Online Music Stores Amazon & Wal-Mart follow Suit After Apple in Pricing Schemes
According to PC Magazine, corporate giants Amazon and Wal-mart have likewise changed up their pricing schemes to include tiered pricing, much like Apple’s new pricing scheme for DRM-free music. This is a loss for the consumer, because Amazon at least already offered DRM-free tracks usually between 79 and 99 cents and often offered deep discounts on whole albums. Amazon and Wal-mart have jumped their pricing up to $1.29 and $1.24 per track, respectively, for newer tracks. There are still cheaper prices available on older, less popular tracks.
If you’re like me, the pricing scheme really doesn’t shake things up to a point worth worrying about. I couldn’t give one about Britney Spears or the Kings of Leon. The record companies can do this if they like, but eventually they’ll realize people are either downloading the songs from peer-to-peer or going with services like Rhapsody or Napster, or the free Lala.com to stream their music. And don’t forget the long-standing music giant eMusic. Hopefully if enough of us don’t buy the Top 40 hits artists until the prices come down, they’ll start making better music worth the $1.29 or adjust the pricing scheme back.
One more thing: multiple tiered pricing can get confusing on a customer. iTunes’ 99 cents a track was an easy thing to remember. Amazon was 89 cents a track. Both stores offered deep discounts on whole albums. Life was so much simpler then. Now if I want a new album, I have to do like we used to do with CDs, and either buy them from a discount music site or wait until they’re no longer the most popular new music for the price to come down. I like what my friend John Avalon said about buying music – he just goes to Amazon and finds the CDs he wants used. He gets better quality by ripping his own music, plus he usually gets the CD with jewel case and art work all for cheaper than the digital download. So far he hasn’t had any problems with getting poor quality (scratched, etc.) CDs this way. I may join him soon, the way this is going. Also, buying used CDs totally bypasses the RIAA’s profits.