updated 11:30 am EDT, Fri August 31, 2007
Amazon Music Live in Sept
Amazon's MP3 music store may finally be available next month with prices lower than those at Apple's store, according to a report from the New York Post. The newspaper cites anonymous industry sources who claim that the often-delayed store will launch the week of September 17th, carrying protection-free tracks from EMI as well as Universal and independent labels. However, pricing will be the key selling point, the paper says. In contrast to Apple's iTunes, which sells individual tracks without copy protection for $1.29 each, a standard Amazon new release track would cost 99 cents with albums selling between $8 and $10 each in most cases.
But the retailer's direct-download store will also include variable-rate pricing per song that Apple has so far been unwilling to offer for its lineup, the Post adds. Certain new artists and back-catalog tracks would purportedly be offered at 89 cents, encouraging buyers to consider older titles rather than just the most popular content. Larger labels are said to object to the low price for current music and are reportedly still in negotiations that may push back the opening of the store, however.
If substantiated, the strategy would reflect a downward trend in online prices from iTunes rivals that bucks the approaches by Apple and major labels, which have slowly driven prices upwards. Wal-Mart this month began selling 94 -cent songs in the MP3 format and has sold protected Windows Media songs for as little as 88 cents.