There are “reports”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/099-drm-free-tracks-appear-on-itunes/11667 that $0.99 iTunes Plus (you know, the DRM free variety) tracks have been popping up at the iTunes Store. “John Gruber”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2007/october#mon-15-plus speculates that it’s either a mistake (doubtful, having looked around, noticed all “Sub Pop releases”:http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=263615298&s=143441 are the same), the introduction of variable single pricing (not entirely impossible… there are still a lot of $1.29 singles in the iTunes Plus section, including “Smashing Pumpkins albums”:http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=55422997&s=143441 that I’m not sure I noticed before), or, perhaps, the early stages of a unilateral price drop to 99 cents for non-DRM tracks. “ArsTechnica”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/10/15/itunes-plus-drm-free-tracks-expanding-dropping-to-99-cents agree with the latter proposition:
bq. The bigger news on the iTunes Plus horizon, however, is that Apple plans to drop the price of all iTunes Plus tracks. Currently, each track is $1.29 while “normal” DRMed tracks are 99¢ apiece. That discrepancy will be no longer, as Apple will begin pricing all of its iTunes Plus songs at 99¢ apiece (DRMed tracks will also remain at 99¢).
One can only hope that the Ars article is correct, and that Apple will decide to can the whole “30 cents to ‘upgrade’ tracks” deal, instead opting to allow customers to freely upgrade their libraries, possibly in a staggered download–not unlike a podcast or Apple’s current season-pass setup–to lessen the load on consumers’ connections and, more importantly, Apple’s servers.
I can’t help but wonder what role “Amazon’s new MP3 store”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2Ftg%2Fbrowse%2F-%2F163856011&tag=gregorybowers-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325 played in this.