Apple changes iTunes pricing plan
SEATTLE - The era of one-price-fits-all-songs on iTunes came to an end yesterday as Apple Inc., the Internet's dominant digital music retailer, began selling some of its most-downloaded songs for $1.29 apiece.
Apple said in January it would end its practice of selling all individual songs for 99 cents each and offer three tiers: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29.
Recording companies pick the prices, much as they did for CDs sold in stores and online. On day one, songs including "Jai Ho" from the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack and "Single Ladies" by Beyonce were bumped up to $1.29. The main iTunes page advertised collections of 69-cent songs that included "London Calling" by The Clash and "Monkey" by George Michael.
Other songs from the same albums and artists were 99 cents.
Apple also did away with copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM, allowing customers to play more songs on devices other than Apple's own iPods.
Without DRM, the songs can be copied to any number of CDs, computers, and music players, as long as those devices support the AAC encoding format Apple uses.
AAC, like the more widely used MP3 format, is a method of compressing large audio files while trying to preserve sound quality. Besides iPods, several media players can play back unprotected AAC files, including Microsoft Corp.'s Zune and certain models from SanDisk Corp. and Creative Technology Ltd.