iTunes' variable pricing coincides with plummeting sales


Initial reports from major labels are suggesting that the switch to variable pricing on iTunes has been a failure. According to ‘numerous sources’ sales decreases have been seen across the board since variable pricing was implemented at Macworld back in January.

But lets remember the statisticians’ mantra – correlation is not causation. Just because sales decreases have been seen alongside the implementation of variable pricing, it doesn’t mean that the latter is causing the former.

Just as likely is the effect of services like Spotify on consumers’ music-listening habits. Although the streaming service is unavailable in the States, where these figures are mostly likely from, there are plenty of other similar applications that consumers are beginning to explore.

As people shift from ownership of music to being happy with just access when they need it, sales will decrease. On the flipside, licensing revenues skyrocket, so the same amount of cash is still floating around for music creators – this isn’t the death of the music industry.

(via Digital Music News)

iTunes variable pricing will hit on April 7th


Apple will soon be launching the variable prices that it was forced to accept from the major labels in exchange for DRM-free content, during the contract renegotiations earlier this year. If the LA Times is to be believed, the change will occur on April 7th.

It’s currently unclear how the pricing will be distributed, but most analysts expect newer and more popular songs to command a higher price, while back catalogue ends up heavily discounted. It’s also unclear how the public will respond to what will essentially be a price hike on the most popular songs.

I’d argue that iTunes has long been irrelevant to most hardcore music fans. They’re the biggest users of P2P because it’s the most efficient way of getting tracks that are otherwise unavailable. This change will impact on mums, dads, and anyone else that generally buys their music from Tesco, rather than independent record stores.

(via Digital Music News)

iTunes could get flexible pricing thanks to rumoured HBO deal


According to sources, HBO could begin selling TV shows on the US iTunes Store at variable prices.

Until now, TV shows and music has been sold at fixed prices, and that was, in part, the reason why NBC pulled some of its shows from iTunes last year. Apple’s current thinking is that a single price for this content, regardless of whether it’s a new release or archive, makes it simpler for the consumer…