Amazon & WalMart Adopt Multi-Tier Pricing

The jury is still out on how pricing changes at iTunes will affect digital track sales. However, one development has been the adoption of the new multi-tier pricing by Amazon.com which includes an 89¢ price point in addition to the three prices available on iTunes; $1.29, 99¢ and 69¢. Wal-Mart also seems to have raised some of its online track prices changing them to $1.24, 94¢ and 64¢.

According to the L.A. Times, “Far fewer of their [Amazon] top-100 tracks made the jump to $1.29.” Because it is so easy for consumers to surf to whatever site has the best price, labels may be hoping to further erode iTune’s dominance which has been estimated to be about 80% of marketshare. However, a quick tour of the three sites shows iTunes to be light years ahead of the others in terms of organization and ability to instantly find everything.

Some quick comparison shopping found that  iTunes’ top 10 country tracks were all priced at 99¢ with the exception of the following at $1.29—”Unstoppable,” Rascal Flatts; “Then,” Brad Paisley; and “It Happens,” Sugarland. A quick check showed that Amazon offered the Flatts and Sugarland tracks for 99¢, but the Paisley song was also $1.29. Wal-Mart had “Then” for $1.24 and Sugarland for 94¢. [This writer was never able to find the Rascal Flatts track “Unstoppable” on Amazon.]

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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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