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New reality for iTunes fans: Tiered pricing means a little less fun

Every song for under a buck: For six blissful years, that was the motto at iTunes, Apple Inc.'s popular digital-download emporium. Ninety-nine cents — it was so strangely soothing, wasn't it? But on Tuesday, record companies were allowed to price individual songs on iTunes, depending on their popularity, at either 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29.

Not exactly the day the music died, but what other industry is raising prices these days?

You'd be surprised by what was jacked on iTunes. For instance, Journey's catalog is still pretty much 99 cents per track. But 1981's Don't Stop Believin', given recent oomph on American Idol, bounced to $1.29. Speaking of Idol, a win doesn't guarantee a bump in price: Fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry saw a $1.29 uptick for a few songs, but champ Taylor Hicks remains at $0.99.

It appears hip-hop and pop fans (read: kids) are being targeted the most. Miley Cyrus' hit The Climb is now $1.29. So are Flo Rida's Right Round, Lady Gaga's Poker Face and...Stanky Legg by GS Boyz? Oy.

Sure, sure, a few golden oldies dropped to 69 cents. And in related news to appease the gripers, Apple did eliminate its digital rights management (or DRM), which, among other things, will allow customers to copy iTunes songs to other players and CDs.

But being able to make better mixes (and have me DJ your next party) won't stop people from complaining about the price hike. So in the spirit of greedy execs and an iTunes store that is a little less fun — and could get dinged by savvy competitors — here's a slightly snarky play­list complete with actual prices. (Sorry, we could only afford seven out of our usual 10 songs.)

The Use Your Cents Playlist

1. Shop Around, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, 69 cents

2. I Want You to Want Me, Cheap Trick, 69 cents

3. Money Changes Everything, Cyndi Lauper, 99 cents

4. Cheap and Cheerful, the Kills, 99 cents

5. Turn My Swag On, Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, $1.29

6. The Wrestler, Bruce Spring- steen, $1.29

7. I Hate This Part, Pussycat Dolls, $1.29

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic.

New reality for iTunes fans: Tiered pricing means a little less fun 04/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 9, 2009 12:36pm]
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