Variable Pricing Hits iTunes Australia Store

itunespricingApple has rolled out variable pricing in the Australian iTunes store, but you still have to look pretty hard to find tracks at anything other than the standard $1.69 price. Tracks can now be priced at one of three levels: $2.19, $1.69, or $1.19. While the top price is expected to be applied to new releases, that doesn't seem to have widely happened yet -- of the top 10 selling tracks when I checked in this morning, just two were priced at $2.19.

Initial online reports suggest that bargain-priced tracks at the bottom price level are almost impossible to find, despite there being 9 million tracks in the local version of the store. Of course, record companies aren't obligated to sell their stuff at a discount -- music is already way cheaper than it used to be. On the other hand, cheaper pricing might be one of the few ways that new bands could stand out from the crowd in the iTunes universe.

One potential benefit of the switch, despite the higher price for some tracks, is that all iTunes tracks are now iTunes Plus, meaning that they're DRM-free and encoded at 256Kbps. But it'll be interesting to see how quickly popular tracks get repriced, and how long they hang around before reverting to the $1.69 or $1.19 (assuming, perhaps generously, that they ever do).


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