Monday, April 02, 2007

The Price Is Wrong

iTunes will be selling its DRM-free content at an even sillier price

While I'm all for saving the Earth's precious resources (by which I mean the plastic, metal and Wikipedia-knows-what-else that goes into a CD) and going digital with music distribution, there has to be an economic incentive for the buyer.

Since the going rate for a new CD here in the UK is now between £5 and £10, the iTunes store is already sailing close to the wind at 79p a track for its unFairplay-encrusted downloads rentals. Now it makes sense to sell premium product at a premium price: the new actuallyFair AAC files it's selling thanks to its deal with EMI (and, presumably, the indie labels who've been asking for this for ages will soon be included) are being offered at twice the usual bitrate, which is soundwise practically indistinguishable from the uncompressed files you get from a CD.

So I don't want to spit in the pudding — after all, isn't this what reasonable folk have been asking for since the iTMS first opened its doors? — but Jobs and his cohorts have now effectively doubled the cost of an album if you download it rather than rip it from CD.

I may now dip my toe in the iTunes waters, but there'll need to be a price adjustment before it becomes my first port of call — except of course for those drone LPs with only three tracks on them…