The Backstory on the 99 Cent Download
“The major labels put aside their fight with Apple Computer over the pricing of digital music when they all signed new one-year licensing deals for the iTunes Music Store in April. But the industry debate over what a song should cost is anything but over.
“Even as 99 cents remains the most common price tag for tunes, efforts are afoot in the mobile music business and in other parts of the PC-based downloading market to test the limits of the iTunes-favored buck-a-track formula.
“To understand just how slippery music pricing has become, look at the smorgasbord of prices for a hit tune like “Check on It” by Beyonce. Among the cell phone carriers, Sprint is selling the track as an over-the-air download for $2.99, Verizon is selling it for $1.99, and upstart mobile virtual network operator Amp’d Mobile has it for 99 cents. Users of Russian sites like Allofmp3.com can download it for 10 cents. And, of course, it’s also widely available across leading peer-to-peer networks and a handful of blogs for nothing.
“So what’s the song actually worth?”
Reuters. Navigating Digital-Music Pricing Wars. News.com. June 5, 2006.
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