart Follow iTunes into Variable Pricing

http://lifehacker.com/5203492/amazon-and-wal+mart-follow-itunes-into-variable-pricing

Amazon and Wal-Mart MP3 Stores Adopt Variable Pricing

http://www.macrumors.com/2009/04/08/amazon-and-wal-mart-mp3-stores-adopt-variable-pricing/

Walmart, Amazon Follow Apple's Lead and Increase Music Prices

http://www.dailytech.com/Walmart+Amazon+Follow+Apples+Lead+and+Increase+Music+Prices/article14798c.htm

iTunes, Amazon Variable Pricing Also Spurring Price War

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/daves-download/2009/04/08/itunes-amazon-variable-pricing-also-spurring-price-war.html

Amazon, Rhapsody, and others go the variable pricing way

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/44423/amazon-rhapsody-and-others-go-the-variable-pricing-way/

Variable pricing spreads to Amazon, Lala, Rhapsody, Wal-Mart

http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/04/variable-music-pricing-comes-to-amazon-lala-rhapsody-too.ars