MP3newswire.net browsed through not-quite-hits from past decades on the iTunes Music Store to see where these fabled 69 cent music tracks are hiding. He tried the Katydids, Camper Van Beethoven, the Lyres, Rock and Roll Trio, but found nothing below 99 cents. Then he went back to be-bop and blues recordings of the ’40s—nope. Finally, he looked at songs from Ada Jones, a recording artist from 1893 to 1922. Everything was still 99 cents.
Say what you will about Apple’s dominion over the music industry, but for a while now they’ve maintained an artificially low market for music tracks by forcing labels to sell songs for 99 cents each. That era is over: in exchange for moving to a higher bitrate and going 100% DRM free (hooray) iTunes has officially introduced “variable pricing” (boo), which means each track may cost 69 cents, 99 cents, or $1.29—it all depends on the song and the label. It looks like Amazon has introduced variable pricing as well, although it’s mostly holding to the 99 cents threshold for now. Amazon’s tracks, by the way, have always been free of DRM.
With all the furor over DRM lately, CNet asked itself the simple question, “How does DRM affect battery life on your iPod?” As you might expect, the answer is — badly.