iTunes price hike starts today

I messed up. My big plans to stock up on all my new favorite tunes yesterday got sidetracked, so I missed the last chance to raid the iTunes store before the big price hike. What about you?

Instead of the $0.99 for most songs and $1.29 for iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks at a higher quality, iTunes has put in variable pricing for all their songs, with tracks going for either $0.69, $0.99 or $1.29 each. All songs are DRM-free as well as being encoded at 256kbps. What determines the price? Simple supply and demand. New releases, popular tracks, and timeless classics will have the higher price, while unknown artists and, well, less popular tunes will have the bargain-basement price. Trust me, you'll have to search really hard to find anything worthwhile in the $0.69 category.

Through this all, competitor Amazon.com still sells high-quality 256kbps DRM-free MP3 files, compatible with almost every player around, for $0.89. You have to ask if iTunes, which had successfully changed the way people stole bought music, is now shooting the legal music business in the foot. By charging more for popular songs, you're just tempting people to find ways to avoid those noticeably higher fees.

For now, I'm going shopping at Amazon.com.

Via iTunes