Apple today made good on its promise to remove all DRM from its entire music library on the iTunes Store. As part of the move, however, the company has also agreed with record labels to a variable pricing structure where tracks could cost up to 30 percent more depending on popularity. Some older catalog titles will drop to 69 cents per song, while others remain at 99 cents, and some classics and popular songs will jump to $1.29.
This is the first time since its launch in 2003 that iTunes has adopted a new pricing scheme, and while there is no clear way to determine which songs will be priced at what rate, Apple did say that more songs would go for 69 cents than $1.29. Nevertheless if you consume brand-new music you’ll likely pay more for it at iTunes than on Amazon, for example, which still sells the majority of its DRM-free songs for $0.99 apiece.
Apple commands roughly 87 percent of the market and controls an entire digital music ecosystem with its iPod family, but recent numbers have shown that Amazon is slowly gaining on them. Has the company just shot itself in the foot by making its store more expensive than the competition?