Excuse me while I withdraw my foot from my mouth. Just yesterday, I reported that the iTunes variable pricing plan was in effect, but you could still purchase tunes for $0.89 at Amazon.com, and that's where I would be pointing my browser.
Before I could download a single tune, Amazon.com and Wal-Mart both introduced their own versions of variable pricing. Darn it. So much for my big shopping spree.
Amazon has increased some of their top songs to $1.29, and as always, they're 256kbps, DRM-free downloads. A quick peak at their top sellers, and most are now $0.99, but a good bit are the higher price. For the record, they also reduced some prices to $0.79, and it appears to be a bigger selection than iTune's bargains.
Wal-Mart jumped in too, with their highest prices at $1.24 and its clearance selections going for $0.64.
The record labels are back in control over pricing, and perhaps raising prices enough to drive people back to piracy. Do you care that one is MP3 and the other AAC, and will you actually comparison shop for the best price? iTunes added value by making their songs DRM-free and higher quality. Amazon was already 256k and DRM-free. Now they're just more expensive. And I'm not happy about that.