updated 02:25 pm EDT, Fri April 29, 2011
Amazon drops current hits to 69 cents in rivalry
Amazon possibly raised the stakes in US music on Friday with a major shift in its 69-cent section in Amazon MP3. Instead of selling mostly older or niche songs, the store is currently selling songs that are or were very recently hits, including singles from Dr. Dre and Talib Kweli. No signs existed that it was a temporary sale.
The shop is known to regularly offer daily or weekly deals priced well under their prices everywhere else, such as for classical compilations or new albums. None of these have been permanent, however, and they rarely go beyond individual artists.
It's believed that Amazon may be hoping to escape a rut in digital music as well as draw attention to its cloud service. For the past few years, Apple has had 70 percent of download music sales where Amazon MP3 has stayed stuck between 10 and 12 percent. The sale could also help spur on use of Cloud Drive and Cloud Player since every song is already considered backed up for Internet streaming and doesn't count against the storage cap.
Apple hasn't responded to the price drops in iTunes but could suffer if the price drops weren't part of a larger agreement. Music labels' insistence on variable pricing in return for DRM-free music led to many pop songs costing $1.29 each, well over what Amazon has been promising. If voluntarily from the labels, it could either signal price drops to fuel stalling music sales across the board or else an attempt to boost Amazon as a major alternative to iTunes. [via LA Times]