iTunes, Amazon Variable Pricing Also Spurring Price War

Tunes now freed from copy protection and limited price choices

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Tunes launched its variable pricing for tracks, which raised the price on some tracks by 30 percent to $1.29 and lowered it on others to 69 cents. The price shifts were an apparent concession to music studios, which in turn allowed Apple to remove copy protection.

Turns out to be an industry wide move, notes ARS Technica:

Apple isn't the only digital music distributor to make that switch—it appears to have affected the entire industry, including Amazon, Real's Rhapsody store, and most others.

In a blog posting, music site Lala suggests it is indeed across the industry.

At the same time, Amazon has launched a price war to win market share, notes PCWorld:

One good example of Amazon's lower pricing would be chart-topping Lady GaGa, whose song Poker Face costs $0.99 on Amazon and $1.29 on iTunes. Her album is also cheaper with Amazon at $9.49, while the same costs $9.99 on iTunes. Other popular songs from artists such as Coldplay and Katy Perry are cheaper on Amazon as well.

Amazon has been my favorite because of lower prices and no copy protection. But the book-selling giant is still a distant second in music downloads. Amazon was used by about 16 percent of U.S. digital music buyers last year versus 87 percent for iTunes, according to NPD Group.