Music downloads may have just gotten a little more expensive. The Associated Press reports that Apple has updated the pricing structure of its iTunes music store, concluding a series of changes that have seen the company move away from copy-protected songs toward a service free of digital rights management.
Instead of the usual 99-cent-per-song fee, the AP says Apple now offers three pricing "tiers": 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. As you'd expect, more popular tracks like Single Ladies from Beyonce and Jai Ho from A.R. Rahman cost the most, while older and less popular songs are supposed to be available at a discount. That said, MP3 Newswire points out that 69-cent tracks are actually quite hard to come by—even songs from the 1940s and before (including one public-domain track) are still priced at 99 cents.
The move therefore seems more like an overall price hike than anything else. To Apple's credit, though, record labels have been pushing for flexible iTunes pricing since at least 2006, and the AP suggests Apple had to concede in order to ditch DRM.
Other services may have been in a similar position. In a separate report, Electronista writes that Amazon MP3 and Walmart, too, have started charging over a dollar for some songs. Neither of them had flat pricing to begin with, but popular tracks now cost up to $1.29 on Amazon MP3 and up to $1.24 on Walmart's music store.