Is the New iTunes Plus Worth the 30 Cents that the Plus Costs You?

The Internet Patrol - Patrolling the Internet for You

It was a seemingly watershed moment in iTunes history. Earlier this year, Apple finally broke down and did away with their previously iron-clad pricing structure of .99 for any song in the iTunes catalog. Instead, they introduced their “iTunes Variable Pricing”, meaning that you might pay any of .66, .99, or $1.29 for a tune. But what makes this really interesting is that, in addition, now the entirety of Apple’s iTunes music catalog has lost the Apple-proprietary digital rights management (DRM) and is DRM-free, which is the + in “iTunes Plus”.

This means that you can now play all of your iTunes tunes on any computer, and any portable music device, not just on a Mac or your iPod or iPhone.


Whether a song is priced at 66¢, 99¢, or $1.29 is dependant on how the music label (or the recording artist, if independant) chooses to price it. Of the top 100 songs on July 9, 2009, surprisingly, nearly 50% of them were priced at 99¢ rather than the higher $1.29 that one would expect. Of course, only a tiny minority of songs are priced at .66 – and those primarily seem to be old crooner songs, none of them in the top 100.

So, the burning question is, is paying the extra 30 cents worth it for those tunes that are priced at the $1.29, given that you are now getting it DRM-free, and can freely transfer it to your MP3 player, to other computers, or to your phone?

The answer to that question seems to depend on both individual preference, and whether you are already using another of the music services. People who use a Microsoft Zune (which has a built in FM-receiver as well as being an MP3 player) love their Zune Pass service, which allows unlimited temporary access to all the songs you can eat (you are basically renting the songs for a limited period of time), plus getting to keep 10 new MP3s every month, all for just $14.99. (You can check out the Zune here, and read about Zune Pass here.)

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

 

And people who are already using Amazon’s MP3 service – where the MP3s are already DRM-free and rarely over .99, and which already integrates with the iTunes software nearly seamlessly – see no reason to switch now.

But for those who are primarily using iTunes anyways, these changes are welcome indeed, and the bump from .99 to $1.29 for some of the catalog doesn’t seem to have slowed down their buying at all. And hey, now they can play those more expensive songs anywhere they like.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.