Feeds

Apple iTunes unwraps (precious few) 69 cent tracks

Vanilla Ice. Still 99 cents

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Apple today followed up on its promise to remove all DRM from music for sale on its iTunes Store and to institute a new pricing structure of $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29 per song.

When Apple's SVP Phil Schiller announced these changes during his keynote presentation at Macworld Expo in back in January, we wondered how many tunes would actually be available at the low price of $0.69.

Today, we discovered that despite Schiller's claim that a hefty chunk of the back catalog would be marked down to $0.69, those bargain-basement tunes seem to be few and far between.

Before we went bargain hunting, however, we first checked today's top 10 tunes on the Billboard Hot 100 list to see if the $1.29 tariff was, indeed, being applied to the top of the pop crop.

Interestingly, we discovered that although most top songs did indeed cost $1.29, two were available at both $0.99 and $1.29, two remained at $0.99, and - perhaps most surprising - Justin Timberlake still has a following:

  • 1. "Poker Face" by Lady GaGa: $1.29
  • 2. "Right Round" by Flo Rida: $0.99 and $1.29
  • 3. "Kiss Me Thru The Phone" by Soulja Boy Tell 'em Featuring Sammie: $1.29
  • 4. "Dead And Gone" by T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake: $0.99
  • 5. "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain: $0.99 and $1.29
  • 6. "Gives You Hell" by The All-American Rejects: $1.29
  • 7. "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson: $1.29
  • 8. "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus: $0.99
  • 9. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa Featuring Colby O'Donis: $1.29
  • 10. "Love Sex Magic" by Ciara Featuring Justin Timberlake: $1.29

Leaving the top 10, we went back in time to see if the $0.69 price was being applied to tunes that had long ago left any of Billboard's many charts. The results weren't encouraging for those who had hoped that back catalogs would benefit from the new pricing structure.

First, we checked 2,000 listings for the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, and discovered that a mere 70 of those tunes are available for $0.69 - a piddling 3.5 per cent.

Okay, Ella's quite beloved, and worthy of $0.99 a track. So how about Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra? After checking over 500 songs and finding them all still at $0.99, we gave up any hope of finding a bargain Sinatra tune.

Maybe more-obscure blasts from the past could be had for $0.69? Nope. Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra? Seventy tunes, all at $0.99. Artie Shaw? Hundreds of results, all at $0.99.

Possibly, the $0.69 rate was reserved for low-quality tunes. A quick check of that theory came up empty as well, with a song widely regard as one of the worst of all time, "MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris from A Tramp Shining, still going for $0.99. All of Kajagoogoo, Ace of Base, and Spandau Ballet - still $0.99.

Checking to see if moldy-oldy country music had received any sixty-nine centification, we again came up empty. Although, for example, we can understand paying $0.99 for Johnny Paycheck's classic "Take This Job and Shove It," his thoroughly forgettable "Me and the I.R.S." or "Mr. Lovemaker" ain't worth no buck, cowboy.

Even deeper into the bottom of the barrel, we discovered that even Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" retained its $0.99 "value" - but Mr. Ice gave us the idea to go back in time even further to check out Vanilla Fudge, and here, we finally struck pay-dirt: of that psychedelic quartet's 149 tunes, 35 are now available for $0.69.

Emboldened by our success, we then checked out a few more edible psychedelics: the Electric Prunes, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Chocolate Watchband. No luck - all remained firmly in the $0.99 camp. Even the execrable Jefferson Starship had only one $0.69 tune in its 116-song oeuvre: "Assassin," from the Nuclear Furniture album. And, no, we don't remember that one, either.

Finally, we discovered that classical-music fans won't benefit from the new price structure either. From Hillary Hahn's red-hot fiddle to the banal pianoforte stylings of "Solfeggietto" by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach (from The Relaxing Classical Music Collection, Volume II, by the way) it's a $0.99 world in classical-land.

Perhaps Apple will update the iTunes Store in the future to offer more back-catalog bargains. But while you're waiting, you might want to check out Amazon's MP3-download service - it's looking more attractive every day. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.