iTunes price hike: Really? $1.29?

It's time to panic. Everyone get to your iTunes store and buy, buy, buy--right now.

It's time to panic. Everyone get to your iTunes store and buy, buy, buy--right now. According to the Los Angeles Times, iTunes, the world's largest online music store, will be raising the price of some of its tracks from 99 cents up to $1.29 as soon as April 7, 2009.

Some people might say this is a foolish thing to do in the midst of a recession, but iTunes is also planning on selling songs for a lower price of 69 cents. More popular songs, like "Poker Face" by Lady GaGa, which is in iTunes' No. 1 spot right now, would sell at the higher end, whereas lesser-known songs would sell at the lower. Even classics, like Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," could retail for the higher price.

Ted Cohen, former EMI Music executive, and managing partner of digital media consulting firm TAG Strategic, told the LA Times that this will be a nightmare for public relations.

"It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry," Cohen said in the LA Times article.

On the brighter side of things, the soon-to-be $1.29 track will be offered free of anti-piracy software. The buyer will now be able to make unlimited copies of the songs, and play them on any MP3 device. So, you give a little and you take a little, right?

The music industry is a funny place right now with TicketMaster and Live Nation teaming up to form a monopoly over concerts and venues. It seems music might be getting a little too expensive during a time of recession. But, there are other ways to find cheaper music. Amazon, for example, is a great resource.

Each day it offers a new album to download for around $1.99. Today's deal lets you download 99 songs for just 99 cents. Granted, this isn't usually the case, but you can usually find a good deal on an entire album. Yesterday, for example, I bought a compilation of 22 Motown tracks for just $1.99.

It will be interesting to see if more people start using other outlets, such as Amazon, for their online music purchases once iTunes jacks up its prices. Would you be willing to pay an extra 30 percent for today's hit song, or even an old Springsteen tune?

Update: Although the iTunes price change was announced in January at the final Mac World, no date was announced until recently. Apple resisted pressure from the music industry to increase fees, but it was only a matter of time before they had to give in. The public was aware that iTunes prices were going to rise eventually, the question was just, when?

Update -- April 7, 2009: Today is the day of the supposed price hike. I checked iTunes, and although I couldn't seem to find any priced at 69 cents, I did check iTunes' No. 1 song, and sure enough, it was marked at the new price. The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" is currently $1.29 at the iTunes store. Let me know in the comments section if you've come across any other price changes.

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