If you’ve been on iTunes this week, you’ll have noticed a few new features (including a new version to download for Mac). Take a look at the Top 100 singles, and you’ll see that a good chunk of them are now $1.29 instead of $0.99. It was inevitable that the record companies would try to push prices up, seeing how well singles are selling these days in the digital format. From today’s Billboard.biz news, here’s a breakdown of how it seems to be going:
On Wednesday, one day after the price increase, the iTunes Top 100 chart had 40 songs priced at $1.29 and 60 with the original $0.99 price point. The $1.29 songs lost an average of 5.3 places on the chart while the $0.99 songs gained an average of 2.5 chart positions.
Seven of Wednesday’s $1.29 songs had been priced at $0.99 on Tuesday (there were 33 songs priced at $1.29 on Tuesday morning). Those seven songs lost an average of 1.9 chart positions from Tuesday to Wednesday; one of them gained ground, eight lost position and one remained the same. The remaining 33 songs priced at $1.29, whose prices went unchanged from Tuesday to Wednesday, lost an average of 7.7 chart positions.
So what impact does chart position make on the labels? I’m guessing increased revenue trumps reduced chart position every time. However, the old guard of the business still hangs onto that chart position like a geriatric with the last crab leg at a casino buffet. So this should be interesting…I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing the old cassette single pricing strategies come back into play. Put a single out, and then when you’ve got the promotion all in place, just drop the price to 99 or even 49 cents, and watch that single shoot to #1. This music business thing is never boring, is it?